Apologies for the delays with our latest episode in the series on Boston archdiocesan deception, mismanagement, and corruption. This started out as a short post, but just kept growing to the point where we have sub-divided it and will run more next time. As you know, we started with “Systemic Corruption,” then have moved to the “Top 10 Ways the Finance Council is Conflicted, Self-Contradicted, or Perhaps Even Corrupted.” Click the following links to read #1: Consultation on Performance or Removal of the Chancellor, and #2 Term of Service, and #3 Conflicts of Interest. Today we continue with:
#4 Compensation–Six Figure Salaries
Key takeaway for today is that the Boston Archdiocese is paying 6-figure salaries to a lot more people than ever before–and although the Finance Council has in its charter the responsibility for consulting and overseeing this area, it is not at all clear what good their judgment, advice, and oversight have accomplished here in recent years. Nor is it clear how the apparent belief and practice of paying comparable or better pay than private-sector jobs is helping advance the mission of the Catholic Church in Boston. Beyond that, it is also questionable how the newly created Compensation Committee will help fix the problem vs merely provide air-cover to justify the existing practices, or potentially make things worse. But we will save some of this for tomorrow.
Article III, Responsibilities, Section F: To oversee and provide consulting for employee compensation and benefits policies, including retirement programs.
1) The amount of money paid out in six-figure salaries is increasing at a dramatic rate annually, and given that the Finance Council has had oversight for this area for years and has allowed this to continue, it would appear that the proverbial fox is guarding the chicken-coop. Here is the trend from 2006 to 2010.
Before the 2006 Fiscal Year, the 4 highest paid lay employees were paid a total of about $689,000:
- Dir. of Institutional Advancement (Ken Hokenson): $ 217,089
- Chancellor & Secretary for Finance (David W. Smith) : $ 175,857
- Secretary for Communications (Terry Donilon): $160,000
- Dir. of Parish and School Services (James Walsh): $137,523
- Secretary for Education (Mary Grassa O’Neill): $325,000
- General Counsel (Beirne Lovely): $300,000
- Chancellor and Secretary for Finance (James McDonough): $250,000
- Secretary for Institutional Advancement (Kathleen Driscoll): salary not disclosed, but estimated at $250,000-$300,000
- Catholic Media Secretary (Scot Landry): $250,000
- Assoc Superintendent of Schools (James Walsh): $185,270
- Secretary for Communications (Terry Donilon): $166,304
- Secretary for Faith Formation and Evangelization (Janet Benestad): $150,000
Add to that the approximately $830K paid to six members of Chancellor McDonough’ s staff who earn $110K+ and we get to about $2.7M in salaries paid to 14 people. And we are missing a few people still.
Even if we were to adjust this total for the salaries of the general counsel (because it is claimed that the in-house counsel helps save some of what was paid to former outsourced counsel, Wilson Rogers) and for the Catholic media secretary (because they are on a separate P&L from Corporation Sole and have to self-fund), we cannot avoid the reality that the archdiocese pays millions of dollars more today to their most senior people vs what they paid just 4 years ago to do basically the same job functions. (Update: our readers and other sources tell us we should not even allow that the in-house counsel is saving any money).
If the mission of the Catholic Church in Boston has not changed much in the past 4 years and the job market has been in the toilet bowl during the worst recession in decades–meaning that most people work for the same or less salary so they can keep a job-why exactly is it costing us 3X more in six-figure salaried staff to accomplish this mission than it was before? Are these salaries all comparable to those paid for similar roles in other dioceses? Since this has happened with the approval of the Finance Council, a reasonable person might ask, who exactly on the Finance Council and in the Archdiocese has been providing the oversight, consulting, and approval? And what will change going forward if those people are still involved?
Stay tuned tomorrow for more in our next exciting episode of “Top 10 Ways the Finance Council is Conflicted, Self-Contradicted, or Perhaps Even Corrupted.”