Kickham Cousin Collects Chancery Paycheck

Our discussion today is a mix of a little bit cronyism, a little bit nepotism, and a little bit just plain looks bad.

Before we get into the main topic, BCI knows that they call 66 Brooks Drive the “Pastoral Center,” not the “Chancery,” but since people have observed to us that 66 Brooks is often not “pastoral” and its location is not exactly central–and we all know it is run by the current “Chancellor”–BCI decided to call it the “Chancery” for the subject line of our post today.

Most people are aware that Fr. Robert Kickham is one of two priest-secretaries to Cardinal O’Malley, and he plays an important behind-the-scenes role as gatekeeper to the Cardinal. That means he controls a) Information that either makes it to the Cardinal for his review and action or does not make it to the Cardinal, and b) Access to the Cardinal, meaning some people can get time with him and some people cannot get time with him.

Fr. Kickham has a very tough job. Many people respect Fr. Kickham, or at least they say they liked him in years past–before 2004 when the members of the current regime began their takeover of the archdiocese.  As the key gatekeeper, Fr. Kickham is somewhat like a “chief of staff” to the Cardinal. From the vantage-point of BCI and many others inside and outside of 66 Brooks Drive, it has appeared in recent years that Fr. Kickham has tended to grant people like Chancellor Jim McDonough, Fr. Bryan Hehir, Jack Connors, Terry Donilon and others relatively free and ready access to the Cardinal, thus enabling them to wield considerable influence and power, while at the same time it has been difficult for others, including many priests, to get any time with the Cardinal.

Anyway, suffice to say that with all BCI has written about cronyism and nepotism over the past year, and with all of controversy over sham searches, one would think that the archdiocese would finally come around and find a way of letting people who are qualified for open jobs actually apply for them and get the jobs, and avoiding any appearance that friends and family always have the inside track for open positions.  Not necessarily, it seems.

Not long ago, an opening came up for a Parish Services Consultant in Jim McDonough’s organization, reporting into Denise McKinnon-Biernat.  (BCI previously wrote why there was an opening, but that is not germane to this story so we removed that sentence).  Here is the job description posted online for the job:

Parish Service Consultant – Parish Financial Services

The Parish Service Consultant is a multifunctional specialist role that Parish Financial Services Parish Financial Consultantreports directly to the Director of Parish Financial Services and serves as a liaison between the Archdiocese, its Parishes, the Regional Vicars and Bishops. The Parish Service Consultant provides financial analysis communication, support and implementation of Archdiocesan policies to assist parishes. Specific responsibilities include analysis, training and support to parishes in the areas of financial management, planning, budget review, real estate, insurance, facilities, computer and personnel management. Responsibilities also include consultation among Parish Services, Regional Services and other related Archdiocesan departments and agencies, as necessary. The successful candidate will have a Bachelor Degree in Accounting, Finance, or Business Administration and minimum 7 years demonstrated work experience in accounting, finance and/or management; familiarity with real estate and/or risk management issues is a plus.

A lot of people out there looking for jobs have accounting or business degrees and work experience in accounting.  A lot of people have been laid off or pushed into early retirement from the archdiocese. A lot of parish employees are well-quallified for this job. So, of all the people they could have hired for the job, by coincidence, the person hired was Christoper Kickham, cousin of Fr. Robert Kickham.

Christopher has a profile on Linkedin: one of these social media networking sites.  Here is a summary of his background profile:

“Coordinated retail and institutional trading in 5000 foreign publicly traded equities in 42 countries and 18 currencies. Managed numerous client to dealer relationships, achieving superior pricing and liquidity, for one billion equity shares annually. Developed new relationships between US dealers and Fidelity Capital Markets, generating revenues in excess of six figures.”

According to Linkedin, he has been an equity trader since 1992 and has an economics degree from U Mass Amherst (not accounting, finance, or business administration as specified in the job description). BCI understands the work as an equity trader is the same sort of job that his cousin, Fr. Kickham, worked at prior to becoming a priest.

How buying and selling stocks and flagging trades for nearly 20 years prepares someone for helping parishes with their accounting using Quickbooks is not immediately apparent to BCI, but we must be missing something.

