Boston archdiocesan pay hits cathedral heights

March 18, 2013

The Boston Herald on Friday ran an article about the excessive pay for Boston Archdiocesan lay execs.  Coincidentally, on Saturday, Pope Francis said he wanted to see the church be poor, and for the poor. 

At the rate the Boston Archdiocese is paying salaries, giving pay increases to the already overpaid execs and running up debt, we are well on the path to being poor–but for reasons much different than Pope Francis apparently intends. The excessive salaries inhibit the ability of the Boston Archdiocese to carry out her mission–namely, salvation of souls and continuing the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.

Here is the Herald article.  The biggest thing to note after you read the article is the explanation for how the Boston Archdiocese is dealing with this situation. [Hint: to address a problem of excessive salaries, the solution should be to reduce them.]  Read on:

Archdiocesan execs pull in top salaries: Pay hits cathedral heights

Friday, March 15, 2013

Nearly one-third of the Archdiocese of Boston’s top execs ranked among the highest paid people in their field, according to a compensation study that prompted church officials to take a hard look at many of their six-figure salaries — and withhold some merit-based raises.

The study, performed by a third-party firm at the archdiocese’s request and released with its 2012 financial report, is the first in the archdiocese’s history, according to church officials, examining how their pay stacks up to nine comparable archdioceses, other Catholic organizations and a mixture of nonprofit and for-profit groups.

It found that five of the 16 lay executives making more than $150,000 are paid above the 75th percentile when compared to those in similar jobs, while six more make between the 50th and 75th percentiles.

The five remaining have “attributes that are unique to our archdiocese,” officials wrote in their financial report, adding that they are “paid comparably” to those with similar levels of responsibility.

The committee’s goal, officials said, is to have “most” of the top-earning executives be paid around the 50th percentile, though John Straub, the archdiocese’s chief financial officer and chancellor, acknowledged that can’t happen “overnight.” He declined to release additional details, including exactly where the executives fell in comparison or which ones outpaced their peers.

“I wouldn’t say anyone was surprised … about it,” Straub said. “It gave (the compensation committee) a clear path to make the recommendations they wanted to make.”

The findings, Straub said, have already prompted changes. No senior lay executive at or above median pay got a performance-based raise this fiscal year. Meanwhile, two new hires and one promoted employee — Straub — are being paid at the 50th percentile.

It still didn’t quiet critics, including Peter Borre, chairman of Boston-based Council of Parishes, who called the salaries “appalling, without getting into percentiles.” The archdiocese’s general counsel, for example, made more than $340,000 in 2011, its secretary of education more than $360,000 and eight others topped $200,000.

“In absolute terms, an institution that is downsizing itself with church attendances down … shouldn’t be lavishing money to this extent,” Borre said.

Readers probably know by now that it took years of public complaints in order for them to finally do this study. They then claim they are capping merit increases for people who are overpaid, meanwhile, they had just given a number of people salary increases before they decided to cap the excessive salaries.

Did they think that no one would notice how some of the bloated salaries have increased in the past year? Of the “senior lay executives,” some have salaries that have increased at a rapid pace. The committee writes about its “philosophy” in the annual report, and they claim the first step in dealing with excessive salaries is to withhold merit increases. But how does that explain the following?:

  • Mary Grassa O’Neill, schools superintendent, getting her pay increased from her $325,000 original salary now up to $343,705?
  • Beirne Lovely, general counsel, getting his pay raised from his original $300,000 now up to $311,219?
  • Carol Gustavson, exec director of benefits reported at $169.200, who was previously paid $149K, meaning her raise was at least 12.8%.
  • Terry Donilon, communications secretary. having his salary jump 13.4% from 2010 to 2011 ($162.5K to $184.4K)

As we wrote in “Fleecing the Flock,” Mass attendance continues to drop in Boston, Central Operations is running a $6M annual deficit, the diocese has almost a $140M debt, the financial situation in parishes continues to get worse with 40-50% unable to pay their bills, and Catholic schools are being closed. Yet, the salaries remain excessive and some are increasing.RCAB salaries 2012

Michael Voris explained the situation well in this recent video:

The right solution is to start reducing the salaries of the people. At 10% every three months, it will not take too long to get them all down to the right level. But that will not happen at the rate we are going.

Furthermore, it is clear that the Boston Archdiocese is violating the Motu Proprio from Pope Benedict XVI that says salaries and operational expenses are to be in “due proportion” to the analogous expenses of the diocesan Curia. The Boston Archdiocese says they want to be responsible stewards of donor funds, but overpaying lay execs would directly contradict that ideal. It is also clear that no one at the Pastoral Center, including Cardinal O’Malley or Vicar General Bishop Deeley, is going to take meaningful action.

For today and generations to come in the future, it is important that the Catholic Church have the financial resources to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and continue the ministry of Jesus Christ to save souls and help people grow in holiness, become saints and get to heaven. What can faithful Catholics do? Take a moment to forward this blog post to the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano <nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org> and ask him to intervene to address this breach of fiduciary responsibility and squandering of precious donor funds.  Also, pray for Cardinal O’Malley and the diocesan leadership.

This is what BCI thinks. What do you think?


Fleecing the Flock in Boston

February 4, 2013

As we continue exposing the violation of fiduciary responsibility in the Boston Archdiocese, we wanted to share with you another excellent video by ChurchMilitant.TV, called “Fleecing the Flock.”

Here are some highlights from the Michael Voris video:

[Voris] “The Boston Archdiocese .. which it needs to be stressed, has been a hotbed of dissent and wildly unorthodox treatment of Church teachings .. not to mention the epicenter of the homosexual clergy sex abuse crisis ten years ago .. also, unsurprisingly finds itself over a hundred million dollars in debt. That’s what you get when you depart from the truth – Catholics falling away like snowflakes in a blizzard.

A dozen chancery personnel are each making gross amounts of money for the work they do. The top dog on the list is the secretary for education. This woman needs a wheel barrel to take home her pay each week .. get this .. over a third of a million dollars each year in pay. Compare that to the NY City Superintendent of Public schools .. who only makes $250,000 a year.”

[BCI] Are there published, measurable goals for Catholic schools?  Are they being met?  What is the program and what are the standards for Catholic faith formation in Catholic schools? Why has the excessive salary of Schools Superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neill increased in recent years? What exactly has she achieved?

[Voris] And as you move down the list of Boston Archdiocese workers .. the numbers .. the gross salaries are nothing if not .. well gross. It’s one thing to make a living wage .. its another thing to be cashing in on dying particular church. 16 people are pulling down nearly 4 million dollars between them in annual pay and benefits.

A little history beyond the numbers here will help. A couple years back when lay people began complaining about the exorbitant salaries being paid .. out of a sense of embarrassment, the archdiocese put together a “committee” to look into it. One gets the sense that this is NOT what Our Blessed Lord meant when He said .. do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.

So this committee canvassed other archdioceses around the country and came up with a salary range for each position. It found that many of its workers were on the high end of the range, so in response .. the archdiocese just halted some pay raises.

[BCI] The “committee” is, once again, how Cardinal O’Malley removes himself from responsibility or accountability for fleecing the flock.

[Voris] That people who are working for the Church are in fat cat positions .. whether in Boston or other places smacks of unethical or immoral .. if not down right sinful. Armed with this knowledge .. one begins to wonder if the reason so little actually changes in chanceries all over the country is because those who work in have a VESTED interest .. a REALLY VESTED interest in not rocking the boat.

Why on earth would they rock the boat and risk a quarter million dollar pay check and retirement plan? Another question – Is it even just for people in the Church to be making
that kind of money, when they have so clearly failed, in epic fashion to advance the Church, grow her numbers, heck even hold serve.

