cronyism [kroh-nee-iz-uh m]
noun the practice of favoring one’s close friends, esp. in political appointments.
You should note that we the blog writers cannot verify every comment posted by a reader—some are accurate, some are not necessarily—but the comment posted on July 22 by “concerned” in response to Conflits of Interest: Part II is consistent with what we have observed and what many other people have told us. “Concerned” wrote: “ There were a lot of long-term and loyal employees that were forced out. It’s interesting that the place has actually gotten worse with all of the McDonough clones now there. Somewhere, there should be a balance between Christianity and good business practices. Right now neither Christianity nor good business practice exists.”
Thus, we continue our reporting about conflicts of interest with a small but important example. When the Cardinal’s office was purged of all the experienced staff except one, the HR director, Ms. G. contacted an outside search firm to fill the position of executive secretary (administrative assistant) to the Cardinal. After a worldwide search, they ended up hiring the former head teller from the Abington Bank, Ms. H. We are told that she literally did not know how to spell “Monsignor.” You can see her background easily yourself. Just check out the Pastoral Center directory here and look for the person who is Office Manager in the Cardinal’s Office. Now look here, or here to see who held the branch manager for Sovereign Bank (which acquired Abington Bank) here.
A lot of sensitive information passes through the Cardinal’s office. Most priests, pastoral center employees, and laity would no doubt like to know that whomever is immediately serving the Cardinal have some history in the Church and knowledge of the Church, has primary loyalty and trustworthiness to the Cardinal rather than another cabinet member, and came into the role solely on their merits. In this case, what we know is that the Chancellor came into his role via a conflict of interest with influence from a former board member of his bank on the search committee who is also friends with Jack Connors, and then the new office manager for the Cardinal’s office came into her role via prior working relationship with Chancellor at the bank he was running. We often hear that people write personal and confidential letters to the Cardinal and do not get any response. A reasonable person might ask whether this has something to do with it.