The hiring of Chris Kickham is not a secret–it was announced at a Pastoral Center staff meeting. BCI does not know how many people applied for the job through the front door and were rejected.  The position is not of the level that would call for a “nationwide search,” and there was not a “search committee” for this job like there was for the Secretary of Institutional Advancement job, slotted for Jack Connors’ crony, Kathleen Driscoll, even before the search committee convened.

The advertised job assists Denise McKinnon-Biernat on many levels. The people who have held the role have been well-liked by pastors because of their competency and customer service mindset.  BCI hopes the same holds for Mr. Kickham.

Perhaps few people applied for the job and Mr. Kickham submitted a resume and cover letter to HR through the front door and was the leading candidate of many choices. But, that seems like an unlikely scenario given the number of people with strong backgrounds who keep telling BCI they have applied for jobs and never even get an interview.

Regardless of Mr. Kickham’s competency for the job and service mindset, since the background and experience listed on his public resume do not match the job description, the hiring of Fr. Kickham’s cousin gives the appearance of cronyism or nepotism. It could also give rise to the perception that maybe Fr. Kickham asked Chancellor Jim Mcdonough to help take care of his cousin, which presented an opportunity for Chancellor McDonough to return some of the many favors Fr. Kickham has done for the Chancellor. After all, does anyone believe it is a total coincidence that the daughter of Chancellor McDonough just happened to land a job as an assistant media planner at Jack Connor’s former advertising firm, Hill Holiday, without Daddy asking Jack for help?

BCI wonders why the archdiocese keeps doing this. As we reported a year ago in Cronyism IV, Nepotism I, in spring of 2007, the Chancellor propagated a no nepotism hiring policy–albeit which applied to spouses, children and siblings–but even that policy somehow exempted the Chancellor and his family, since not long after it was issued, the archdiocese hired his daughter as a new college graduate, and subsequently his son for a summer job.

The hiring of children or other family members like this ends up advancing the perception of a culture of cronyism in Braintree where one hand washes the other. BCI is of the opinion that it would benefit the archdiocese to address this situation. Yet another item for the new Vicar General to put on his list?  What do you think?

32 Responses to Kickham Cousin Collects Chancery Paycheck

  1. lost in boston says:

    Just keep dropping money in the basket, folks.

  2. Hmmm says:

    Is anybody really surprised by this?

  3. DHO says:

    I’m still hoping to hear more about the Compensation Committee outcome report! Am I hearing hell freeze over?

  4. A. J. Constantino says:

    I cannot comment on Christopher Kickham, I have not seen his resume!

    I can comment on Father Kickham! Both before and after my Ordination, I have brought several issues to Father Kickham, I have always had my say and always been treated with great respectm For the record, my Emails have been answered and phone calls returned!

    I will assure you all, I am just an ordinary guy!There is NO reason to respond to me- but the time has always been taken to do so!

    Father Kickham has a tough 24/7 job, I am sure is thankless.

    • Jack O'Malley' says:

      I can comment on Christopher Kickham! And I have not seen his resume! But I know he is where he is because of who he is! If he weren’t a Kickham they’d kick ‘im!

      I am just an ordinary guy! For the record, my emails have not been answered! Of course, I am not ordained!

      What kind of gullible sheep allow themselves to be continually fleeced like this???

      Don’t trust them with your money!!! Don’t trust them with your kids!!! Don’t trust them with your soul!!!

      • Hmmm says:

        Typical Jack, throw out the baby with the bath water, how about you join in the mission and try to improve things from within…you don’t leave the one true Church of Jesus Christ for the failings of a few, even if those failings are legion. The Church is made up of sinners, it is a hospital not a museum.

  5. Lazarus' Table says:

    Hey, it’s all about connections. You know, like the old : “The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone…”

    But this is: “The tail bone’s connected to…”

  6. David S. says:

    None of us really know Chris Kickham’s qualifications beyond what is posted on Linked In. I have my professional profile posted on Linked In as well and as far as I am concerned it only scratches the surface of my background as it relates to my particular field.

    Personally I am more concerned about issues related to Orthodoxy, fidelity to the Pope and Magisterium and adherence to Canon 915. I can stomach a bit of nepotism in the administrative offices of the Archdiocese if we had sound Catholic teaching and practices emanating from the spiritual offices of the Archdiocese.

