Braintree Brain Drain

We have told you a lot already about all of the new people with no prior Catholic Church experience hired at excessive six-figure salaries in recent years. At the same time, people who loyally served the archdiocese for a number of years making less than these newcomers continue to head out the door, and the past few weeks are no exception, with key departures in finance, IT, and elsewhere.

Chancellor Jim McDonough already has as part of his legacy, the dubious distinction of driving out experienced employee benefits people with early retirement packages, leaving us with a current team of newcomers who are sufficiently unable to answer basic pension plan benefit questions that employees and retirees come to BCI to ask us if we know the answer to their question.   He also drove out experienced facilities and property management people, replacing them with a person who was a former loan officer at his Abington Bank and who, objectively, knows nothing about property or facilities management. This means projects like the $20 million debacle at St. Cecilia in Boston happen with no qualified archdiocesan oversight, because there simply is no one qualified left on the staff.

It gets worse though. Take a look at the current Pastoral Center job openings, and you will see the evidence of the departures. 

Recently, the highly respected Director of Finance resigned to pursue an opportunity at a private-sector company.  He was well-liked and respected inside the Pastoral Center, was considered bright and capable, had a solid understanding of archdiocesan finance/accounting/reporting, and a decent amount of institutional knowledge that now walks out the door.  He was also an independent thinker (a good thing) and not one of “Jim’s loyalists,” vs, say, Carol Gustavson, who is so loyal to Jim that it does not matter if she neglects serving employees or builds distrust by doing things like monitoring their emails.  (We digress). 

Anyway, back on topic–the departure of the Director of Finance will be a tremendous loss.  You can find the job listing for his position, posted Feb. 14, here.

Then there was the recent resignation of the guy in IT who supervised the data center.  His position is also posted here.  The resignation of this IT manager follows the resignation last summer of the previous Director of IT, whose open position is also posted here.

Why all the departures?  Could it have something to do with the overall management and leadership problems, ethical issues, deception, sham searches, six-figure salaries, and breaches of fiduciary responsibility BCI has been chronicling?  Or are there other factors contributing to the low morale at 66 Brooks Drive lately?  The arrival in January of the new Executive Director of Finance, John Straub, an outsider and Jim McDonough’s apparent #2 in command, apparently did not help morale in that department.  We do know that  the very courteous Mr. Straub is attending lots of meetings these days that Jim McDonough used to attend but is no longer attending.  Is Jim spreading his wings and taking on new things, or is he preparing for a graceful exit soon?

Looks like the administrative assistant in the Vicar General’s office has also left her position, since that job is posted here too.  She was a sharp, responsive person from when she was working with the Catholic Appeal/Catholic Foundation, then transferred to the office of the Vicar General, and has now taken a different position at the Pastoral Center.  (The expression “out of the frying pan and into the fire” comes immediately to mind).  Seems to be yet another sign that the current Vicar General is on his way out the door soon.

These open job listings do not count people like priests who serve as aides to the Cardinal and Vicar General who we hear, coincidentally, have also expressed interest in getting out of the Pastoral Center and back to parishes.

Of course, the 15-person team over at Boston Catholic Development Services–you know, the ones who have not yet announced how they did on the Catholic Schools Campaign that ended in 2010 or how they did with the Catholic Appeal–is hiring.  Yes folks, the department that offers good jobs at good wages is looking for an events manager (a responsibility that used to be handled by the smaller team that the Chancellor pushed out) and a temporary gift processor to help process all the donations they are unable to yet announce to the rest of us.

It remains unclear to us if Mr. Straub is the heir-apparent to the Chancellor, and BCI feels it would be yet another terrible mistake to not undertake a full open search for a new Chancellor. Here is how reader “Clem” recently described to us a view of Chancellor McDonough’s legacy:

“Chancellor McDonough’s legacy will be one of  lame-brained and unnecessary housecleaning of experienced staff,  ill-conceived construction cost controls, and a “hack-a-rama”  nest of under-qualified and overpaid cronies….

“Insanity” means doing the same thing over and over again, somehow expecting a different result.  How much longer must the Braintree “brain drain” continue before someone wakes up and realizes they need to do things differently–and takes decisive action to turn the ship?

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6 Responses to Braintree Brain Drain

  1. Alice Slattery says:

    Has anyone been chosen to replace Ed Saunders? We desperately need someone to represent the position of faithful Catholics to coordinate and lead the lobbying at the State House.
    [edited by BCI]
    Who will be coordinating the lobbying for the Archdiocese of Boston?

    • Alice,
      No announcement has yet been made about the new head of the Mass Catholic Conference, though we expect someone to be named shortly.

    • Michael says:

      Alice, if the person is going to represent the position of faithful Catholics then that person will not be replacing ed saunders but in fact Gerry D’Avolio who held the position before. God rest his soul, Ed Sauders never in my knowledge represented the position of faithful Catholics.

  2. Chris says:

    Who if anyone has taken over for David Thorp? After the big video announcement at Sunday Mass throughout the archdiocese, who will follow up?

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s interesting that the current openings were created by the resignation of the most competent individuals who worked there. When are the incompetent direct reports of McDonough/Straub going to be terminated. Think budget, Catholic Schools, and benefits for starters.

  4. David Justen says:

    It is my understanding that David Thorp’s role has been split up and taken over by a number of people at the Pastoral Center. I believe Janet Benestad has taken a more hands-on role with support from the Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults.

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