Guaranteed Bill Pay

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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showseason
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Guaranteed Bill Pay

Postby showseason » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:10 pm

We have a new bishop. He wanted me to call the utility company and tell them we would guarantee payment of a person's bill. I have always understood that only the bishop can do this. He said he had not heard this. Is there a place online I can find this addressed?

lajackson
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Re: Guaranteed Bill Pay

Postby lajackson » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:01 pm

This must be something special in your area. Around here, utility companies take cash and other forms of payment to keep services running.

Technically, though, if the bishop has approved the expenditure, someone else can be the one to actually expend it, if that is what a guarantee means.

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Re: Guaranteed Bill Pay

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:32 pm

I'm guessing that in this case a "guarantee" is a promise from a source the utility trusts that the bill will be paid - and not to take further action until the check arrives. If correct, this may be more of a question of what the utility will accept rather than church policy. Given that a bishop must approve all expenses, it seems like a rational policy to only trust a statement coming from the bishop.
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mfmohlma
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Re: Guaranteed Bill Pay

Postby mfmohlma » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:31 am

russellhltn wrote:I'm guessing that in this case a "guarantee" is a promise from a source the utility trusts that the bill will be paid - and not to take further action until the check arrives. If correct, this may be more of a question of what the utility will accept rather than church policy. Given that a bishop must approve all expenses, it seems like a rational policy to only trust a statement coming from the bishop.

True, but how is the utility going to know who the bishop is? As a ward clerk, if my bishop had authorized such a statement (and hopefully payment as well) I would do what I could to fulfill his request. Bishops have enough to worry about and a visit or phone call to a utility office is certainly within the purview of a ward clerk.

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Re: Guaranteed Bill Pay

Postby russellhltn » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:31 am

mfmohlma wrote:True, but how is the utility going to know who the bishop is?

Depending on the unit density, the utility could have a list of charities/individuals that will guarantee bills. It's just I can't figure out any other context for "guarantee" that would mean anything.


mfmohlma wrote:As a ward clerk, if my bishop had authorized such a statement (and hopefully payment as well) I would do what I could to fulfill his request. Bishops have enough to worry about and a visit or phone call to a utility office is certainly within the purview of a ward clerk.

Realize that once you allow the clerk to make that call, there's always a possibility of scrambled communication that could result in extending a guarantee that hasn't been authorized. If the clerk is to make that call, I'd suggest it would be a best practice to require authorization for each call. You don't want to get into the situation where the clerk thinks "well, we did this last time for this person" but the bishop didn't authorize that payment.
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mfmohlma
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Re: Guaranteed Bill Pay

Postby mfmohlma » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:58 pm

russellhltn wrote:If the clerk is to make that call, I'd suggest it would be a best practice to require authorization for each call. You don't want to get into the situation where the clerk thinks "well, we did this last time for this person" but the bishop didn't authorize that payment.

Most definitely. Each expense must be authorized individually by the bishop. At times, the initial authorization is verbal, but it must always be followed by a written authorization.


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