http://www.abpnews.com/www/1995.article Clippard, embattled Missouri Baptist exec, fired in closed-door session By Vicki Brown and Greg Warner Published April 10, 2007 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ABP) -- David Clippard, embattled executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, was fired April 10 by the convention's Executive Board. Following a second closed-door meeting about Clippard's leadership within six months, Executive Board members voted 44-7 to terminate him immediately, according to the convention's attorney. David Tolliver, a member of the convention's executive staff, was named interim executive director, according to sources in the meeting at the convention building in Jefferson City. Although Clippard, a conservative, was hired in 2002 by the conservatives who control the Missouri Baptist Convention and its Executive Board, several decisions in recent years demonstrated to many that he was out of step with the majority of those leaders. In an emotional, closed-door showdown last September between Clippard and Baptist powerbroker Roger Moran, board members reportedly argued over Clippard's leadership but took no vote. One month later, Clippard made national headlines when he preached a sermon claiming the "real threat" to the United States is that "Islam has a strategic plan to conquer and occupy America." Critics viewed Clippard's style as autocratic and dismissive. He drew criticism for settling a harassment lawsuit filed against him by former convention controller Carol Kaylor. He later opposed the Executive Board's decision to contribute $100,000 to a political coalition against embryonic stem-cell research and $200,000 to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Southern Baptist school in Kansas City. Three years ago, the convention signed a secret contract to sell its headquarters property for $2.75 million, but the deal fell through when local voters blocked a sales-tax increase to fund the new county facilities to be built on the downtown site. Clippard fired the associate editor of The Pathway, the convention-controlled newspaper, for revealing details of the contract, which angered the Executive Board. Clippard was associate executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma when he was hired by the Missouri board to replace Jim Hill, who resigned in protest of actions taken by the Executive Board. As Clippard lost favor with Missouri Baptist leaders, calls for his replacement grew, resulting in the tumultuous Sept. 22 meeting. Expecting another showdown when the Executive Board convened again April 10, chairman Michael Green apologized for the raucous nature of the September meeting and pledged: "We're not going to act like a bunch of monkeys in the St. Louis Zoo. … We've got to work together." Green, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, called for an executive session of only board members. Member Don Denney made a motion to override Green. But the convention's general counsel, Michael Whitehead, said the board's bylaws required that a contract issue, such as a personnel decision, be handled in private. Otherwise, the Kansas City lawyer said, the board members would leave themselves open to a lawsuit. The board sustained Green and Whitehead, and the group met for more than four hours behind closed doors. Later, in an unusual move, the convention' staff was summoned for a half-hour meeting with the board. Afterward the meeting was opened to others in attendance. The group of about 25 people included pastors, laypeople and at least three reporters, including one from The Pathway. However, a free-lance reporter representing Associated Baptist Press was forced to leave the meeting without explanation. The 44-7 vote was taken during this second session.