Our Cronyism series (see Part I, II, and III) continues today as we get into what we believe is the homestretch on this topic—at least for the time being. We have gotten a lot of messages about this topic, both in new hiring and in shuffling people around internally, and will probably come back to it. Today we cover another unlikely hire, a little nepotism, and an example of internal shuffling.
Today’s unlikely hire does not have an office in Braintree, but rather has one in Boston. Edward Saunders, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, holds another of those six-figure jobs that does not appear in the archdiocesan annual report. Saunders was hired in 2005 by a search committee headed by Fr. Bryan Hehir. Nobody had ever heard of Saunders before he was hired, and people familiar with the search inform us his name appeared from out of nowhere near the end of the process while qualified candidates tell us they were unable to get an interview. When his hiring was announced in mid-July of 2005, it was sufficiently controversial that the announcement article in The Pilot mentioned objections as well as a statement by Terry Donilon defending Saunders as being a strong candidate for the position. The highly experienced associate director for public policy at MCC and interim MCC director, Maria P, did apply for the job, but was rejected and took “early retirement.” Saunders previously worked as SVP and legislative counsel (meaning ‘lobbyist’) for the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island Credit Union Leagues, so it might be that banking industry experience was an important prerequisite to hiring by the archdiocese even as early as 2005, before the Abington Bank crew arrived. Or perhaps his being a Boston College alumnus (1971) got him an “in.” We would like to hear from anyone who knows who Ed knew. Regardness, his name has rarely been seen or heard in communications to rank-and-file Catholics since 2005, and most of the time when his name is published or appears on legislative testimony, it is because it has been added to a statement or testimony that was actually prepared by loyal assoc director of policy and research, Dan A.
In the nepotism department, we return to Braintree. In the spring of 2007, Chancellor Jim McDonough (through HR exec director Mrs. Carol G) announced that there would be zero nepotism at chancery. No more children, siblings or spouses would be newly hired. Within six months, Mrs. G hired Kristen M, (who happened to be the Chancellor’s daughter) to work in the Finance Department. Ms. M, a recent college graduate, had not found a job after graduating from Marist College. She was not at the archdiocese long—just long enough for her to coincidentally get hired as assistant media planner by Hill Holiday, the advertising firm founded and formerly chaired by Jack Connors Jr. In July, 2008, Mrs. G hired McDonough’s son, Brian M, to work at the front desk of the new building in Braintree for the summer. By then of course, the daughter had left.
Speaking of Mrs. Carol G, in the area of internal shuffling of employees, we are told that she is no longer heading HR, and has been moved over to the area of benefits, as in pension and/or health insurance benefits. We’re told that there are some accounting rules that somehow allow the archdiocese to pay her salary from interest on one of the funds (either interest from the health insurance “endowment” or from a pension fund). So her salary is “off the books” in the main Braintree operating budget, and there is a search now underway for a new director of HR. We invite clarification and additional information from the archdiocese regarding Carol G’s current salary and how much of her salary comes from these funds. By the way, how many people are working under the function of “Benefits” these days?
Next up, stay tuned for a very funny short video clip of a candidate interviewing with the HR department for a job in the Pastoral Center.