Correction to Kickham Kin Commentary

Readers, when BCI makes a mistake and we become aware of the mistake, we come out and acknowledge it.  Today we learned we may have made a rather significant mistake in our post from yesterday where we wrote that Christopher Kickham, cousin of the Cardinal’s priest-secretary, Fr. Robert Kickham, got a job in Parish Pastoral Services at the Pastoral Center.

Sources now have corrected BCI telling us that Chris Kickham is actually the brother of Fr. Robert Kickham, not his cousin.  In the interest of full disclosure, we originally heard that Chris Kickham was the brother of Fr. Kickham, then went to double and triple-check the information and were told the new guy in the Pastoral Center had been announced as Fr. Kickham’s cousin. Thus, that is what we wrote. Now we are hearing what we published yesterday is incorrect and Chris and Fr. Kickham are indeed brothers.

We apologize for any confusion or offense that may have occurred as a result of the post.  We also regret that we may have under-represented the degree of perceived cronyism and nepotism associated with this situation.

As Deacon A.J. Constantino said in a recent comment, “When you are a manager, you do not want internal staff to be at the water cooler saying candidate XYZ had the job because of who he/she is.”  BCI agrees.

We have thoroughly documented a number of other instances of cronyism and nepotism in previous posts which serve to undermine transparency and trust in the management and leadership of the archdiocese.  BCI does not know the extent to which internal or external candidates were actively considered and interviewed for this job. But we maintain our opinion that the hiring of the cousin or brother of the Cardinal’s priest-secretary for an open position when their  published work history and experience do not match the published criteria for the position gives the appearance of nepotism and cronyism which in turn undermines trust.

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12 Responses to Correction to Kickham Kin Commentary

  1. Boston Blackey says:

    “We also regret that we may have misrepresented the degree of perceived cronyism and nepotism associated with this situation.” this update does nothing but solidify the cronyism charges at “the new chancery”

  2. Cathy Lick says:

    The perception of cronyism seems worse, doesn’t it, that now it turns out to be his brother.

    The fact that his brother is a priest might provide Christopher Kickham a great advantage in his new role of working with pastors and parish staff. If they wrote in the position description that “familiarity with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and it’s parishes and priests is a requirement (or preferred)” then it would be logical that someone like Christopher Kickham were hired. And that would have made sense – somewhere in the job description – to make it clear that a devout Catholic with an understanding of the Church should get the job over a non-Catholic with all the functional skills. They should make that explicit in all the Archdiocesan hires.

    BCI has done a great job in its year plus of writing that “who you know” is more important at the Archdiocese for hiring than anything – and it’s clear that one or two degrees of separation from Chancellor McDonough or his appointments to the Finance Council is the #1 characteristic that seems to define a lot of the hires at the Archdiocese.

    Appearances matter. BCI is right to write “we maintain our opinion that the hiring of the cousin or brother of the Cardinal’s priest-secretary for an open position when their published work history and experience do not match the published criteria for the position gives the appearance of nepotism and cronyism which in turn undermines trust.”

    It sure does.

  3. Michael says:

    I just hope they are paying him well. Because sometimes it is hard to negotiate with family … but my guess is he probably did alright.

    The only way for him to really be sure that he is doing well is to follow the following formula:

    Take Mary Grassa ‘Neill’s salary of $325,000/ year and add each of the deputy superintendants’ salaries (somewhere between $150,000/yr and $185,000/year) – then divide the total salary expense for those 7 people by 7. Then divide by two.

    The theory is if he is making anywhere near half of the average of those folks’ salaries, then he is making WAY MORE THAN MOST PUBLIC EMPLOYEES, WAY MORE THAN MOST SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS, AND WAY MORE THAN THE MOST HIGHLY PAID EMPLOYEES SERVING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NATIONWIDE.

    I would hate for him to get disappointed by naively comparing his new salary only to the the gigantic salaries of the Catholic Schools Office employees. Their salaries are just so way out of the norm that, without a proper perspective, it could get pretty disappointing to someone starting a new job — especially once he sees how little work the Superintendent and her deputies are actually capable of accomplishing.

  4. Matthew says:

    Lets call it as it is: He used his office to hire his brother…………….period! The Archdiocese thus you are paying his salary…………is it right: NO! It is cronyism nothing else.
    Does in happen in life.yes. Should it happen in the Church: No
    It sends the wrong message……………it is who you know but what you know.
    It cannot be defended. It was a wrong decision…selfish and not for the goos of the Church.
    So lets stop playing games.it is cronyism……………………..
    Yes; Father Bob is a hard worker.but the reality is he does control who sees the Cardinal and what the Cardinal hears and passes his desk.
    Too much power for one man……………it is the priests and the non wealthy who suffer.
    Call it as it is……………

  5. teddy ballgame says:

    66 Brooks and Capital Hill have alot in common.

  6. Matthew says:

    One other thing:
    If they announced that he was a cousin and not a brother: They were hiding something from the people at 66 Brooks . They were lying to deceive others. Why?
    That is why people are leaving the church and do not trust 66 Brooks. It is worse than cronyism…………..it is deciet!!!!
    Call it waht it is!

  7. Hmmm says:

    Wow! All I can say is wow…

  8. Mark Frances says:

    I believe that you need to follow what is happening in Albany and to decide if there is a connection to Boston. [edited by BCI. Your comment really had nothing to do with this post so it has been moderated. Please keep comments relevant to the BCI blog post].

    • One Who was there says:

      In a previous post, you attempt to extrapolate information based on “ethnic probability” ( it should be noted that you were wrong).
      Now, you can surmise something about the Bishop in Albany , “After viewing his picture on the diocese website”? Forgive me if I question whether your posts have value. I would suggest that they slow down the momentum BCI is building.

  9. Anonymous Commenter says:

    It’s interesting to me the vitriol with which people assume anyone related to anyone else in the building must be a crony.

    Is it not possible that Mr. Kickham is perfectly qualified for the job, went through a normal search process with several qualified candidates interviewed, and happened to be the best fit? Does knowing anyone in the building preclude you from applying for a job with the Archdiocese? There’s a difference between cronyism and using your network effectively… especially in hard economic times like these.

    This kind of needless character assassination is what makes BCI so easy for the Archdiocese to ignore. Maybe next time it would be better to attack and investigate the process of hiring itself rather than writing spiteful words about what I see as an innocent guy.

    • BCI is not sure how to respond to this feedback, since some of what you said does not match what we posted. BCI did not attack the character of Mr. Kickham–BCI pointed out that his publicly available background does not match the published job description and requirments. And BCI observed this hire gives the appearance of cronyism. We have documented in previous posts concerns with the hiring process, including that many qualified candidates have found it difficult to get face-to-face interviews for posted positions.If you feel the archdiocese is dismissive of BCI, it is more likely because they do not like the visibility to the cronyism,deception, wasteful spending on excessive salaries, and ethical breaches.

  10. Mack says:

    Being his brother makes the appearance of nepotism even more apparent. Even if he is qualified, it makes a bad appearance.
    I’m not surprised though.

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