Eddie Long's New Birth Announces Staff, Salary Cuts

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, led by Bishop Eddie Long, announced on Wednesday that it will cut staff and reduce employee salaries.

The Lithonia, Ga., megachurch said the cuts are in response to the economic downturn.

"Like numerous other churches and charitable organizations across Georgia and the rest of the country, New Birth and its faith community have been impacted by the nationwide downturn in the economy," the church said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Two full-time employees are being laid off and salaries will shrink by 10 percent. New Birth will also experiment with an adjusted work week of four days, rather than five.

The church announcement did not make clear whether Long's salary would also be affected. It noted that the pastor's compensation is determined by an independent board, and counsel from New Birth's CPAs and tax advisers, "all in accordance with IRS regulations," as reported by the local newspaper.

The announcement comes months after a Senate investigation into the spending of his ministry, along with five others, came to a close. New Birth was among four of the ministries that did not cooperate with the investigation, led by Sen. Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance.

No penalties were handed out. A staff review of the practices of the popular media-based ministries was released but with little cooperation from New Birth, Grassley's staff was forced to obtain information through public records and third parties. And little could be confirmed about Long's current salary and spending.

While the economic downturn has forced many churches and faith-based organizations to make cutbacks, a recent survey found that megachurches (with an attendance of 2,000 or more) have been faring well.

Leadership Network reported last year that only four percent of megachurches cut salaries in 2010.

It also found that staffing costs are on average between 40 and 50 percent of many churches' budget. The typical megachurch – at least among the ones that were surveyed – had a total budget of over $5 million and more than 50 full-time staff.

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