''I intend to support my church in any capacity I can,'' he said. ''My wife and I plan to be active in our church's Washington, D.C., center.'' His wife, Kathleen, worked for years in the church's public relations office alongside former church spokesman Murray Steinman.
Fortino, who holds a doctorate in electrical engineering, has taken a, job teaching at George Mason University School of Management in Virginia.
Several high officials in the sometimes controversial New Age sect have resigned since the church's ''shelter cycle'' of 1989, when members, flocked here from around the world to be near their bomb shelters. They include Timothy Connor, Kathleen Boyle and Erin and Sean Prophet, the children of the church's ailing spiritual leader, Elizabeth Clare Prophet.
The church has been reorganizing its corporate structure over the past two years, eliminating hundreds of jobs, shutting down businesses and selling large amounts of land and equipment.
Fortino praised church president Gilbert Cleirbaut, who designed the changes he said are necessary to keep the church functional. ''I think that you are moving our church in the right direction, and I back you completely in what you are doing,'' Fortino said in a letter to Cleirbaut, according to the church's press release.
Although he is resigning his job and his position as a member of the church's executive board he will finish his four year term as a member of the church's board of directors.