Superintendent’s Salary Explained: Part 2

We had some WordPress technical issues with display of our most recent post, so before reading today, be sure to check out our previous post, Schools Superintendent Salary Explained: Part 1.

In our last post, we shared the response to an Ethicpoint whistleblower complaint about the $325K/year compensation of Mary Grassa O’Neill.  The person who filed the report got a response back via Ethicspoint saying i) the Cardinal was within his authority to appoint her and pay commensurate with her experience in order to lure her from Harvard to the Archdiocese, and ii) A Compensation Committee was forming and planned to hire a consultant to help them sort through the situation and issue a report with the next fiscal year annual report a year from now.

The comments from readers were so insightful that you really need to read them all.  We will re-post selected ones separately, but for today we bring you Part 2 of the saga–the follow-up report submitted by the person who filed the first one and was “livid” over the indifferent response.



Issue Type

Donor Stewardship

Please identify the person(s) engaged in this behavior:

Jim McDonough –  Chancellor
Cardinal O’Malley – Archbishop
George Massaro – Chair, Audit Committee

Do you suspect or know that a supervisor or management is involved?


If yes, then who?

Cardinal O’Malley
Finance Council, including Audit Commitee

Is management aware of this problem?

What is the general nature of this matter?
irresponsible  stewardship of the resources of the archdiocese

Where did this incident or violation occur?
the incident started in 2008, but I also wish to report the apparent corruption of the Ethicspoint  process, which occurred with my report filed 3/27/2011


I previously submitted a report complaining about the excessive compensation for Mary Grassa O’Neill. I gave evidence of how her compensation of $325k/year is well in excess of what is paid to other public school superintendents (e.g. $50-75K more than Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago). It is also at least $100K-$150k more than any other Catholic archdiocese pays for a comparable role.

Because Mary Grassa O’Neill is paid so far in excess of what other Catholic archdioceses pay for this role and public school systems pay for someone of her  qualification level, this objectively constitutes a violation of the Code of Conduct which says:

“Church Personnel will be responsible stewards of the resources, human and financial, of the Archdiocese and any Archdiocesan Affiliated Organization with  which they are associated, observing both canon and civil law, and making decisions concerning the disposition of resources that reflect Catholic social teaching.”

Your explanation and justification for her salary suggests very strongly that the Ethicspoint process in the Archdiocese of Boston is already corrupted.

The compensation package offered to Ms. O’Neill is NOT commensurate with her experience if she were employed by a major metropolitan public school system or Catholic archdiocese.

It IS in violation of the Archdiocesan policy concerning responsible stewardship of resources.

For the Compensation Commitee to now spend money engaging a private consulting firm to help assess compensation levels is in violation of the policy regarding responsible stewardship of resources. Why can’t Jim M or Carol G in HR just call 5 other dioceses and ask what they are paying for these roles, and what kinds of background the executives have?

I am most disappointed in your response. It suggests this new Ethicspoint whistleblower process is already rigged and corrupt.


4/20/2011 3:07 PM – Thank you for filling your report. We take all concerns seriously and have completed a review of this issue. Unfortunately we are unable tgo  inform you of the specifics of our investigation; however, please know that your issue has been addressed.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BCI is almost speechless about what happened.  First the archdiocese responded dismissing the concern, but saying a Compensation Committee was being formed and would hire a consultant who would issue a report. (That means the 2011 annual report that would be issued a year from now).  Then the complaintant was sufficiently upset that they filed a second report reiterating that the excessive salary violates the Archdiocesan policy concerning responsible stewardship of resources and complaining that the anti-corruption whistleblower process was itself corrupt.  That resulted in a response back that said the “issue has been addressed.”

Only problem is that the complaintant tells BCI they still do not know which “issue has been addressed?” Is it Mary Grassa O’Neill’s salary and how her compensation is in conflict with responsible stewardship of resources?  Is it the spending of money on a consultant to solve the problem they should be able to solve themselves as responsible managers and stewards of resources?  Is it the corruption in the anti-corruption whistleblower process?