The Church is in all out retreat across the country, thousands of parishes closed, many hundreds of schools shuttered, millions having walked away from the faith and yet the
people who operate the machinery and pull the levers are practically laughing all the way to the bank. This situation is approaching spiritually criminal.

The money that goes into these people’s paychecks and retirement plans comes from the faithful and the collection basket. How many are sitting in those pews struggling in a
wrecked economy .. only to be feeding a bloated bureaucracy and not even really aware of it.

And what about the idea of working for the Kingdom, also, primarily being a vocation? Not that a living wage can’t be earned, of course it should be. But isn’t a hundred
thousand dollars a year enough. After all, that’s more than TWICE the average income for a family of four in the United States. Would $75,000 suffice. All over the country .. good hard-working faithful Catholics labor away to advance the truth of the faith .. to help save souls .. to preach the kingdom.

They work in apostolates like this .. I can assure you making NOTHING even approaching those kinds of pays. They work in Crisis Pregnancy centers .. home schooling centers .. new and upcoming colleges committed to the faith .. high schools that had to be started because the Professional Catholic crowd has failed both miserably and spectacularly in every aspect of their job .. other than negotiating their professional sports sized compensation packages.

Just how much does an Archdiocesan Communications director make in NY or Los Angeles, or Philly or Chicago? How about the Human Resources Director or the Education Czar in these places – are they all making massive six figure salaries?

And if they are – where are the results? In the private sector – it is argued, that the enormous salaries are paid because of the person’s expertise and skill and that the
company is growing and raking in profits and the top brass are responsible for that and so they SHOULD be handsomely compensated.

[BCI] Not a single one of the people below, not all even Catholics, will rock the boat. What results are they delivering? Mass attendance continues to drop in Boston, Central Operations is running a $6M annual deficit, the diocese has almost a $140M debt, the financial situation in parishes continues to get worse, and Catholic schools are being closed, yet the salaries remain excessive and some are increasing.RCAB salaries 2012

Whose fault it is? The blame rests ultimately on Cardinal O’Malley, then on Vicar General Deeley, Chancellor  John Straub, and Finance Council Vice Chair Jack McCarthy. Next it rests on all of the “Professional Catholic” and non-Catholic lay executives who have asked for these salaries and are willing to participate in “fleecing the flock” by accepting the fat paychecks. Pastors should be complaining at vicariate and Presbyteral Council meetings and start refusing to fork over their IFRM payments. And the people in the pews need to stop donating to the Catholic Appeal, complain to their pastors and ask their pastors to complain to the archdiocese.


Debt-Ridden Boston Archdiocese Pays Lay Execs $3.7M, Violates Fiduciary Responsibility and Motu Proprio

February 1, 2013

The Boston Archdicoese, saddled with $137 million in debt and operating deficits of $11 million in the past two years, paid their top lay executives $3.7M in salaries and benefits in the past year. They acknowledge many are overpaid, and to add insult to injury, they even gave raises to some overpaid execs last year. This excessive spending on salaries violates the diocese’s fiduciary responsibility to make proper use of donor funds, and it also violates the recent Motu Proprio from the Pope Benedict XVI. Because the Massachusetts Attorney General has oversight for Non-Profits and their use of donor funds, she has reason to intervene.  Meanwhile, Cardinal O’Malley appears to be fiddling, as the fiscal and moral version of “Rome” is burning.

There is enough content here to take multiple blog posts. We will cover as much as possible today and continue in subsequent posts.  That Boston was paying excessive six figure salaries to lay execs has been a public complaint for more than three years. That nothing is being done about it, even with the window-dressing of a “Compensation Committee” formed in 2010 is an even bigger travesty, especially even after publication of the Pope’s “Motu Proprio.” First we cover the “Motu Proprio” and diocesan code of conduct guidelines, then the salaries, the Compensation Committee report, and then examples.

“Motu Proprio

Signed on November 11, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI and officially in effect December 10, 2012, the Motu Proprio says salaries need to be in due proportion to analagous expenses of the diocesan curia.

§ 4. In a particular way, the Bishop is to see that the management of initiatives dependent on him offers a testimony of Christian simplicity of life. To this end, he will ensure that salaries and operational expenses, while respecting the demands of justice and a necessary level of professionalism, are in due proportion to analogous expenses of his diocesan Curia.

Priests in the Boston curia are paid about $41K annually.  How can anyone in the Boston Archdiocese claim that the $300K+ salaries of their top execs are in “due proportion” to the analogous expenses of the diocesan Curia? Here is our December blog post describing the violation.

Archdiocesan Code of Conduct

The diocesan Code of Conduct says:

“Church Personnel will be responsible stewards of the resources, human and financial, of the Archdiocese and any Archdiocesan Affiliated Organization with  which they are associated, observing both canon and civil law, and making decisions concerning the disposition of resources that reflect Catholic social teaching.”

Salaries Disclosed in 2012 Annual Report

The 2012 Annual Report released on Friday, January 18, reports that 16 lay executives are paid more than $150,000 a year, and on top of that, another 10 are paid $100K or more a year. The salaries of the top-paid execs can be found in pages 77-82 of the pdf.  12 of the 16 people paid $150K+ are listed in the report, but it is easy for anyone to determine with high certainty who the other 4 are from the Pastoral Center directory based on titles.  (BCI knows several are paid $200K+ and the others a little less than $200K, so we assumed an average of $200K for their salaries in the table below).  To make it easier for you to see all 16, we have arranged the publicly available data in the table below (click on image to zoom):

RCAB salaries 2012

Compensation Committee Report

The short version of the story here is that the “Compensation Committee” formed in November 2010 to study compensation and address the complaints about excessive six-figure salaries spent tens of thousands of dollars of donor funds and accomplished next to nothing.  Their “report,” if you can call it that, is on page 83 of the Annual Report.  They hired a consultant, AON, to do a study, which probably cost a minimum of $30K.

“We determined that the competitive environment varies by position. Depending on the job, the arena in which we compete for talent includes some or all of the following: other Catholic organizations, other not-for-profit groups, and for-profit organizations. The peer group against which we measure ourselves is tailored for each position. The consultants accessed numerous data bases containing applicable information, and conducted a custom survey of Catholic dioceses. The results of the study are as follows:

a. Six of the senior lay executives are paid between the 50th and the 75th percentiles;
b. Five of the positions have attributes that are unique to our Archdiocese, and are paid comparably to peers in the Archdiocese with similar levels of responsibility; and
c. Five of the senior lay executives are paid above the 75th percentile.

“The Committee believes that, over time, most senior lay executive positions should be paid at approximately the median compensation (or 50th percentile) identified in the salary study, as updated from time to time.”  There is more, but wait a moment.

In other words, a) 6 of 16 people are slightly to somewhat overpaid, c) 5 of 16 people are way overpaid (note, there is no upper limit specified, so some could be off the charts overpaid), and b) 5 other people are overpaid comparably to their Boston Archdiocesan peers who are overpaid, but we justify it based on their “unique attributes.”

Hmm.

Now the “unique attributes” justification:

“There are, however, factors that may require pay at levels that differ from the median, and the amount any particular individual is paid should reflect such factors. These include the nature of an individual’s experience to include the time and performance in the role, the uniqueness of an individual’s qualifications, the scope of the position relative to those included in the salary study, the strategic importance of the position, and the urgency and seriousness of any problems that need to be addressed. All individuals in the group are currently paid at a level that is consistent with our compensation philosophy.”

