Nebraska archbishop disputes Girls and Boys Town board he formerly led

Posted: Friday, October 03, 2003

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Roman Catholic Archbishop Elden Curtiss has resigned as chairman of the board of Girls and Boys Town in a dispute over leadership of the home for troubled children.

Curtiss resigned Sept. 5 after clashing with the home's leaders on when its executive director, the Rev. Val Peter, 68, should retire and how his successor would be selected.

The archbishop said Monday that Peter must fulfill his promises of ''respect and obedience to me as archbishop'' to remain a priest in good standing.

The Girls and Boys Town's bylaws say priest candidates from the Omaha Archdiocese are to be considered for executive director before any national search, Curtiss said, but Peter and other board members ''wanted to bypass this mandatory step.''

The Omaha World-Herald reported Sunday that Curtiss proposed a bylaw change allowing the head of the home to be fired if he disagreed with the board chairman or a majority of the board. Curtiss resigned after the board rejected that idea.

After Curtiss resigned, the archdiocese announced it would no longer provide a priest to be executive director or to fill other ministry positions at the home, which was founded in 1917 by the Rev. Edward Flanagan.

A spokesman said Peter would not respond to Curtiss' statement about obedience.

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