Inside the Archdiocese of Boston

Since a layoff of about 10% of the Chancery/Pastoral Center staff is expected within the next few days to a week and with new bishop appointments expected soon, we thought we would outline what the hierarchy of the Archdiocese of Boston looked like before the layoff and reorganization.  People who have worked for the diocese for decades at relatively low to mid-level salaries will likely lose their job (maybe along with retirement benefits too) and many functions will be eliminated. It will not be pretty.  At the same time people who have worked for the diocese for just a couple of years earning six-figure salaries and with big staffs will stay.

Here is our best portrayal of how the diocese is organized but the organizational chart does not necessarily reflect how the diocese actually works and functions and what the power-base is.  Let us know what you think via comments or by contacting us.   Compensation figures are from published sources, but see note below about some 2009-2010 salary cuts to help balance the budget and save money.

High Level Organizational Chart (click on the image to zoom)

Archbishop of Boston: Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap.

Compensation: $33,800, paid to Capuchin priests and brothers

Boston Catholic Insider Comments: Top of the organizational chart, at least on paper.  Long-time priest-secretary, Fr. Robert Kickham, is seen as not just a chauffeur and MC for liturgies, but right-hand-man and chief-of-staff. Existing commitments to Vatican committees, his own blog posts, and increasing travel during the next year as apostolic visitor to Dublin all give a message that his role in Boston is apparently becoming more ceremonial in nature.

Vicar General: Richard Erikson, Ph.D.

Compensation: $32,400

Background: most recently was lieutenant colonel and staff chaplain in the Air Force.  Former altar boy at St. Luke’s of Belmont, graduated from Watertown High School, Saint Anselm in New Hampshire, and St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. Writes liner notes for albums in his spare time.

Responsibilities: “Taking Cardinal Seán’s vision for the Archdiocese of Boston and making it a reality. In this Archdiocese, the Vicar General is responsible for the oversight of nearly 2 million Catholics, in approximately 290 parishes, across 144 communities. As Moderator of the Curia, Fr. Erikson’s primary duties are to care for and to provide coordination of the personnel and efforts of the central administration of the Archdiocese.”

Boston Catholic Insider Comments: It is not clear to us what Cardinal Sean’s vision for the archdiocese is, and where we would find a written statement of that, so it is also not clear to us how anyone, including the Vicar General, would make it reality. In actuality, it is the Chancellor who coordinates personnel and central administration efforts in the Boston Archdiocese today.  It is also not clear what key initiatives or programs Fr. Erikson has actually driven or led in his time in the role.  Fr. Erikson’s effectiveness as a leader has been questioned by insiders and priests reading this blog.

Secretary for Health and Social Services: Fr. Bryan Hehir

Compensation: paid by Harvard and not disclosed publicly.  Salary in previous job as President of Catholic Charities USA was $96,092.

Background: In addition to his archdiocesan job, Fr. Hehir is Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  He is former president of Catholic Charities USA, former head of Harvard Divinity School, and was on the staff of the U.S. Catholic Bishops conference from 1973-1992. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the Boards of the Arms Control Association, the Global Development Committee, the Independent Sector, the Boisi Center at Boston College, USC Institute for Catholic Studies.  He also served as advisor/consultant to Human Rights Watch.

Responsibilities: Catholic Charities, Caritas Christi, St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center, Life Resources, Labor Guild, St. Ann’s Home, Covenant Health Care System, Pro Life Office and Respect Life Education, Catholic Relief Service

Boston Catholic Insider Comments: Seen as one of the most influential advisors to Cardinal Sean O’Malley.  Has close ties to Jack Connors, Jr.  and has been involved in Boston controversies including the honoring of Mayor Menino by Catholic Charities (2005), Catholic Charities  brokering adoptions to gay couples (2005-2006), and the Caritas partnership with Centene Corp (2009).  In the face of criticism by blogs such as BryanHehirExposed in 2010, Cardinal O’Malley reiterated his support for Fr. Hehir in his own blog.

Chancellor: James McDonough

Compensation: $250,000

Background.  Former CEO of Abington Savings Bank.  Search committee that selected him was led by Neil Finnegan, former chair of Citizens Bank and former chair of Catholic Charities and included Ann Carter of Rasky Baerlein, who was a former board member with McDonough at the Abington Savings Bank.

Responsibilities:  financial management and administration of the Archdiocese

Boston Catholic Insider Comments: seen as more powerful and influential over personnel and central administration than the Vicar General. Has been observed consulting extensively with Jack Connors, Neil Finnegan, and Fr. Bryan Hehir on decisions. Along with Jack Connors, was seen by many people as highly influential in decision to move Scot Landry out previous role as Secretary of Institutional Development.

The group above is the main power-base of the Archdiocese for key decision-making, on a formal organization chart.  Not to be overlooked are the influential roles of Jack Connors (head of the Catholic Schools fund-raising campaign, member of the Archdiocesan finance council, and head of the search for the new development secretary), John Kaneb, Chair of the Archdiocesan finance council, and Neal Finnegan (on board of Catholic TV and also on the finance council). So, the organizational chart really looks more like this:

In addition, a Cabinet “steering committee” includes Cardinal O’Malley, Fr. Erikson, Chancellor James McDonough, Fr. Hehir, former development Secretary Scot Landry (now working on Catholic Media), and a guest participant from elsewhere in the cabinet or another office to represent a specific issue being discussed.

Top 5 salaried officials according to archdiocesan disclosures are:
Mary Grassa O’Neill: Secretary for Education: $325,000
Beirne Lovely: General Counsel: $300,000
James McDonough: Chancellor and Secretary for Finance and Administrative Services: $250,000
Scot Landry: Catholic Media: $250,000
James Walsh: Assoc Superintendent of Schools: $185,270
Note: those with salaries above $200K had their salaries reduced by 10% in the 2009-2010 fiscal year to help balance the budget, but then they were raised back up to their previous level for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

We will go into more details in another post.  For now, you can sound off about these people, the organization, layoffs, or any other issue via comments or by contacting us.

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2 Responses to Inside the Archdiocese of Boston

  1. [...] was on June 23, 2010, shortly before 10% of the Pastoral Center staff was cut.  In that post, “Inside the Archdiocese of Boston,” we talked about some of the key staff and their salaries, and we shared the org chart as it [...]

  2. [...] than it has been up to now. Long-time readers may recall that in our first post, on June 23, 2010, Inside the Boston Archdiocese, we raised the lack of clarity of the Cardinal’s vision as a key concern, along with others [...]

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