So, once they determined that basically everyone was overpaid, then they apparently created a “compensation philosophy” to justify overpaying everyone. That philosophy is summed up here:

“Our philosophy is based on the belief that senior lay executives are employed by the Archdiocese to advance the mission of the Church, and that accomplishing this goal requires competent, compassionate, efficient and effective leadership. The purpose of the compensation system is to enable the Archdiocese to attract and retain individuals whose personal goals and achievements are in harmony with the Church’s teachings, and whose motivation, talents and capabilities will assist the Church in achieving its objectives. This means that our pay practices must be: (i) competitive, so that we are able to hire people with the requisite qualifications; (ii) equitable, so that our employees are paid fairly relative to one another; and (iii) realistic, so that they reflect economic conditions in the Archdiocese and in the wider world.”

Without seeing the actual AON study, there is no proof they achieved (i) or (ii) and lots of other evidence they did not, and it is abundantly clear they have not achieved a compensation scheme that reflects the economic conditions in this archdiocese, where 40-50% of parishes cannot pay their bills and Central Operations lost $11M in the past 2 years. They apparently missed the “Motu Proprio” and should go back to work to add a new item “(iv) pay in due proportion to analogous expenses of the Boston diocesan Curia.”

The poster-child for excessive compensation, Mary Grassa O’Neill (see “Up in alms over salaries”), is perhaps the highest-paid lay Catholic diocesan employee in the country, making far more than public school superintendents in New York and Los Angeles who have 10X+ more responsibility. She just had her pay upped from $325K to $341K. Just one more quick example of the evidence they are over-paying is:

Carol Gustavson: Executive Director Lay Benefits: $169,190. A proud ex-Catholic whose previous experience was as a labor attorney for a newspaper. When they slashed lay pensions in 2011, readers reported she was unable to respond to basic questions about pensions in the public meetings. As reported here, she was making $149,999 before her job as Executive Director of HR was reduced by about 2/3 in 2011. Other archdioceses we surveyed said they were not paying their head of HR nearly what Carol was making when she was responsible for HR and paid $149,999–coincidentally, just enough to fall below the $150K limit for reporting in past years.   Jim DiFrancesco is “Director of Human Resources” and Carol is largely just responsible for Pension/Medical Trust (minus the prior work of dealing with plans for 10,000 Caritas Christi employees who now are Steward Healthcare’s responsibility).  A pension/medical plan administrator for an archdiocese like Boston makes around $80-85K.  Amount of excessive pay: $70-80K.  Oh, we forgot, she is also responsible for bringing yoga into the Pastoral Center.

The whole situation is frankly, preposterous.  It will take us multiple blog posts to address the depth of the problem.  Now that the Boston Archdiocese has just finished giving fat raises to most of overpaid people (a topic for the next post), all the Compensation Committee is doing is the following:

At the Committee’s recommendation, no merit increase was granted for FY 2013 to any member of the senior lay executive group whose salary was at or above the applicable median. In the future, compensation should be limited to levels that satisfy our compensation philosophy through tools such as renegotiation of contracts, sunsetting of current pay and/or salary freezes.

In the future?  How about in the present while the archdiocese is $137M in debt (not counting the $50M in lay benefits owed to former employees, off the books entirely now), is running a $6M annual operating loss, and has half the parishes in the red? Why not immediately start reducing salaries by 10% as of 90 days from now, with successive 10% cuts every 90 days until they get overpaid execs where they need to be?

Every Catholic, plus the Attorney General and Vatican should be up in arms about this financial scandal. If you care about the future ability of the Boston Archdiocese to carry on the saving mission of Jesus Christ, click below to send a copy of this blog post via email to the Papal Nuncio  [nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org] the Massachusetts Attorney General Division of Public Charities [charities@state.ma.us] and the Boston Globe [newstip@globe.com].


Boston Archdiocese Reports Deficit, $137M Debt

January 23, 2013

With almost no fanfare, the Boston Archdiocese released the 2012 Annual Report on Friday. This stands in contrast to last year, when the archdiocese released the 2011 results saying they had a “balanced budget,” when that really was not true.  Central Operations for the archdiocese ran at a loss of about $6.8M, and the archdiocese also faces their own “fiscal cliff” of sorts as they have $137M of debt and no obvious way of paying it right now.

For all who care about the future of the Boston Archdiocese and her ability to carry out the saving mission of Jesus Christ for generations to come, there is reason for serious concern.

The report, available here, presents a lot of data, and it is easy to be overwhelmed with the data and miss the meaning of the data, as the Boston Globe did in their article on Friday. Once you look at the big picture, the message should raise alarm bells at 66 Brooks Drive and at the Vatican that we can no longer have “business as usual.”  A few finance experts looked over the report and helped shed insight for us into the data. Here are just some of the key things you should know:

  • Despite a “balanced budget” announced for the 2011 fiscal year, the recently released financial statements show (page 24, and page 73–Column 2) that the Central Operations of the archdiocese had an operating loss of $6.8 million in 2012 and $6.3M in 2011 (page 24). BCI pointed out the deception last year, and at least this year, they did not say they had a balanced budget–they just said they had a goal of having one.
  • They also reveal that Parish Reconfiguration funds have been tapped out.  $12.3M dollars over the past 5-6 years went for “Distributions to agencies and departments that provided program assistance and support to parishes.” Since almost all Pastoral Center departments support parishes, this really means: “Pastoral Center departments who are normally funded by the Central Fund were subsidized by $12.3M from a source no longer available.
  • About $11.1 million from Reconfiguration Funds was used to cover expenses from maintaining the properties of closed churches over the past 6+ years.
  • During the past six years, insurance reserves that were $15M in 2006 have been depleted to zero or near zero (see this 2010 BCI blog post and p. 16 of the 2012 Annual Report)
  • “A number” of the 78 parishes that were in Phases I and II of the Improved Financial Relationship Model program as of June 30, 2012 saw improved operating performance when compared to fiscal 2011. We are not told exactly what number “a number” means.  If it were more than half, the archdiocese would probably tell us. That suggests the majority saw worse results.
  • The archdiocese has “major liabilities” of $93.9 million for unfunded clergy pension and post retirement obligations and $43.5 million in debt owed to St. John’s Seminary. As of now, we are not told how they intend to fund these.  Nothing is said about the roughly $50M or so that is owed to employees and former employees when they changed the lay pension plan and cut pensions back in 2011.
  • Virtually nothing has been done to address the problem of excessive six-figure salaries. The long-awaited report by the Compensation Committee found that of 16 lay executives paid $150K+, 6 are way over-paid–making above the 75th percentile for that they found were comparable roles, 6 are somewhat overpaid–making between the 50th and the 75th
    percentiles for comparable roles, and 5 have positions somehow “unique to our Archdiocese and are paid comparably to peers in the Archdiocese with similar levels of responsibility.”  That last part in quotes sounds like those 5 people are overpaid in a manner comparable to how their peers are overpaid.  In other words, just about everyone is overpaid. The only cost-saving action being taken is to not give a cost of living increase to the 6 who are way over-paid.

The messages from Cardinal O’Malley and Chancellor Straub in the annual report really give no sense for the dire reality facing us, and there is much more detail in each of the above that we will begin to cover in our future posts.

With the Archdiocese containing to hemorrhage operationally and covering the losses by depleting other funds, it is time to ask several questions:
  1. What funds are going to get tapped or looted in the coming years to pay the bills?
  2. How will the Clergy Funds debt and St. Johns Seminary debts of nearly $140M be paid? (And will the $50M+ in unpaid lay pension obligations currently not on the balance sheet ever be dealt with?)
  3. Is the new Pastoral Plan, “Disciples in Mission” expected to somehow miraculously solve all of the financial problems and concerns above during the next 5 years? What else will the leadership and management team of the Boston Archdiocese really do differently in running Central Operations?