Beyond the question “Is Archdiocesean Anti-Corruption Effort Corrupted and Conflicted?” BCI raised last week and which this complaintant also raised, the whole approach taken with compensation in the past and going forward seems like it needs an overhaul.  As a starting point, every member of the Compensation Committee should read this common sense comment on our last post from Deacon A.J. Constantino.

If someone on the Archdicoesan Cabinet, the Compensation Committee or the Finance Council wants to do the right thing, could you send smoke signals, drop us an email, or otherwise indicate you get the message?  We are just trying to help here by airing these concerns from faithful Catholics, but it seems like no one gets it at 66 Brooks Drive.


Anyone there?

Hello?  Hello?

7 Responses to Superintendent’s Salary Explained: Part 2

  1. Former Employee says:

    Does anyone know if O’Malley has a picture of Niccolo Machiavelli on his desk?

  2. Church Mouse says:

    Seems like the Ethicspoint responses confirm what is pretty apparent that those in charge in the RCAB (and its pretty clear that our Cardinal is not in charge for whatever reason) don’t care about sacred trust, service, stewardship, honesty.
    Ethicspoint is another vehicle for those in power in the RCAB, the connected to appear responsive to those who are not members of the club, to keep them at bay while they continue on the same course.
    Commentators have referred to strong pastors, who must speak out. While all the burden shouldn’t fall on priests, can one think of a strong priest who has publically called “the Corporation without a sole to task”? It is well known why this won’t happen. Simply recall the response to the priests who spoke out publically and called for the resignation of Cardinal Law.
    Maybe some parishioners are becoming more aware of the grasp that a select few have on RCAB’s operation and the excessive amount of their remuneration. It does seem that the Cardinal’s Appeal is at a lower point in a number of parishes.

  3. Michael says:

    Congratulations to BCI and to the people filing these ethicspoint complaints. This obviously all takes a lot of time and effort and obviously a large group of people at BCI working for the best interests of the Church.

    All of what you have exposed is shameful and sinful.

    As a parent of children in Catholic schools I wish I could stop patronizing these schools but the public school is not an option and homeschooling right now is no option for my family.

    Our society is crumbling and evidence of it is that our Catholic institutions are collapsing as well. We have infiltrators who have taken over. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Anyone who is inside the Archdiocese and is failing to do something, aggressively doing something to help BCI out is derelict in their Catholic responsibility to assist the Church in her mission.

    I know of at least one person who is in a position to do something about all of this. He is a friend of mine and he considers himself a “good Catholic.” And so did I up until I realized that his acquiescence in these issues … not saying anything … not risking his career … is not just part of the problem, ultimately, it is THE problem. If you are currently an employee of the Archdiocese of Boston and you are witnessing this corruption first hand and you are doing nothing about it, you will hav a lot to answer to God about.

    It is time to risk your careers. It is time to stand up. If you are a “good Catholic,” then let’s see some real action. Help BCI save the Archdiocese. It means exposing yourself and yes … risking your own career. But it is, in my opinion, what God is calling you to do. This is your test. BCI has passed. Indeed BCI gets an A for the last several semesters. How about you? What have you done to expose this corruption.

    Mary Grassa O’Neill, I challenge you to a debate. You and me in a public setting where you justify your salary. The invited audience to be all principles of the Catholic schools and school teachers.

    Please forward this challenge to Mary Grass O’Neill. Let’s see how much of a leader she really is.

  4. QC Guy says:

    Hello Mary, back from FL yet ??
    I agree with all of the ocmments I just reveiwed. Thisis the most egregious example of managerial problems at the “Corp. Sole”

  5. I took the risk.... says:

    I risked my career. I worked in a so-called Catholic school in the RCAB. It is a risk and in Boston, it costs you your career. It’s a tough call when unemployment is so high and you need to pay the bills. My bills are in a pile on the table and I’m not so sure the risk was worth it. It didn’t make a difference and they just got rid of the Catholic instead of making the changes they should have.

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