Welcoming More Expensive People to the Pastoral Center

December 17, 2010

In case you thought the folks at the Pastoral Center were working hard to save money and use your donations most cost-effectively, you may want to think again.

Below is an email sent by Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson to everyone working for the archdiocese letting them know about six people from the Campaign for Catholic Schools now coming to the 4th floor (high-rent district) of the Pastoral Center.  A hearty welcome to you!!  They are joining the fund-raising operation, now headed by a former Hill Holliday employee of Jack Connors, Kathleen Driscoll, after a “sham search” that, in reality, had identified her as the choice before it was even announced.

Looking at the email, we see a Vice President, Associate Vice President, and Director.  Sounds like titles from either a bank or an ad agency. At least a few of them no doubt add to the six-figure salary count in Braintree, pushing it close to 30 people making more than $100K/year. So now, we have nearly 30 people earning a combined amount north of $4M–more than 1/4 of the Annual Appeal goal. Naturally, there is someone who used to work for Jack Connor’s firm, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc.  And to round things out, we have a couple people from Hingham, the same town where new development chief, Kathleen Driscoll hails from.

Anyone else wondering how much these people cost?  Has Chancellor McDonough forgotten about the big layoff of 20 low to mid-level people back in June to supposedly save money and balance the budget? Have the folks at 66 Brooks Drive forgotten that about 40% of parishes are in the red, while pastors are still working hard to raise money for the Annual Appeal?  What does this do to morale at the Pastoral Center for mid to lower-level employees to see these people with big titles and big salaries suddenly arriving to the 4th floor after the “sham search” that hired their boss for a $250K-$300K/year job?

What are the individual fund-raising goals for each entity–Catholic Appeal, Catholic Schools Foundation, Campaign for Catholic Schools–that this new combined fund-raising powerhouse is supposed to hit?  How are they each doing against each individual goal?

Anyway, here is a slightly edited version of the email from Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson.  He now seems to be 100% co-opted as the spokesman for the McDonough/Connors/Hehir regime:

On Friday (17 December) we will be welcoming the following six associates from the Campaign for Catholic Schools to the Pastoral Center.  They will be located on the 4th floor north.

Mary Flynn Myers, Vice President of Development
Mary has been the Vice President of Development for the Campaign for Catholic Schools since  December 2007.  Prior to joining the CCS she was a Senior Director for Biomedical Research Development at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, raising leadership gifts in support of basic and clinical research.  She has over 25 years experience in development.  A native of Arlington, MA, Mary is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross.  She resides in Boston and volunteers with the Children’s Liturgy of the Word at the Paulist Center.

Patricia Kelleher Bartram, Associate Vice President of Development
Pat joined the Campaign for Catholic Schools in December 2007 from the UMass Memorial Foundation, where she worked for nine years as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development.  During that time, she staffed the Foundation’s Board of Directors and led them through a major reorganization.  She also directed two successful major capital campaigns.  She has over 25 years experience in development. Pat is a product of Catholic schools, having attended St. Mary’s Elementary School in Shrewsbury, MA, followed by Notre Dame Academy, Worcester, MA.

Sandra A. Dowd, Director of Operations
Sandy joined the Campaign for Catholic Schools in January 2008 from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she worked for 18 years.  For the past eight years she was Department Administrator of the Office of the Chancellor, and during the previous ten years she served as the Director of Alumni Relations and Special Projects.  A native of Michigan, Sandy earned a Bachelor degree from Michigan Technological University.  She holds a Masters in Public Affairs from the John W. McCormack Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Arthur Boyle, Development Officer
Artie was appointed Development Officer in February 2010.  For the past 25 years he had been in sales management, director-level and ownership positions with various companies and industries.  Most recently he was a senior loan officer with Heritage Mortgage Company. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is very active in church and local school activities, leading numerous prayer groups in Hingham and the surrounding area. He and his wife Judy live in Hingham.