There is a tremendous amount of good and potential in the Boston Archdiocese–great priests, hard-working pastoral staffs in parishes (and some still in the  Pastoral Center) who care about advancing the saving mission of Jesus Christ and the mission of the Catholic Church, a new commitment to evangelization and faith formation, and more.  But, the issues above are gravely serious ones, and it feels like, except for “Disciples in Mission,” it is still largely “business as usual” inside the operations and management at 66 Brooks Drive.

Halfway through their terms in office, Massachusetts Gov. Patrick and President Obama have had major changes in their executive leadership teams.  Here we sit half-way through Cardinal Sean’s term in office as Archbishop of Boston. At least as one step towards change, is it not time for him to try something different–like for starters, lowering lay executive salaries and/or moving out most, if not all of the expensive lay execs who arrived between 2004-2006, and bringing in some less expensive talent committed to the saving ministry of Jesus Christ and not just a big paycheck? Get rid of Rasky Baerlein and his $180K+ PR guy and bring in a PR team committed to the saving mission of Jesus Christ? Move along a certain senior aide with responsibility over pro-life activities who would rather camp out in his warm office at Harvard than brave the cold and attend the March for Life?

That is what BCI thinks. What do you think?


Boston Catholics call on archdiocese to end relationship with Obama-backing multi-millionaire

September 2, 2012

LifeSite News has an excellent piece that adds more color to the issues with Jack Connors we brought up in our last post. As readers recall, BCI posted a response by the Boston Archdiocese to an Ethicspoint complaint about Connors’ fund-raising for President Obama (whose policies violate our religious freedoms and work against the Catholic Church), while Connors also serves on the Finance Council with responsibility for Institutional Advancement and raises money for Catholic schools.

As we know, an anonymous critic recently submitted a complaint to the archdiocese over Connors’ Obama fundraising on the whistleblower site, EthicsPoint, and the archdiocese responded that a Finance Council member’s support for a pro-abortion politician who is actively working to violate our religious freedom was not a problem for them.

“Finance Council members are not obligated to make public the rationale behind their decisions to support various organizations, programs, and persons. That a Finance Council member may offer his/her backing to a politician or political candidate who is in support of pro-choice policies does not define or exhaust a Finance Council member’s position on issues pertaining to respect for life. Instead, it objectively speaks to the Finance Council member’s willingness to engage with and find value and merit in the opinions, ideals, and visions of individuals with a wide variety of moral stances, which at various times are more or less in line with the teachings of the Church. Furthermore, though he/she may provide his/her time and support to certain institutions which allow for individuals to elect to participate in activities that do not respect the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life, no current Finance Council member has publicly advocated abortions as suitable moral options for these individuals. To assume that a Finance Council member is pro-choice and actively in support of abortions because of his/her political affiliations and/or institutional support is an unfair assumption and not one the Archdiocese is willing to use in judging candidates for the Council.

…Cardinal O’Malley trusts that the moral convictions of the Finance Council members are firmly rooted in Catholic social teaching and are designed to uphold the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. The Archdiocese believes that the decisions the Finance Council members make as citizens and as Catholics, although opposed by some, are neither in violation of Catholic teaching nor do they bring about scandal.

In Boston Catholics call on archdiocese to end relationship with Obama-backing multi-millionaire, LifeSite News took this a step further with additional revelations:

Among Connors’ philanthropic projects is the Connors Center for Women’s Health, which The Globe described as his favorite among Connors Family Foundation beneficiaries “closest to the family’s heart”: it was named after Connors’ mother, Mary Horrigan Connors, and is where his eight grandchildren were born.

At the helm of the Connors Center is its co-founder Paula A. Johnson, a former chairman of the board for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, who also served on the board for the Center for Reproductive Rights. When the HHS mandate for free birth control began this month, the Connors Center celebrated the news and Johnson appeared on local media as an expert touting the mandate’s benefits: Johnson herself was a member of the Institutes of Medicine Committee that recommended the contraception mandate to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2011.

Among the Connors Centers’ top goals is “training the next generation of leaders in the field of women’s health,” including future abortion providers: its Family Planning Fellowship, led by abortionist and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) head researcher Alisa Goldberg, partners with PPLM to offer a nationally-recognized two-year program to “improve access to, and the quality of, pregnancy termination services through research and training.” The Center’s only other fellowship, the Global Women’s Health Fellowship, was expected to merge with the Family Planning Fellowship as of 2009.

Jack Connors has not always been a favorite with Boston’s Catholic hierarchy: the two experienced a falling-out involving the 2002 sex abuse scandal. When Cardinal O’Malley sought his help for the schools project three years later, Connors, in the Globe’s words, accepted on condition that he “use his ideas, not the Church’s.” Since then, Connors’ ideas have also surfaced in pastoral decisions: he joined condemnations of a Boston school that removed a third-grade student because his parents were lesbians, something the archdiocese also criticized. “I am disappointed that … this faith that I love seems to find new ways to shoot itself in the foot,” said Connors.

The Archdiocese of Boston declined a request for comment.

Judie Brown of the American Life League said that, whether or not Cardinal O’Malley intended it, keeping up appearances with Connors was a serious scandal for the Catholic faithful.

Brown faulted the archdiocese for overlooking Connors’ connections in favor of his financial prowess. “These things don’t happen in a vacuum. Someone is very aware of his interconectedness with the Culture of Death. There’s no way they could not be,” she said.

“The worst damage always happens to the Church from within.”

Judie Brown is correct.  “Someone” needs to take responsibility for allowing this situation to continue, not just the amorphous “archdiocese.”  The Tenth Crusade has a suggestion and specifically identifies who that someone would be.

Reader, “Angry Parish Council Member” also put it well in a comment on our last post.

The Archdiocese and Cardinal O’Malley are also speaking out of both sides of their mouth. In 2007, Cardinal O’Malley said:

“I think the Democratic Party, which has been in many parts of the country traditionally the party which Catholics have supported, has been extremely insensitive to the church’s position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues,” O’Malley said.

Acknowledging that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, O’Malley said, “I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I’m concerned.”

However, when I challenge people about this, they say, ‘Well, bishop, we’re not supporting [abortion rights],’ ” he continued. “I think there’s a need for people to very actively dissociate themselves from those unacceptable positions.”

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/11/15/omalley_draws_line_with_democrats/?page=full

I don’t get it. If Mr. Connors is tied to the Democratic party, which has been extremely insensitive to the Catholic church’s position on the gospel of life, and he’s raising money to support Obama’s reelection, when Obama has been very insensitive to the Catholic church’s position on life, why should Cardinal O’Malley trust Mr. Connor’s moral convictions?

If it “borders on scandal” for Catholics to vote for Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, how can a Finance Council member raise money for Obama, who favors abortion rights, and not bring about scandal? Is he bringing about something that “borders on scandal” but is not real scandal?

I guess it all depends on what the definition of “is” is.

BCI thinks it is time for Cardinal O’Malley and/or Vicar General Msgr. Deeley to have a private sit-down with Jack Connors. The purpose of this discussion is to thank Jack for his help with fundraising for the Catholic schools, and to educate him about the truths of abortion, the reality of how the Obama HHS mandate violates our religious freedoms and will harm Catholic institutions (including those Connors claims he supports), and the consequences of Connor’s actions on his own mortal soul, on the unborn, on the Catholic Church, and on society for generations to come. If there is no change of heart, conversion or commitment on the part of Jack to disassociate himself from the unacceptable positions his political fundraising and philanthropy are advancing, then BCI believes it is necessary for Cardinal O’Malley to disassociate the Boston Archdiocese from Jack.  If you agree, then hit Share and send a copy of this email to Vicar_General(at)rcab.org.


How Boston Archdiocese Justifies Keeping Obama Fund-Raiser Around

August 25, 2012

We shift back to Boston, to share with you today an explanation from the Boston Archdiocese about how they justify keeping Jack Connors on the Finance Council, despite his public fundraising for political figures who oppose the Catholic Church.

