Here at Boston Catholic Insider, we never thought we would find ourselves comparing political figures like Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick or New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley. But, the situation we mentioned in our last post–about how Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is moving to lower excessive salaries for a number of government officials while Cardinal O’Malley does nothing about the same problem in the Pastoral Center–made us begin to reconsider.
Then, when “Carolyn” brought up in a comment how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now proposing to cap school superintendent salaries at $175,000 to save money, we felt it was appropriate to finally go there.
If Gov. Deval Patrick is cutting excessive state salaries to save money, and NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo–in what the New York Times called, “his boldest attack yet on…wasteful spending by school districts” is planning to cap school superintendent salaries in the largest school districts at $175,000/year–one cannot help but make the comparison. The bill could save the state of New York $15 million a year. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had previously announced he is aiming for a similar cap.
We hate to use this term, but two governors generally considered “liberal” on fiscal and social issues are taking actions on the matter of fiscal management and spending that make them look rather “conservative” compared to Cardinal O’Malley on fiscal management. Or expressed differently, these governors are making it an important priority to address the problem of excessive salaries and wasteful spending in the states where they are the leaders.
And objectively, Cardinal O’Malley is not making this a priority.
No public statements. No actions. Nothing. Cutting wasteful spending of limited donor funds is not a priority for the Archbishop of Boston. Nor is it a priority for the Finance Council and Jack McCarthy, the vice-chair of the Finance Council. They modified their charter November 4 to create a corporate board-of-directors-type “Compensation Committee,” and four months later, cannot even list names of people on the committee, let alone any progress.
Yet this weekend, the annual, “The Archdiocese needs your money” campaign starts up again. Here is a quote from Cardinal O’Malley in the 2011 Appeal brochure:
“Everything we are and all that we have belongs to our loving God. Our support for our church is part of being a faithful disciple of Jesus and good steward of our possessions. We are all so grateful for all the sacrifices our Catholic people make to support the mission Christ has entrusted to us.”
This essentially says that our supporting our church–“our” apparently means donors in the pews–is part of following Jesus Christ and being a good steward of our possessions–once again, “our” apparently meaning donors. So, the people giving the “widow’s mite” or anyone asked to give by opening their checkbook are supposed to be good stewards of our own possessions, while the archdiocese has no obligation to be good stewards for our donations?
And the archdiocese appreciates the sacrifices the faithful make to support the mission Christ has entrusted to us, but the archdiocese apparently does not care about prudent management of the donor contributions entrusted to the archdiocese.
If they cared about prudent management of donor contributions, why have they paid $1.2M to a multi-millionaire Chancellor for the past 5 years who said when hired he actually “didn’t need a job”? Why have they paid $1 million over 3 years to the schools superintendent with no precedent for a comparable salary in any other archdiocese in the country, and much lower comparables in other larger major metropolitan public schools? And while Catholic school enrollment drops every year, why did they need to hire 3 new regional superintendents in December? Do we really need “existing archdiocesan school officials” who are paid $185K/year on up to $325K/year to focus on “other administrative tasks” back at 66 Brooks Drive, or should they be instead be making salaries comparable to their peers in other dioceses–and actually be out there in the trenches working with principals and teachers who make orders of magnitude less money helping them figure out how to teach the Catholic faith on shoestring budgets?
Political and social views notwithstanding, at least on this one matter of wasteful spending on excessive salaries, Gov. Patrick and Gov. Cuomo cannot be accused of shirking their responsibility to govern.
Can the same be said of the Archbishop of Boston on this same issue when it comes to his responsibility to govern?
ps. This Sunday, March 6, Cardinal Sean will be at St. Brigid in Framingham to celebrate the 12 noon Mass and launch the Annual Appeal.