In the wake of mainstream media coverage of how the Pastoral Center is paying 17 people more than $150K per year each (up six-fold since 2006) and how the payroll went from $8.3 million in 2006 to $9.2 million this year despite dramatic job cuts, we now learn that the Boston Archdiocese is encouraging their employees to exercise during work hours, apparently instead of working. We are not making this up!
(First to Msgr. Deeley, BCI had nothing whatsoever to do with that Herald coverage about the excessive six-figure salaries, so we would appreciate if you would stop telling people that when you have no basis whatsoever for that claim. But we digress–more on that another time…)
Here is the email sent to all Pastoral Center employees on March 28 from Carol Gustavson:
Good morning – as part of our ongoing commitment to health and wellness initiatives that also build our sense of community, all staff members are invited to join the Spring 2012 Pastoral Center Fitness Challenge. The Challenge, piloted on the 1st Floor in the Parish Finance Department last year, was deemed a success, so we now invite all staff to join in this opportunity to improve their overall health and wellness while at work.
Every participant will be paired with another staff member to help keep motivation and morale high. Below is a chart showing “points” each participant can earn towards a goal set by each team of two staff members. The top five pairs in terms of overall points will be recognized at the June 2012 All Staff Meeting. Pedometers will be provided to each participant to help track total steps taken throughout the day. Additional ideas for earning points while at work are welcome.
To indicate your interest in the Challenge, please let me know by Monday, April 2. You will be sent your partner’s name by the end of the week so that you can start the Challenge the week after Easter. A tracking spreadsheet will be made available to all participants so they can enter their daily totals.
We look forward to your participation in this unique initiative.
Director – Benefit Trusts/Plan Administrator
Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184
BCI supports physical fitness, and could stand to lose a few pounds ourselves. This program no doubt earns some sort of insurance discount from Tufts Health Plan. But given that Pastoral Center salaries are paid largely from donor funds or service fees levied to entities supported by donor funds, one might reasonably ask, why does the fitness challenge have to be done only during work hours?
Should Terry Donilon, who makes total compensation of $193K/year, be encouraged to take 30-45 minutes away from his job–“during the work day only”–to go running outside every other day so he earns more points?
Can you imagine Mary Grassa O’Neill, paid $325K per year, doing pushups, sit-ups and squats before she meets with her $185K/year assoc. superintendent and her high-paid regional superintendents to discuss the next parish school to be ordered closed?
Can you picture Msgr. Deeley in a meeting with Fr. Bryan Parrish and a bunch of pastors discussing alignment of parishes for the PST initiative standing up to keep the meeting quick and earn 5 points.
And who did the math on the points schedule for doing the stairs? The first to fourth floor distance has 64 steps in total, so doing the round-trip is 128 steps. If I can get 5 points for doing 128 steps, why would I do 2,500 steps–almost 20X greater distance–to get just 10 points? Is the person who did the math on the points system the same person doing pension calculations for lay employees and clergy? Beyond the math, BCI is getting short of breath just thinking about the prospect of doing 20 round-trips from the first to the fourth floors.
So there you have it–another day, another dollar at the Pastoral Center. Donors, your contributions that pay Pastoral Center salaries are not only going towards almost $3.5M for 17 people paid $150K+/year, but now they are also paying so people can exercise “during the work day only” to earn points, instead of working during the work day and exercising after hours.
The Mission of the Archdiocese of Boston is, “To carry on the saving ministry of Jesus Christ,” and BCI is OK with the concept of employees attending daily Mass or Eucharistic Adoration during the work day. Those activities rather clearly provide spiritual nourishment and strength that helps employees advance the mission and give glory and honor to God, but hopefully they are also making up for that time by working later.
Exercising during the work day feels different. OK, on a moral and spiritual basis, this approach to physical fitness is less dangerous than yoga (which is still underway). Still, out of fiduciary responsibility to be a good steward of donor funds, is it not better for the Boston Archdiocese to simply encourage people to exercise on their own time?