BCI has posted a number of times about Connors in the past.  In Stop the Scandal in 2011, we raised the concern that Conners was publicly supporting and raising money for pro-abortion politicians (ie. President Obama) at the same time he is raising money for Catholic schools, has Finance Council oversight for archdiocesan fundraising and is influencing the direction of Catholic education. Nothing happened. This past June in our post on Fortnight for Freedom, we raised the concern again–this time, when Connors hosted a $40,000/person fundraiser for President Obama this afternoon.  We asked, how is it we can have a member of the Archdiocese of Boston Finance Council responsible for Institutional Advancement who is working against the Catholic Church by publicly fundraising for a politician who wants to violate our religious freedom?  It seemed to BCI that was scandalous.

Well, an alert BCI reader apparently agreed and filed a complaint via Ethicpoint, the anonymous whistleblower program set-up for reporting violations of the archdiocesan Code of Conduct. The archdiocese was obliged to respond. The complaint says that these public actions by Connors violated the archdiocesan Code of Conduct policy, which says Church personnel should ensure their behavior “promotes the welfare of the archdiocese” and “exemplifies the moral traditions of the Church.”  Below is the original complaint, the response by the archdiocese, and a response by the complainant, to which the archdiocese never responded.

ORIGINAL COMPLAINT

Report Submission Date
6/28/2012

Reported Company/Branch Information

Location

Public square and in mainstream media

City/State/Zip

Braintree, MA, U.S.

 

Violation Information
Issue Type
Misconduct or Inappropriate Behavior
Please identify the person(s) engaged in this behavior:
Jack Connors – Archdiocesan Finance Council, Chair, Campaign for Catholic Schools
Do you suspect or know that a supervisor or management is involved?
Do Not Know / Do Not Wish To Disclose
If yes, then who?
Cardinal O’Malley
Is management aware of this problem?
Do Not Know / Do Not Wish To Disclose
What is the general nature of this matter?
The Code of Conduct says that church personnel will ensure their behavior “promotes the welfare of the archdiocese” and “exemplifies the moral traditions of the Church.” Jack Connors has just done the opposite. On the same day when Cardinal O’Malley hosted a town hall forum to rally support for religious freedom and opposition to the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic institutions pay for contraception coverage, Mr. Connors very publicly raised $1 million for the campaign of President Obama, who is leading the charge to violate our religious freedom:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/06/26/president_obama_to_visit_boston_for_fund_raising_monday/

Church personnel raising money for a politician whose policies serve to undermine the welfare of the archdiocese sounds like a violation of the code of conduct. It says “Church personnal will conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as enunciated by the Holy Father and the Bishops in communion with him; more specifically, Church Personnel shall, in all such matters, accept, rely upon and defer to the teaching authority of the Archbishop in all matters of faith and morals.

Where did this incident or violation occur?
June 25, 2012
Please provide the specific or approximate time this incident occurred:
4pm. see:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/06/26/president_obama_to_visit_boston_for_fund_raising_monday/

How long do you think this problem has been going on?
More than a year
How did you become aware of this violation?
Other
If other, how?
newspaper articles
Details
4pm fundraiser on Monday, June 25 for President Obama.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/06/26/president_obama_to_visit_boston_for_fund_raising_monday/

“Obama spent more than an hour inside Hamersley’s Bistro, whose front windows were covered, while hundreds of people waited on Tremont Street for a glimpse of him. Boston’s police commissioner, Ed Davis, joined the heavy-security team of city police, State Police, and Secret Service on Clarendon Street, where the president’s limousine was parked. At the restaurant, 25 supporters, hosted by Boston advertising executive Jack Connors, paid $40,000 each to attend.”

http://www.boston.com/politicalintelligence/2012/06/21/president-obama-will-make-campaign-swing-through-boston-monday-for-series-fundraisers/xsNzFx2AGik11AuhVSGd0H/story.html

Obama will first attend an intimate campaign roundtable at Hamersley’s Bistro in the South End with 25 supporters who paid $40,000 each to attend, said a campaign official. The afternoon gathering will be hosted by Boston advertising magnate Jack Connors, who last spring held a $17,900-a-head dinner at his Brookline home for the president.

Follow-Up Notes
There are no additional notes for this report.

RESPONSE FROM THE BOSTON ARCHDIOCESE:

Follow-Up Questions/Comments
Jul 10, 2012, 9:43 AM
Comment: Members of the Archdiocese of Boston Finance  Council provide the Archdiocese of Boston with  their well-established business acumen and  experience in productive, fiscally stable organizations. As they do so, these individuals donate generously of their time and talent. The Archdiocese of Boston asks these individuals to serve in this and other capacities with full confidence that they adhere faithfully to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, act in a manner which is fully in accordance with the Archdiocesan Code of Conduct, and conduct themselves as all Catholics are called to—with care, concern and compassion for others,
especially those who are in need.

In their support of organizations apart from the Archdiocese, Finance Council members find themselves immersed in diverse settings, replete with the full variety of moral beliefs and human behaviors. As free and private citizens, Finance Council members are at liberty to invest their time and energy in any manner they deem fit and to support those programs and policies, and at times individuals, which they have determined contribute to the common good and the well-being of society. The Archdiocese believes that the support of these programs, policies, and/or individuals reflects the Finance Council members’ own understanding of the human condition, the moral responsibility of each individual, and the collective responsibilities of the populace.

As individuals who value their privacy, Finance Council members are not obligated to make public the rationale behind their decisions to support various organizations, programs, and persons. The Church respects the right of the individual to personal conscience formation. The reality of this personal moral and ethical worldview informs Cardinal O’Malley’s solicitation of the Finance Council members’ service to the Archdiocese and, at times, acceptance of their generous financial assistance. That a Finance Council member may offer his/her backing to a politician or political candidate who is in support of pro-choice policies does not define or exhaust a Finance Council member’s position on issues pertaining to respect for life. Instead, it objectively speaks to the Finance Council member’s willingness to engage with and find value and merit in the opinions, ideals, and visions of individuals with a wide variety of moral stances, which at various times are more or less in line with the teachings of the Church. Furthermore, though he/she may provide his/her time and support to certain institutions which allow for individuals to elect to participate in activities that do not respect the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life, no current Finance Council member has publicly advocated abortions as suitable moral options for these individuals. To assume that a Finance Council member is pro-choice and actively in support of abortions because of his/her political affiliations and/or institutional support is an unfair assumption and not one the Archdiocese is willing to use in judging candidates for the Council.

Turning to political activities specifically, the support of a pro-choice politician by a Catholic has been addressed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States (2007). In this document, the Bishops state,

“A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. […] In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”

In Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the Bishops recognize that the political field is not one characterized by ideal candidates who at all times and in all cases uphold the full array of Catholic moral truths. Consequently, Catholic voters are tasked with examining imperfect candidates according to Catholic teaching on matters “affecting human life and dignity as well as issues of justice and peace” and “consider[ing] candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance.” The whole of Catholic social teaching should be considered when a Catholic makes a valuation of a given political candidate. Although the principles articulated in the USCCB statement can find expression in differing concrete political choices by individual Catholics, one should presume that the choices have been made conscientiously and in good faith.

Through their dedicated service, the members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council have repeatedly shown their love for the Church and their desire to see it flourish and provide the framework by which the people of the Archdiocese of Boston may be nourished physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Cardinal O’Malley trusts that the moral convictions of the Finance Council members are firmly rooted in Catholic social teaching and are designed to uphold the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. The Archdiocese believes that the decisions the Finance Council members make as citizens and as Catholics, although opposed by some, are neither in violation of Catholic teaching nor do they bring about scandal. Rather, the Archdiocese feels they are a reflection of the difficult decisions which must be made in a less than perfect world, one which the Finance Council members actively and tirelessly seek to improve through their faithful service to Christ and His Church.

