If you did not get to read our last post, “Responses to Injustice? Inconsistency?” we invite you to read it. Today we begin a series of posts that focus on grave conflicts of interest, and illicit, perhaps corrupt behavior in the Pastoral Center/Chancery which affects everyone in the Archdiocese—pastors, priests, laity, donors, and Pastoral Center employees. We have been asked to cover this for weeks and start today with the Archdiocese’s relationship with Ann Carter of public relations firm Rasky Baerlein. Today you will learn about ethical conflicts in the hiring of Cabinet Secretaries Terry Donilon and Jim McDonough. Next post we will cover financial irregularities and more about the conflicts.
Ann Carter (also known by her married name as Ann Jameson) is CEO of PR firm Rasky Baerlein, the long-time communications firm used by the Archdiocese. Many people have seen her name appear in public statements from the Archdiocese. She also is a close friend of Jack Connors, Jr.
Ms. Carter was on the search committee in early 2005 that selected Communications Secretary, Terry Donilon–the position that would determine when she was retained, how often and for how many hours she was retained, and what she and her firm would be paid. She was quoted in the Boston Globe on April 15, 2005 in their announcement of Donilon’s appointment saying, “Terry Donilon is an experienced communicator who loves the church.” The person quoted in such announcements is usually the person who led the search. People inside the archdiocese familiar with Terry’s work indicate that he is spelling-challenged and writing-challenged. We are told that resumes of far superior candidates interested in the job never made it to the full search committee.
Ann, the PR vendor for the Archdiocese, was also on the search committee that selected Jim McDonough as Chancellor in 2006. Jim was former President and CEO of Abington Bank, where Ann had served on the Board of Directors and also as Chair of the Audit Committee. According to the bank’s Annual Report, Ann served in these roles while Jim was running the bank. She would have made a substantial sum of money when the bank was subsequently sold, but that is a topic for a future post. The Chancellor search committee was led by banker, Neal Finnegan, and included banker Giles Mosher, HP Hood head John Kaneb, Fr. Art Coyle, philanthropist Joanne McGrath, and venture capitalist Jo Tango. We are told that Finnegan chaired the committee mostly in name only and followed Carter’s lead to select the former CEO of the company where Ann had served as a vendor (in a PR capacity) and financial stakeholder in a Board capacity. The chancellor approves the budgets and expenditures for every department, including Communications.
In the case of both search committees (Communications and Chancellor), the Archdiocese was warned by archdiocesan staff members against the absolutely unethical conflict of interest of having a vendor/contractor (Carter) on the search committees to hire those who would determine whether her firm was engaged and how much her firm was paid, but those concerns were overruled. We are investigating how those concerns came to be overruled (and by whom) and we welcome your anonymous comments and emails on that area. Clergy, laity, and employees may all wish to ask how this conflict of interest serves the good of the Church fiscally.
In our next post we will also discuss how the separate billings from Rasky to multiple entities across the Archdiocese corporation sole have been orchestrated so the high aggregate fees paid to Rasky are hidden from financial disclosure documents and “top vendor expense” listing by the Archdiocese.