Kate Doyle, Special Projects Manager
Kate Doyle joined the Campaign for Catholic Schools in early 2009 after 12 years at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc., where she worked as an Executive Assistant.  Prior to Hill, Holliday, she worked for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in Boston. Kate graduated from Pennsylvania State University and lives in Hingham, with her husband and son.

Andrea Polonetsky, Director of Marketing and Communications
Andrea joined the Campaign for Catholic Schools in early 2008 with a marketing background.  She worked at Citizens Bank in Sponsorships and Brand Promotions, and as an Account Executive at Maine’s highest-rated news station, WCSH6.  She also worked on the planning of fundraising events for Life is Good, Inc. and the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.

Please join me in welcoming our colleagues in offering your support for their efforts as, together, we carry on the mission entrusted to us by Christ and His Church.


Fr Rich

#  #  #   #

Incidentally, in case people think the idea for this combined fund-raising entity and move to Braintree just came about recently, you can also think again about that one.  We have it on good word that the Chancellor was in on discussions about merging at least the separate fund-raising entitites–Jack Connors’ Campaign for Catholic Schools and the Catholic Schools Foundation–and locating them in Braintree starting back in the summer of 2009.

Have a good weekend!

Finance Council Top Ethical Concerns: #4: Compensation–Six Figure Salaries

December 2, 2010

Apologies for the delays with our latest episode in the series on Boston archdiocesan deception, mismanagement, and corruption.  This started out as a short post, but just kept growing to the point where we have sub-divided it and will run more next time. As you know, we started with “Systemic Corruption,” then have moved to the “Top 10 Ways the Finance Council is Conflicted, Self-Contradicted, or Perhaps Even Corrupted.”  Click the following links to read #1: Consultation on Performance or Removal of the Chancellor, and #2 Term of Service, and #3 Conflicts of Interest. Today we continue with:

#4 Compensation–Six Figure Salaries

Key takeaway for today is that the Boston Archdiocese is paying 6-figure salaries to a lot more people than ever before–and although the Finance Council has in its charter the responsibility for consulting and overseeing this area, it is not at all clear what good their judgment, advice, and oversight have accomplished here in recent years. Nor is it clear how the apparent belief and practice of paying comparable or better pay than private-sector jobs is helping advance the mission of the Catholic Church in Boston. Beyond that, it is also questionable how the newly created Compensation Committee will help fix the problem vs merely provide air-cover to justify the existing practices, or potentially make things worse.  But we will save some of this for tomorrow.

Charter says:

Article III, Responsibilities, Section F: To oversee and provide consulting for employee compensation and benefits policies, including retirement programs.

BCI Concerns

1) The amount of money paid out in six-figure salaries is increasing at a dramatic rate annually, and given that the Finance Council has had oversight for this area for years and has allowed this to continue, it would appear that the proverbial fox is guarding the chicken-coop. Here is the trend from 2006 to 2010.

Before the 2006 Fiscal Year, the 4 highest paid lay employees were paid a total of about $689,000:

  • Dir. of Institutional Advancement (Ken Hokenson): $ 217,089
  • Chancellor & Secretary  for Finance (David W. Smith) : $ 175,857
  • Secretary for Communications (Terry Donilon): $160,000
  • Dir. of Parish and School Services (James Walsh): $137,523
Then a new group of people joined.  Based on disclosed information (except for the new secretary for development whose salary we can only estimate right now), the highest paid employees today earning $150K+ are paid  a total of about $1,876,000–3X what it was just 4 years ago:
  • Secretary for Education (Mary Grassa O’Neill): $325,000
  • General Counsel (Beirne Lovely): $300,000
  • Chancellor and Secretary for Finance (James McDonough): $250,000
  • Secretary for Institutional Advancement (Kathleen Driscoll): salary not disclosed, but estimated at $250,000-$300,000
  • Catholic Media Secretary (Scot Landry): $250,000
  • Assoc Superintendent of Schools (James Walsh): $185,270
  • Secretary for Communications (Terry Donilon): $166,304
  • Secretary for Faith Formation and Evangelization (Janet Benestad): $150,000

Add to that the approximately $830K paid to six members of Chancellor McDonough’ s staff who earn $110K+ and we get to about $2.7M in salaries paid to 14 people.  And we are missing a few people still.