RESPONSE FROM THE PERSON WHO FILED THE COMPLAINT
Jul 12, 2012, 6:15 AM
Reply: Thank you for your response–however I’m a bit confused by it. I didn’t say anything about abortion and your whole response is about a Finance Council member’s support for pro-choice politicians. My complaint was about Jack Connors’ support for Obama while he is actively working to take away our religious freedom. Now that I’ve read your response, I have several follow-up points and questions.

i) Specifically what sort of positions or actions would constitute “scandal” for a Finance Council member to give their support to? For example, if the politician supported by a Finance Council member advocated for ethnic cleansing, would that still be permissible without creating scandal? If the politician advocated for legalization of premeditated murder, child pornography, or sex between adults and young children, is it still OK for the Finance Council to publicly support the politician and this does not create scandal, because the person has the right to form their own conscience?

ii) The Code of Conduct says that church personnel will ensure their behavior “promotes the welfare of the archdiocese” and “exemplifies the moral traditions of the Church.” Since President Obama and his administration opposes the freedom of religion for this Catholic archdiocese which harms the Catholic Church and could impose substantial financial penalties on us, how exactly can Mr. Connors’ fund-raising to re-elect President Obama promote the welfare of the archdiocese? How does fund-raising for the most pro-abortion, pro-gay, anti-traditional marriage, anti-Catholic and anti-religious freedom President this country has ever had–in opposition to the moral teachings of the Church– “exemplify the moral traditions of the Church”? I don’t understand your rationale. Can you explain further?

3) In your response, you said, “Cardinal O’Malley trusts that the moral convictions of the Finance Council members are firmly rooted in Catholic social teaching and are designed to uphold the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. The Archdiocese believes that the decisions the Finance Council members make as citizens and as Catholics, although opposed by some, are neither in violation of Catholic teaching nor do they bring about scandal.”

Has Cardinal O’Malley actually asked Finance Council members if their moral convictions are in keeping with Catholic moral teaching and support protection of human life from conception to natural death, as well as marriage between one man and one woman, and religious freedom from government interference? Is that specifically a prerequisite for becoming a member of the Finance Council? If not, why not? What if you asked and found a Finance Council member answering honestly said they did not agree with Catholic doctrine and moral teachings? Then what?

This report has been closed.

Follow-Up Statements
The organization sent these questions or comments before report was closed. You cannot respond.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

BCI finds the response from the Boston Archdiocese to be most revealing. At last we have some explanation for how the Boston Archdiocese justifies keeping Jack around.  As long as the money is green, it does not matter what he does in his “private” life, even if those actions publicly harm the Catholic Church.  Matthew 6:24 comes to mind, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.”

What do you think?


Did Boston Archdiocese Violate Trust with Catholics Over “Balanced Budget” Claim?

February 29, 2012

We return to local Boston Archdiocese matters to let you know the archdiocese refuses to respond to inquiries about how they claimed to have a “balanced budget” in the 2011 fiscal year when their own financial reports show they did not. With the outgoing chancellor, Jim McDonough, still there for a few days, we hope the Vicar General can get answers from him before he departs, for the benefit of the future of the archdiocese.

The subject of this post is the key point to take away.

The archdiocese set out with a plan and goal to run a balanced budget for the 2011 fiscal year, but they spent more than expected and the published financials show they ran an operating loss of $4.2M–yet still announced to 1.8M Catholics and the media that they achieved the goal of a “balanced budget.”   Plain and simple–unless there is some other data not published, what they announced appears to be untrue, and it is unhealthy for institutions that should be respected and trusted to violate that trust by saying things that are objectively not true.

Below are two emails we sent  to the vice-chair of the Finance Council, Jack McCarthy, outgoing Chancellor Jim McDonough, Vicar General Msgr. Deeley, and John Straub, interim chancellor, and a short response from Communications Secretary, Terry Donilon.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jim Franklin <bostoncatholicinsider@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 8:31 PM
Subject: Budget questions
To: jack.mccarthy@neu.edu, jpm@rcab.org, John_Straub@rcab.org
Cc: vicar_general@rcab.org

Mr. McCarthy, Mr. McDonough, and Mr. Straub,

As followup to the publication of the 2011 Annual Report, could you help explain how the Boston Archdiocese justifies publicly claiming the 2011 budget was “balanced” when on an operational basis, it was not actually balanced.  I would also like to ask if you can let Boston Catholic Insider know if the attached comparison of budgeted expenses to actual expenses is accurate.

The Annual Report shows Operating Expense exceeded Operating Revenue by $4.2M.  That means Central Operations ran at an operating loss.  See below (our blog post, ““Balanced Budget” or Unbalanced Budget?)  for the explanation we posted last week at Boston Catholic Insider.  Is there some explanation available for why the archdiocese considers this budget to be “balanced” when the financial statements show a loss?

In the absence of any explanation for this discrepancy, we would be hard pressed to not say that the archdiocese is deceiving the Catholic faithful by saying the budget was balanced when in reality it was not.

Also, attached is a comparison of budgeted expenses from the 2011 budget plan vs the actual expenses in the 2011 Annual Report.  It shows expenses up considerably over the original plan, and service fees up as well. When the budgeted spend is compared vs the higher than budgeted operating expenses, that explains the operating loss.

Boston Catholic Insider plans to publish this later in the week on Thursday and welcomes your feedback on what we are missing in our analysis or what errors we might have made.  If you do not wish to interface directly with BCI, perhaps you might find some intermediary who would be willing to share your feedback on the below and the attached via email by end of day on Wednesday.

Thank you very much.

–Jim, for Boston Catholic Insider

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jim Franklin <bostoncatholicinsider@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 4:53 PM
Subject: Re: Budget questions
To: jack.mccarthy@neu.edu, jpm@rcab.org, John_Straub@rcab.org
Cc: vicar_general@rcab.org

Gentlemen,

in follow-up of my email of earlier in the week, would you like some additional time in which to respond–perhaps until end of day on Friday, or Monday?  BCI is merely asking for clarification on why the financial statements show the budget is not balanced yet the verbiage accompanying the annual report says the budget is balanced. We are also wondering whether our analysis of budget vs actual spend is accurate for 2011?  Is the analysis, and are the conclusions correct?

The archdiocese says you are delivering financial transparency. We are trying to help you with that! If the archdiocese operated at a loss, why not disclose that so that the best minds available could help to solve that problem?  Jack McCarthy did a lot of work on financial transparency several years ago with the goal of restoring trust.  In the absence of any response from the archdiocese and in the presence of the data reported and our analysis (which anyone can easily do), BCI will find it difficult to not tell our readers that essentially the Boston Archdiocese has lied to the public in the financial report.

In our post, we will communicate that the audited financial results and annual report show Central Ministries operated at a loss of $4.2M, the letter accompanying the report erroneously stated that the budget was balanced when that was known to be untrue, and the actual Central Ministries expenses were higher than the budget plan by about $4.1M.  We will let our readers know that we approached you via email twice and asked for clarification and an explanation, but we received no response. We will also let readers and the press know we notified you in advance we were going to report that the archdiocese deceived the public in the annual report and received no rebuttal or correction from you.

In the absence of any rebuttal or correction by end of day on Friday, BCI assumes that you agree with our assessment of the financial condition of the diocese and the deceptive claim that the budget was balanced–and you have no problem with our publishing this.

To conclude, BCI does not wish to be in a position where we are reporting that the Boston Archdiocese has apparently deceived the public with the annual report and accompanying statement, but the apparent deception begs an explanation and clarification in order to maintain the transparency and trust the diocese says you are seeking.  We look forward to hearing from you.

