Welcome back, post-blizzard, to the latest edition of Boston Catholic Insider. We are now back in town safe and sound and were primarily going to focus on another topic today—namely, the fungible nature of fund-raising from the Archdicoese, but the alarm bells are going off over the latest move by Chancellor Jim McDonough—the hiring of an Executive Director of Finance and Operations, making in the high six-figures, along with yet another organizational change. Anyone thinking about making an end-of-year donation check to the Catholic appeal may want to read further before you break open the checkbook.
First, has anyone else noticed that for the first time in six years, there is no published fund-raising goal for the 2010 Catholic Appeal? Parishes have a number they are each supposed to raise and pastors are hounded by the fund-raising team to meet that goal, but the new Jack Connors/Jim McDonough-conceived archdiocesan fund-raising apparatus as a whole has no published goal? (When the campaign launched earlier this year, they only said they wanted to “match last year’s success.”) Does that mean enthusiasm level, or the numerical goal of $15 million? How are Kathleen Driscoll and her “dream team” of people from the Campaign for Catholic Schools going to be measured and held accountable? What are the consequences for their future employment if they miss? By the way, who knows how far off their target the Campaign for Catholic Schools “2010 initiative”–whose name suggests the campaign ends in 3 days—will fall? When Kathleen Driscoll was announced to head the new development entity, they were $12 million short of their $70 million target. Will the team that will probably fail at hitting that goal also fail to reach the unstated target for the Catholic Appeal?
With the economy still depressed and 40% of parishes in the red, what is the exact amount raised to date in the 2010 Catholic Appeal? How far off are they expected to be and what will happen to make up for the shortfall? We hear there are already tensions between pastors and Ms. Driscoll over the Appeal, so who knows what will happen as the extent of a potential fund-raising shortfall becomes clearer.
People who work for the Pastoral Center know the routine when it comes to pruning from the budget. Shortly after the appeal closes, former banker, Chancellor McDonough, will know how much money he has in the bank, and then the annual expense reduction panic will set in. Meetings with each department head will be scheduled and tracked in a spreadsheet to discuss how they will cut money (expense or heads) from their budgets. Some pastoral ministry or ministries that previously were important will now become less important as they are put on the chopping block, and some long-time loyal employee(s) working for $40-50K will be put on the 2011 layoff list.
This all is a backdrop to the news du jour, namely, that Chancellor Jim McDonough has hired a new Executive Director of Finance and Operations. Here is the email notice.
From:McDonough, James P. [mailto:James_McDonough@rcab.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 8:57 AM
Subject: Welcoming John Straub, Executive Director of Finance and Operations for Central Ministries
Good morning, I am pleased to announce that Mr. John Straub will be joining the Archdiocese of Boston as the Executive Director of Finance and Operations for Central Ministries. John joins the Finance and Administration Secretariat and will report to me. John will start on January 2nd. His office will be located on the fourth floor of the Pastoral Center.
In this position, John will provide Central Ministries with a valuable skill set that will enable stronger internal project management and help improve communication and coordination among our various staffs. John brings to this position a breadth of experience that will be of significant assistance to the Archdiocese as we continue the effort to rebuild and strengthen our local Church for the benefit of our 1.8 million Catholics. A graduate of Catholic University in Washington, D.C., John has served as Chief Financial Officer of the White House during the Administration of President George W. Bush and as Chief Financial Officer of the US House of Representatives. He previously served as an Associate Dean at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The addition of John as Executive Director of Finance and Operations is intended to provide improved management and oversight in these critical areas. It also acknowledges the wide scope of the Administration and Finance Secretariat and provides the necessary management depth to effectively meet the diverse and complex needs of our parishes, schools and ministries.
John will have the following individuals as his direct reports:
· Joe McEnness, Director of Risk Management
· Kevin Kiley, Director of Budget and Planning
· Glen Mattera, Director of Finance
· Jim DiFrancesco, Director of Human Resources
· Director of IT (search underway)
I will continue to have Carol Gustavson, Pension/Medical Plan Trust Administrator, as a direct report.
In addition to her role as Trust Administrator, Carol will continue to coordinate Building Operations and the central telephone operations as well as the building floor plan.
Denise McKinnon-Biernat, Director of Parish Services, will be a new direct report to me.Denise plays a critical role with the Improved Financial Relationship Model and plays a major support role in Pastoral Planning. Deb Dillon, Director of Real Estate, will report to Denise.
The Cardinal, Fr. Erikson and I are keenly aware of the need to do more with less. We recognize that everyone has taken on more and we are gratified by your tremendous work ethic and devotion to serving Christ and the Church. As Chancellor, I have endeavored to lead by reducing the most staff so that other ministries would be spared. Since I arrived at the Archdiocese, the staff headcount of my Secretariat has been reduced by 23%, declining from 91 to 70 persons. Throughout this time we have directed available resources to serve our parishes. John’s position, and the experience and love for Christ and the Catholic Faith he brings to us, is intended to continue to build on that goal as a commitment to our culture of support to parishes, schools and ministries.