  7. broken hearted Catholic says:

    Sometimes family members are qualified for the job. Sometimes family members are devout Catholics who would love to work for the betterment of the Archdiocese.
    I agree with Davis S. What we need from the Cardinal is true adherence to the Faith, if relatives and friends can help provide that I have no problem with them. I would love to work with my family and friends they are all loyal hard working people. If however they cannot uphold the Truth then the Archdiocese needs to look elsewhere.

  8. Mark Frances says:

    This guy may actually have some proper credentials. His long experience in the stock market would appear to give him a rich background. However, I am concerned about the comment made about the girlfriend of Terry Donilon, Jacqui Miller. Her job was hand tailored for her and based on the ethnic probablility would probably mean that she is not Catholic. According to your sources, Donilon has at least three family connections to Uncle Joe Biden. Jill Biden is not exactly “running up and down the aisle” of your local Catholic Church. It would appear that there is plenty of money being funnelled into the Boston Archdiocese through these contacts for education as the “tip of the iceberg”.

    • One Who was there says:

      BCI’s comment about Jacqui Miller being Donilon’s girlfiend just stirs the pot needlessly. The relationship began after they met at the Pastoral center, and has nothing to do with her promotion.

      For the record. Jacqui Miller is an extremely competent, diligent, and bright worker. She has earned her position, and understand the IFRM better than anyone at the pastoral center not named Landry.
      Mark’s comment about “ethnic probability” is nothing but muckraking. Take some time, check some facts, and stop making suppositions that are unfair , and unfounded, for the sake of advancing your argument. BTW Jacqui attends Mass regularly.
      You want to take issue with Terry Donlon’s performance, I agree, but Jacqui deserves none of this.

      • Carolyn says:

        I second.

      • Objective Observer says:

        And frankly, BCI is better than this. Rare foul ball.

        Terry and/or Jacqui aren’t germane to the entry, and Jacqui’s competence is broadly noted.

  9. Sheila says:

    Is anyone awake at 66 Brooks? The guy has a resume that bears no resemblance to the job opening. [edited by BCI]

    • Readers, a sequence of comments started out as personal attacks and got worse this afternoon. BCI was offline and unable to moderate them. Many of you are regular readers and know our standards for comments–factual information or observations and no personal attacks. Please do not take advantage of a lull when BCI happens to not be watching the comments to go on a string of increasingly personal attacks as happened this afternoon. The alternative is that BCI will have to either ban comments from certain readers, or close comments to everyone.

      If you do not understand what was wrong about your comments, please email BCI through the Contact us page.

      Thank you for your cooperation with this policy so we can keep comments open to all readers.

  10. teddy ballgame says:

    What’s with the comment about Jacqui Miller and Terry Donlin. Jacqui is a bright good looking woman. Donlin is a [edited by BCI]. Hopefully the term “girl friend” is a figure of speech.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think it is appropriate to call Terry Donilon a [edited by BCI]. Be nice, just because someone may be [edited by BCI] is no reason to reference that.

      If you referred to him as Pinocchio, that’s OK [edited by BCI].

    • Jack O'Malley' says:


      You did not edit my comment. You deleted most of it. I did not say I agreed with anonymous. I said pointedly the exact opposite. If you distort your “editing” this way, what may we infer about your posts?

      Restore the comment or lose a reader. I no longer trust your reporting.

      • Jack,
        We appreciate your insights and sense of humor, but your previous comment was a personal attack of the type we have repeatedly asked readers to not make. Regular readers are well aware of our standards, and BCI has sent an email privately explaining further why that is.

        BCI attempted to keep part of your comment, but since you, as the author of the comment, felt the deletion of the latter part of the comment distorted what you wished to communicate, we have removed the comment entirely.

        No personal attacks via comments is our policy and that is not changing. We regret if you or other readers conclude that our well-known policy of not allowing personal attacks in the comments is something you cannot respect or abide by.

    • According to Terry Donilon’s Facebook page, he is “in a relationship” with Jacqui Miller. This is also common knowledge in the Pastoral Center.