————————————-
From: Donilon, Terrence <Terrence_Donilon@rcab.org>
Date: Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM
Subject: FW: Budget questions
To: “bostoncatholicinsider@gmail.com” <bostoncatholicinsider@gmail.com>

“Jim” –

We have been down this road before.

We are more than happy to meet with you but only if you agree to come in and meet with us in person.

As you know we are not going to engage anonymous bloggers.

Thanks,

Terry

#   #   #   #

So, there you have it.  The archdiocese has decided that faithful Catholics do not deserve a truthful explanation for the financial status of the archdiocese or a response to questions about what they have reported.

In case anyone got lost by all the numbers, here is the summary:

If you look at page 74 in the pdf of the 2011 Annual Report, you will see the following for Central Operations Total Operating Revenue and Expense:

Yet, despite published operating results which rather clearly show a loss, the report says on p.7, “During fiscal 2011, the goal of a balanced operating budget was once again achieved. The budget was approved in June 2010 as balanced with gross operating revenue and expense of $33.9 million.”

Yes, the budget was “approved as balanced” in June 2010 at 33.9M, but the data in the report says the goal was not actually achieved. If there is other data that shows the budget was really “balanced,” it has not been published.

In response to the email from Terry Donilon, BCI blogs anonymously because the Boston Archdiocese has a well documented pattern of retaliation against those who criticize them. We know the archdiocese has consulted with lawyers and reached out to computer forensics experts to try and identify BCI and stop our efforts, so we are protecting our reputations and livelihoods by blogging under a pseudonym. We hope one day to stop blogging –when the archdiocese simply operates with transparency and integrity–however the archdiocese keeps giving us new material, such as this.

BCI does not see any point in a private meeting with the archdiocese.  If they feel comfortable deceiving 1.8M Catholics in the annual report and the secular media (e.g. Boston Globe and Boston Herald) or withholding important information, why would they feel obliged to tell BCI something more in a private meeting?

Besides withholding contributions to the Catholic Appeal, several readers have suggested we launch a campaign asking people to write and call the U.S. Apostolic Nuncio, who has a reputation for cleaning up fiscal corruption in the Vatican. We are prayerfully considering that option.

In the meantime, for today, you might try calling the office of the Vicar General, Msgr. Deeley at 617-746-5619 or sending him an email at Vicar_General@rcab.org to ask for an explanation. Let us know if you get a response.

Are faithful Catholics, and is BCI, out of line for asking that the Boston Archdiocese simply be honest and transparent in communicating the fiscal condition of the diocese?  What do you think?


Bloated Payroll

February 18, 2012

We got word that the Boston Archdiocese is not going to answer our questions about the deceptive claim of a “balanced budget” in the 2011 Annual Report, and that will be the topic of an upcoming post.  In the meantime, we thought we would take a closer look at the bloated payroll, which contributed to what the Annual Report shows is a $4.2M operating loss for 2011. We also look at the slow pace of action by the new Compensation Committee.

Number of People Earning More than $150K

According to the annual report for the 2011 fiscal year (page 83), the number of people making $150K or more in that fiscal year was 17. If you compare that to the 2006 Annual Report, before outgoing Chancellor Jim McDonough arrived, you will see there were just 3 people in the Chancery paid more than $150K. So the number of people making $150K or more per year has increased by nearly 6X since 2006.

The total compensation paid to people making more than $150K has also increased by a factor of about 6X since 2006. In 2006, those three people paid over $150K per year were paid $553K in salaries.  According to the 2011 Annual Report as well as information from other sources, the 17 people at the Pastoral Center making more than $150K today in aggregate are paid somewhere close to $3.5M a year in salaries. Just to reiterate, that is about 6 times more than was paid in 2006 in $150K+ salaries vs 2006.  

Here are the six-figure salaries that were disclosed, or implicitly disclosed in the 2011 annual report (pages 76-80):

* Note: Kathleen Driscoll is reported at $38,462, but she was on the payroll for only about 2 months in that calendar year, so we extrapolated for 12 months to get $230K.

The names of the 6 other people paid $150K+ were not published in the annual report, but you can just look at the Pastoral Center directory for the high-ranking titles to get a good sense for the likely suspects:

Joseph D’Arrigo, Executive Director, Clergy Benefits
Mary Doorley, Vice President of Development
Carol Gustavson, Executive Director, Lay Benefits and Building Services
Mary Myers, Vice President of Development
Steven McDevitt, Director of IT
John Straub, Executive Director Finance and Operations, Interim Chancellor

Add it all up, and you get pretty close to $3.5M in salaries alone not counting benefits, which add another 15% or so on top of that.  If the archdiocese were to put a salary cap of $150K on all lay executives, that would cut $1M in salary expenses alone in one fell swoop!  But not much is happening to address the bloated salaries, and what is happening appears to be progressing at a glacial pace. It could also end up being just window-dressing.

Long time readers will recall that the Finance Council approved creating a Compensation Committee to look at executive compensation in November of 2010.  That was 15 months ago.  What has actually been accomplished since then?  Not much.  They hired a consultant who is working on a report.  BCI is not making this up. (More on that in a separate post).

At best, the Compensation Committee says they will have a report and recommended salary bands by June of 2012–more than 20 months after the Finance Council created the committee to look into this.  To BCI, it certainly does not seem anyone is in a big rush to act on this.

Even with what is reported, we only know that they “anticipate” the Committee will be in a position to “make recommendations” around the time of the annual performance reviews.  How about, “We are deeply troubled by the wasting of donor funds on excessive salaries and bloated payroll at 66 Brooks Drive, and we absolutely commit we will have reduced all salaries that are out of line by date Y?”

40% of parishes cannot pay their bills. Meanwhile, at the Pastoral Center, the amount and number of $150K+ salaries have grown by more than 6X over the past 5-6 years. They are paying about $3,500,000 in such salaries today vs $5533,000 in 2006–$3.1 million more to people making $150K+ a year. 

Are we really getting our money’s worth from these “best and brightest?”  Why is the Finance Council fiddling while 66 Brooks burns through precious donor funds in excessive salaries?  Does anyone really care about doing something to address this problem?

For the sake of the fiscal health of the Boston Archdiocese and ability of the diocese to continue the saving mission of Jesus Christ, we hope and pray something changes here, and quickly.  What do you think?


How Your Money is Spent

February 15, 2012

We move back to the topic of finances in the Boston Archdiocese today and for the next few posts.  You will see today how administrative expenses have grown as a percent of the total budget over the last 6 years.

Last week, in “Balanced Budget” or Unbalanced Budget?, we raised the question of how the archdiocese managed to publicly claim that the 2011 budget was “balanced” when the financial statements actually show a $4.2M loss.  BCI emailed Jack McCarthy (Finance Council Co-chair), outgoing Chancellor Jim McDonough, and Interim Chancellor John Straub to ask them about this, and while we wait for their response, we thought we would show you how your money is expected to be spent in the 2012 fiscal year currently in process.

To the credit of the archdiocese, the 2012 budget document is quite comprehensive–probably moreso in a published form than any other diocese issues. You can find it here.

Below is a pie chart taken from the document showing where the $27.8M Central Ministries budget is being spent.

As you can see, in the 2012 fiscal year, 36% of the budget ($9.95M out of $27.8M) is consumed by Administrative Services. By means of comparison, in 2010, Administrative Services expenses were 30% of the total budget (see “Easy Come, Easy Go”  from a year ago).  As a further comparison, if you look at the 2005 operating results in the annual report here, you will see that Management and General expenses (equivalent to Administrative Services, as best as we can tell) in 2005 were $10.1M out of total expenses of $37.9M, or 26% of the total.  Click on the graphic on the right to see the numbers from 2005.  Some line items may not be perfectly matched between the annual report and operating budget, but this is the best comparison possible without having access to more detailed information.