James P. McDonough
Archdiocese of Boston
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184
We have so much to say about this, it has taken a little longer to put together all of our thoughts. Here are a few initial reactions.
- Another big salary. Did this one run through the new anonymous “Compensation Committee”? Is Jack McCarthy, the vice chair of the Finance Council, paying attention to all this? And is the Finance Council approving all this?
- What does this say about the ability of Chancellor McDonough and/or his direct reports (making six-figure salaries) to get the job done for the $1+M they all are already being paid collectively? Who exactly has now been determined to be incompetent and thus will be shown the door some time soon? The Chancellor? one of his previous deputies? The Archdiocese is shrinking every year, not growing, so why is it the Chancellor cannot keep up with his duties? Is he busy engaged in activities not on his job description? (wherever that job description may be…) At one point, Kevin Kiley was supposed to be the Chancellor’s #2 person, but that did not work out. Then Carol Gustavson was to be the #2, but she had the minor complicating factor of not being able to get along well with people. (Not a personal attack–objectively true). Now we have this new person. Is the new person being positioned to become the next Chancellor, should the current chancellor, hypothetically speaking, find his term not renewed or leave voluntarily?
- What exactly are the job descriptions, goals/success metrics, accountabilities, and competencies needed for the positions that Kevin Kiley and Carol Gustavson hold today? Are they maintaining their jobs because they are highly competent and capable of doing these jobs, or because the Chancellor sees them as loyal to his agenda?
- Who has decided to pay Carol Gustavson $150K to manage benefits, the building floorplan and the phone system, or even keep her–a trained, non-practicing attorney–in a job in view of the reduction in responsibilities? She is no longer listed as head of HR in the memo, so has her pay been reduced? How many minutes a month could managing the building floorplan for a continually shrinking Pastoral Center staff possibly take? Does everyone not already have a cube, or are they planning a New Years game of musical chairs along with the reorg? Or might the Chancellor, hypothetically, simply want or need to have a loyalist continue to control who gets cubes vs offices, and the size of offices for those who get them? Regarding the telephone system, did they not get rid of the phone operator, as it is mostly automated now? By the way, is Carol managing the mailroom delivery as well? That should add lots of extra burden on her schedule–what, with a relatively new person on-board who replaced the long-term loyal mail-room guy with decades of service who was laid off because they did not realize he was really needed, then never rehired, and replaced by a newcomer?
- Does no one see that $150K/year for the proudly ex-Catholic Gustavson as excessive spending for that role? Has anyone compared that compensation to other dioceses? (We have, and the information we got back said it objectively excessive). She cannot even publish a list of trustees for her Benefits Trust. Can that same job not be done for around $75K/year instead? By the way, were there not people previously in HR at the RCAB skilled with benefits doing basically this same job for much less pay who are now gone?
- Was this an open search? How many candidates were interviewed? Why is it that the announcement mentions nothing of Mr. Straub’s most recent job stint for 4 years in a largely non-relevant role as VP for Kane is Able, a small Scranton, PA-based family-run third-party logistics provider that helps consumer packaged goods companies warehouse and distribute goods? How is it that, coincidentally, that the new person just happened to have previously been at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where Fr. Bryan Hehir earns his own six-figure salary and cushy future pension that will afford him freedom from any of the retirement-related worries that other less well-connected diocesan priests have to worry about?
- The comment that “As Chancellor, I have endeavored to lead by reducing the most staff so that other ministries would be spared” needs to be explained more completely. How many lower-level staff were laid-off and replaced by much more expensive staff?” How much has he spent on consultants? How much has been spent on the ill-conceived Lawson Software project? The comment “Throughout this time we have directed available resources to serve our parishes,” is also deceptive. We will go into this more separately.
- Where is the publicly posted copy of the 2010-2011 operating budget, as part of the financial transparency and improved financial relationship model? The 2010 budget is posted, but here we are half-way through the fiscal year, and no sign of the 2010-2011 budget. Why is it so difficult for the Chancellor or someone on his $1.1M staff to post the budget? Exactly how far through the year are you going to tell pastors who are asked to break their backs raising money for the Appeal how you are spending that money?
Apologies for any excessive emotion that comes through in this post. We are livid and believe every pastor, priest and lay person in the archdiocese should be as well.
We have been told, and we concur, that there are 3 things that drive some action by this archdiocese–lawsuits (or threat of them), bad publicity (or threat of it), and money.
It is clear that the current leadership does not get it, and they need a wake-up call from both the clergy and laity. Something radically different needs happen quickly with governance in the archdiocese. We have a few ideas, but will save those for a next post.