  11. Justin says:

    Do you want to know why devout Catholics are leaving the church? Are you wondering why the selling of meaningful property is happening? Mainly, point-blank because of you. And your hatred and unfound truth (s), the spread of lies, the libelist comments and smear campaigns with zippo evidence.

    To that end, I am alarmed—over the discourse coming from many bloggers on this site. I can almost feel the anger and hostility coming through my computer screen. It seems to have become a condition in which many of you are determined to believe in conspiracy, or “junk” theories with zero foundation in fact. It’s reads like a Fabio love novel gone bad.

    Suggested by BCI: these allegations of, “corruption and cronyism is operating at full tilt at the Church”. These are very serious accusations, one that just doesn’t get tossed in air like a paper bag. If this is true—and we know it is not—then I suggest you lay out your case to the Attorney General and ask for a full investigation and forensic audit. This blog, unfortunately, looks to me like a rag that came out of Rupert Murdoch’s briefcase.

    I feel sad and dis-hearted for us true Catholics that are subject to this–and to the Archdiocese who is now consumed with having to deal with just a few people who claim to be many and many.


    When you bring all your material to the AG, then the Catholic community will await the findings–in the meantime, please stop trying to dismantle the structure and principals in which our Church was founded on. Let us believe in fact and not in “junk” theory.”

    I do pray you get help.

    – Justin

    • teddy ballgame says:

      You need to get a clue. Without a forum like BCI’s the corruption,incompetence, arrogance and unethical behavior will continue unchecked. I worked at 66 Brooks and saw it first hand. People in that office are mean spirited, incompetent, back biting and it’s all ok because they work for the Archdiocese. O’Malley and McDonough are numb to their surroundings,and make not effort to correct the situation.
      If people like you lived in 1775 we would still be under John Bull’s heel. Descent in this case is necessary.
      God bless BCI!

    • Justin,
      It appears that you have failed to read the response BCI left to one of your previous comments, on July 15, 2011. Readers unfamiliar with what you posted before should note that you opened your comment then by saying, “As a progressive Catholic that believes in the bible and its teachings, I also see it [Bible] as a moving document, like our Constitution.” You proceeded to complain about a doctrinal issue where you disagreed with Church teachings. Here is the response BCI gave then, which still holds true in this case:

      “Justin, you obviously are new to the blog. New readers often show up, read one post, and criticize us without ever actually reading the blog. Then they are unable to offer specifics to back their complaints. You appear to fall exactly into that situation.

      You come in and say you are a “progressive Catholic.” What does that mean? Does that mean you believe some things the Catholic Church teaches and believe, but not others? That appears to be the case–since the majority of your comment has to do with a doctrinal issue. If so, let us stop right there. This blog is not the place for debating Church teachings. You will have to take your ideas and comments elsewhere.

      As for the Rasky Baerlein situation you cited, it is very clear you have read none of our prior posts on this issue. Before you barrel in with guns loaded and complain about something, please do your homework and read our prior posts on this issue:

      There is little point in responding to the rest of your issues, since you have obviously not read the blog, and do not understand our focus…and you have characterized our entire blog incorrectly.

      Please go back and do your homework before posting further. Have a good day.”

      Justin, you are now back again doing the same thing again–you barreled in, did not do your homework by reading the previous history, and attacked with no specifics. If you read any of the posts cited above, you would have ample references and factual documentation of the corruption and cronyism. Yes, they are serious accusations, and they have been extensively documented over the course of the past year. Any decision by the Attorney General to investigate the matters put forward and documented by BCI is in the hands of the AG and is outside of the control of BCI.

      As a common courtesy to a blogger and the readers who regularly follow a blog, a new visitor should read the content and ensure that any comments they offer are at least informed by the content of the post and relevant to it. You have not done that. Since you have not abided by our request that you do your homework before posting comments and since you continue to make unfounded attacks without giving specifics, BCI regrets to inform you that you have worn out your welcome here. Please find another blog that is more aligned with your perspectives and approach.

    • Mack says:

      Justin, your comments surprise me because BCI always backs up its claims with facts and figures. It is well researched. I do not at all find it full of hate. It is quite respectful, and also critical where criticism is needed.

