…from the Chelsea Housing Authority, unfortunately–not the Boston Archdiocese.
Cardinal O’Malley is on his “ad limina” visit to Rome to talk about the state of the archdiocese, and already details are coming out that are troubling to BCI, but that is the topic for our post tomorrow.
What follows are excerpts from the story from the Boston Globe, “High-pay housing director resigns.” Excerpts are indented, and BCI’s commentary, including some hypothetical quotes, immediately follows. Anything sound familiar?
The head of the Chelsea Housing Authority abruptly resigned his $360,000-a-year position last evening, hours after Governor Deval Patrick lambasted his salary as outrageous and demanded that he step down…
Faithful Catholics are still waiting for Cardinal O’Malley, the Finance Council, and their well-heeled Compensation committee to acknowledge that the $325K/year salary paid to Catholic Schools Superintendent, Mary Grassa O’Neill since 2008 when she was hired is “outrageous.” The same holds for the $300K/year salary paid to the General Counsel, the $250K/year salaries paid to the Chancellor, Catholic Media Secretary, and Secretary for Institutional Advancement, and the inflated six-figure salaries paid to two VPs of Development, the Exec. Director of Finance and Operations, Assoc. Superintendent of Schools, Secretary of Communications, and Director of Benefits.
Patrick also called on the five members of the board that approved McLaughlin’s contract and massive pay increases to step down…
In the Boston Archdiocese, the people who approved Mary Grassa O’Neill’s contract and massive pay as well as other excessive six-figure salaries remain safely entrenched.
“Boiling is the word,’’ Patrick said in an interview. “It’s an outrage. Here we are flat-funding public housing, trying to hold on through the worst economy in living memory…’’
“Traveling around the world, posing for photo opps with the wealthy and with politicians who oppose Catholic teachings, and blogging about it all is the word,” the Cardinal said in an interview. “It’s business as usual for the high-paid bureaucracy at the Pastoral Center in Braintree. Meanwhile, we are cutting funding for evangelization and faith formation programs and programs that serve the needy, trying to hold on in the worst economy in living memory…”
Patrick joined a chorus of senior public officials condemning the salary paid McLaughlin, which skyrocketed from $77,500 since 2000.
Cardinal O’Malley, presiding over the funeral of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, complimented the chorus of singers who enhanced the liturgy, when Cardinal Sean wrote: “the music was outstanding with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus enriching the liturgy along with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham who later sang an absolutely striking rendition of Schubert’s “Ave Maria.” Cellist Yo-Yo Ma graced us with his beautiful solo performance of Bach and later joined Placido Domingo, who sang the “Panis Angelicus.” Placido has a superb voice.”
When it comes to dealing with criticism of the failed governance in the Boston Archdiocese, Cardinal O’Malley has no voice.
Last night, McLaughlin continued to insist that “I more than earned my salary,’’ which is almost twice as large as that of his counterpart in New York City…
In the Boston Archdicoese, the Chancellor and other defenders of the high salaries insist, “this is what it costs to get the best and the brightest.” There is no evidence to back those claims. Mary Grassa O’Neill earns 30% more than her New York City and Los Angeles Public Schools counterparts. A public comparison vs salaries paid for comparable positions at other dioceses has never been released.
“What we’re seeing is an unprecedented coordinated effort by virtually every relevant agency going at this at the same time with one mission, to protect the taxpayers and try to prevent this abuse from being carried out,’’ said state Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan, who is also investigating.
In the Boston Archdiocese, what we’re seeing is an unprecedented coordinated effort by virtually every lay executive in the Pastoral Center to get paid well more than their counterparts at other Catholic dioceses. Three lay executives paid $250K-$325K per year in their current jobs are retired with pensions or a significant windfall after their previous lucrative 25-30 year careers. “No one appears concerned with protecting donors or preventing this kind of abuse from being carried out,” said Attorney General Annie Oakley, who is not investigating.
McLaughlin is preparing to retire and collect perhaps the largest pension in Massachusetts history. Based on his total compensation and years of service, McLaughlin could qualify for a pension of $278,842 for life.
Mary Grassa O’Neill is retired from a 30-year career with the Boston Public Schools and has a pension for life estimated at more than $75K/year.
“Part of what sets my teeth on edge is that this kind of behavior is isolated, but it splashes back on everybody,’’ Patrick said. “All the people in this government who were here before we got here and are here today trying every day to serve the public’s best interest. . .. There has to be accountability.’’
Part of what sets BCI’s teeth on edge, and those of other Boston Catholics is that these kinds of salaries are widespread in the Pastoral Center, and it splashes back on everybody. The many good priests in the archdiocese and the few good dedicated people who remain in the Pastoral Center are there trying every day to serve the best interests of faithful Catholics. But the corruption continues. There is no accountability.
He now makes $334,642 a year, plus an additional amount equal to four weeks of unused vacation, $25,741 for this year. His total compensation is 18 times higher than the income of the average family living in Chelsea public housing.
His pay for overseeing 1,415 units far exceeds that of administrators at much larger agencies. The Boston Housing Authority, the city’s largest landlord, pays William McGonagle $135,906. The New York City chief makes $197,364.
Mary Grassa O’Neill, in what really is an advisory job with mere oversight for schools that serve 42,000 students, earns $325k/year, which is 30% more than her New York City Public Schools counterpart, who is paid $250K for operationally running schools that serve 1.1 million students–25X larger than Boston Catholic schools.
If you are asking yourself, why is this happening in the Boston Archdiocese, the only answer BCI can come up with is abdication of leadership.
What do you think?