Below you will find the detailed breakdown of expenses for 2012.

(You will notice in the footnote that the $2.5-2.6M spent annually on the Office for Child Advocacy and Victim Assistance has been moved off the main Central Ministries operating budget and is now accounted for under Risk Management and self-insurance for Corporation Sole. We are still trying to fully determine the ramifications of that move).

There is much to be said about the overall budget, including spending priorities, fund-raising costs relative to funds raised, and more.

For today, BCI mainly wishes to focus on the apparent growth in administrative expenses in recent years as a percent of the total budget. While Jim McDonough is still wrapping things up in his final weeks as Chancellor, BCI suggests that perhaps the Priest Budget Advisory Committee and Vicar General Msgr. Deeley might take a closer look at why administrative expenses have grown from 26% of the expenses to 36% of expenses over the past 6 years. Perhaps they may not want such a high percentage of donor funds and total budget going to pay administrative overhead expenses including excessive six-figure salaries.  What would it take to cut $1M to $2M in administrative expenses, so that category of spending would be much more in proportion to past levels? Instead of spending so much on administrative overhead and excessive salaries, they may want to think about how some of those limited funds could be better used to support ministry programs, such as evangelization, adult faith formation, college campus ministry, the deaf apostolate, vocations, and other programs that support priests and parishes and help advance the saving mission and ministry of the Catholic Church in Boston.

What do you think?


Serious lapses in “governance, management, accountability and transparency’’

August 11, 2011

Yesterday, the Boston Globe reported that State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump called Tuesday for the appointment of an outside receiver to take control of an embattled public agency. The problem: an audit of the organization found such serious lapses in “governance, management, accountability and transparency’’ that an immediate state takeover is called for.

Can BCI readers identify any other Boston-based organization that has serious lapses in governance, management, accountability and transparency?

As reported earlier in the summer by the Globe, among the problems at the state agency are allegations the former director, John Barranco, paid “himself, a former girlfriend, and a handful of top staff extravagant salaries and bonuses.”

To help pay for the exorbitant salaries, Barranco siphoned tax dollars from the 10 school districts in northern Massachusetts…

Attorney General Martha Coakley, who has jurisdiction over public corruption cases and nonprofit organizations, is reviewing Sullivan’s findings and has the authority to launch a criminal investigation…

“Our office takes allegations of the misappropriation of funds very seriously,’’ said Brad Puffer, Coakley’s spokesman…

The inflated salaries and bonuses paid to Barranco’s former girlfriend, Mary Clisbee, began shortly after she started working for the collaborative, in 1997, Sullivan said.

About a year later, after Barranco moved in with Clisbee, she was promoted to senior associate director of special education and awarded a 21 percent raise, boosting her salary to $100,000.

Annual salary increases and bonuses continued until 2006, when her total compensation topped $300,000, including a $164,000 salary paid by the collaborative and a bonus of nearly $140,000 paid by the center. In 2007, after Clisbee and Barranco ended their relationship, Clisbee left the organization and Barranco replaced her with two individuals whose combined salaries were less than half what Clisbee had been paid, Sullivan said.

It is good to see that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts takes such matters seriously and is concerned enough about ethics, use of public funds and breaches of fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of the state that they are taking serious action to try and address the problem.

In contrast, when confronted with evidence of excessive six figure salaries paid by the Archdiocese of Boston to certain lay executives, after months of public prodding, the solution was that the Finance Council would form a compensation committee. Then it took another 6 months to release a roster of who would be on the committee, and then we found the committee to review excessive compensation of lay executives is being led by a highly compensated multi-millionaire executive. They are also hiring an expensive consultant to help them, and their results will not be released until the 2011 annual report is issued in 2012. In the current economic climate, BCI thinks someone at 66 Brooks Drive needs to relearn how to spell the words  “URGENCY” and “FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY.”

For newer readers, among the excessive Boston Archdiocesan salaries we have reported on in the past are the following:

  • Superintendent of Schools: is paid $320K/year in salary, plus $29K in “other compensation not on W2″, on top of her $75K+ per year state pension. BCI asked other dioceses and found no one else is paying nearly at this level. Boston public schools with 56,000 students pay their superintendent 275,000. Much larger public school systems in Boston, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles that serve as much as 10X to 25X the number of students and where the operational responsibility is greater–they have management responsibility for budgets, hiring/firing, curriculum, transportation, and labor negotiations–pay their top administrators $250K/year. In her last superintendent job running the Milton Public Schools, her annual compensation was $138,000.
  • Chancellor: is a retired multimillionaire banker whose total compensation is over $250K/year and whose 5-year compensation is $1.2M in salary. The former CEO of Abington Bank, he held 244,665 shares or 6.28% of the stock when it was sold to Seacoast for $139.4 million in June of 2004, making his stock at the time worth nearly $9 million. When he took the Chancellor job in 2006, he said he was “very blessed and didn’t need a job.” If he didn’t need a job, why is the cash-poor archdiocese paying him about $2.5 million in total compensation over his two 5-year terms?
  • Communications Secretary. Currently makes $162.5K in W2 salary, plus $30K in other compensation not on the W-2. By means of comparison, the lay communications secretary who preceded him started at about $100K and was making $115K when she left. As another comparison, according to this ”Your Tax Dollars at Work” listing, Gov. Deval Patrick’s former communications director and press secretary, Kyle Sullivan was paid $97,850/year in 2009 to communicate information for the Governor of a state with an estimated population of 6.6 million people and a budget of about $27 billion. The Boston archdiocesan communications secretary reactively communicates information–largely as damage control when negative press is hitting–for an archdiocese of about 300,000 Church-going Catholics and 1.8 million total Catholics with a $34M Central Ministries budget. Regardless of how you do the math, the person in his role should be making no more than $115K.
  • Pension/Medical Plan Trust Administrator: in Boston makes nearly double what other dioceses pay for someone doing this same function
  • Associate Superintendent of Schools: has seen his salary increase 32% in 4 years, from $137K in 2006 to $181K plus $32K in “other compensation” in 2010.

Other examples can be found in our March blog posts, Reducing Salaries and Finance Council Top Ethical Concerns: #4: Compensation–Six Figure Salaries.

As of the 2006 Fiscal Year, the 4 highest paid lay employees (above $137K) were paid a total of about $689K.  If we compare apples and apples in the 2010 Fiscal Year, we find 9 highest paid lay employees whose salaries were disclosed in the 2010 report were paid salaries of almost $1.9M–3X what it was four years ago.  And if we add in just 5 more key employees whose six-figure salaries were not disclosed in the 2010 report–Development/Institutional Advancement Secretary and Vice President, Executive Director of Finance and Operations, Professional Oversight Director, Pension Trust Administrator–we find about 13-14 highest paid lay employees making around  $2.8M in salaries–about 4X what was being paid four years ago. This all has happened in one of the worst recessions most readers can remember.

An archdiocese whose Code of Conduct policy says they want to be “responsible stewards” of the financial resources of the archdiocese and use resources in a way that reflects Catholic social teaching might do well to revisit the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:

“When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need.”

The ongoing economic crisis in the U.S. and the world is severe. A salary cap of even $150K/year on 10 highest employees would save the Boston Archdiocese more than $1 million annually, as described in our post How to Save $2 Million Annually Without Really Trying.

In view of the worsening financial crisis likely to affect donations to parishes and to the Catholic Appeal, and considering the need for greater accountability to the people of God in Boston of how limited donor resources are used, perhaps yet another item on the agenda for the new Vicar General when he arrives in September should be addressing this matter of excessive six-figure salaries at a more urgent pace than is currently happening.  What do you think?


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