      The cronyism that BCI writes about may not necessarily be illegal, so calling in the AG could be out of bounds. But it is a counter-witness to the social teaching of the Church, and that is more what BCI is concerned about. Not everything immoral is illegal, and not everything illegal is immoral. We can’t confuse civil law with appropriate pastoral work in the Church.

  12. Time for a change says:

    This did not happen without Fr. Kickham asking the Cardinal if it was ok to take care of his cousin. The buck stops with the Cardinal. Its too bad that Canon law precludes tribunal action against a Cardinal. Its time for this one to fall on his sword.

    • bitsnbytes says:

      I’m not an insider, but that scenario doesn’t seem very plausible to me. Can somebody explain? I would expect the chancellor to be involved sooner than the Cardinal.

  13. Objective Observer says:

    Rev. Robert Kickham has spent the past ten years fielding complaints about impropriety, and/or the appearance of impropriety. He should have vigorously opposed his cousin applying for the job. It makes one wonder how many relatives have been hired in contravention of the anti-nepotism policy but a different last name has made it less apparent.

    Hypocrisy taints with an egalitarian hand. Doesn’t matter how much good or bad you do, hypocrisy taints it all. Why would a man who makes his living batting down the effects of impropriety, fuel the fires?

  14. Justin says:

    @TeddyNoGame: You have quite the filthy mouth on you, don’t you? Using pejorative terms to refer to people. How divine. By the way Teddy Child, I have a clue—you need a life. Again gather your information and head over to the AG, along with everyone else who spouts out “Corruption and Unethical Behavior.” Enough of you—you’re not worth the time, and clearly incapable of civil discourse.

    [edited by BCI]

  15. A. J. Constantino says:

    Justin…. Slow down take a breath and more importantly pray!

    You need to consider reading BCI with an open mind. I like you , at times, find some of the posts a bit extreme.
    What I ALWAYS agree with, BCI on, is EVERY Cardinal, Bishop, Priest, Deacon, Religious and Lay Person, who represent the Church and/or serves the Church, must have 100% accountability to the People of God. We cannot hide. (That is why I and I know others sign their posts!)
    Jack O’M, I can assure you there are some, at 66 Brooks Drive, who have placed very BIG black check marks next to my name every time I post on BCI – hey it’s a reality! I am sure my just writing this last line is causing some to be uncomfortable.

    I am not sure, I agree that a candidate for a position, at the RCAB, should be discounted simply because he has a cousin, a brother, mother, father, boyfriend/girlfriend working there – that’s discrimination! I have been in private business and have looked favorably on the hire of relatives and friends, in my twenty-eight year experience; these have been, often times, the best hires! I have made it a practice to post the position internally FIRST and interview those internal candidates! What to build morale – promote from within!

    When you are a manager, you do not want internal staff to be at the water cooler saying candidate XYZ had the job because of who he/she is, I and other managers did read resumes and most times checked references; please note, I wrote “most times”- I have to be honest!

    I might say there would be more credibility to the BCI post if there were a resume to support the claim that the only reference for Christopher’s hire was his last name!

    • In the process of removing one comment others seem to have gotten reordered.

      A.J., Sorry if some of the posts seem extreme to you, but we are glad that we are in agreement about the need for accountability to the People of God. We did link to the online resume of Chris Kickham in case you want to reference that information

      Justin, you have been warned several times and you continue to do the same thing over and over again. By continuing to spout off without ever referencing a single specific point we have made in our posts, you have made yourself unwelcome. Your future comments here will be removed.

  16. […] out and acknowledge it.  Today we learned we may have made a rather significant mistake in our post from yesterday where we wrote that Christopher Kickham, cousin of the Cardinal’s priest-secretary, Fr. […]

  17. Time for a change says:

    Fr. Kickham and the Cardinal live in the same house, travel to work in the same car and talk daily about how to manage public image. Fr. Kickham knew, or should have known, that this would bring the appearance of scandal and would not have brought about the hiring without checking to his only boss. Our beloved Chancellor would never take on Fr. Kickham as Fr. Kickham controls all access to the Cardinal. If Fr. Kickham says hire my brother, the Chancellor says sir, yes sir!

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