Even if we were to adjust this total for the salaries of the general counsel (because it is claimed that the in-house counsel helps save some of what was paid to former outsourced counsel, Wilson Rogers) and for the Catholic media secretary (because they are on a separate P&L from Corporation Sole and have to self-fund), we cannot avoid the reality that the archdiocese pays millions of dollars more today to their most senior people vs what they paid just 4 years ago to do basically the same job functions. (Update: our readers and other sources tell us we should not even allow that the in-house counsel is saving any money).

If the mission of the Catholic Church in Boston has not changed much in the past 4 years and the job market has been in the toilet bowl during the worst recession in decades–meaning that most people work for the same or less salary so they can keep a job-why exactly is it costing us 3X more in six-figure salaried staff to accomplish this mission than it was before?   Are these salaries all comparable to those paid for similar roles in other dioceses?  Since this has happened with the approval of the Finance Council, a reasonable person might ask, who exactly on the Finance Council and in the Archdiocese has been providing the oversight, consulting, and approval? And what will change going forward if those people are still involved?

Stay tuned tomorrow for more in our next exciting episode of  “Top 10 Ways the Finance Council is Conflicted, Self-Contradicted, or Perhaps Even Corrupted.”

Thanks-Giving Cronyism?

November 29, 2010

Welcome back! We hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

Before we get into the topic for today—another example of what one reader called the “dysfunctional personality of the RCAB”–we have another announcement about upcoming events.  Over the weekend we posted about one event this coming Saturday evening, December 4, with Cardinal Raymond Burke in Boston to raise money for scholarships at Thomas More College.  We had no sooner finished that post than it came to our attention we failed to mention the St. Johns Seminary scholarship concert fundraising dinner, also taking place this Saturday, December 4, starting at 5:30pm.  Click here for more information about the SJS event.  Both are worthwhile causes, and we are hard-pressed to advise which to attend and/or support.   Regardless of your event preference or financial means, you can also attend the St. Johns Seminary annual celebration of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 5 at 3pm for free.

Now to our topic for today, which is how cronyism and dysfunction occurs even when the archdiocese is doing something good, like giving thanks to outstanding workers and volunteers.

A few days ago, the archdiocese gave annual Cheverus Awards to 98 people. These recognize service by men and women from across the archdiocese to their parishes, schools and other Catholic entities.  The Pilot article says that recipients are nominated by their pastors or auxiliary bishops and approved by Cardinal O’Malley. (In reality though, there is not much of an approval process–if someone is nominated, they basically will get an award).

Most of the 98 recipients are long-time parish workers (who get paid very low salaries or no salary whatsoever), religious, or parish or local volunteers. Others fit in a category of being significant long-time benefactors to the archdiocese.  The huge majority of the award recipients are well-deserving of the awards as best as we can tell.  But the awards just would not be complete here in Boston without there being a few recipients who work for the archdiocese and collect 6-figure paychecks for their work—and they caused the “cronyism meter” here at Boston Catholic Insider to buzz.  First we highlight a few examples of the many recipients who are clearly well-deserving of the award, and then a few who are already paid in excess of $150K/year by the archdiocese and whose names do not feel to us like they belong on the same list as the others.

Well Deserving Award Recipients

As we said a moment ago, the huge majority of the recipients are clearly well-deserving of the awards.  We do not know about all of their backgrounds, and by highlighting several we know of, we do not mean in any way to minimize the outstanding contributions of everyone else—it is a matter of space and the reality that we do not know everyone.

  • Jack Schaughnessy, Sr. : Has given millions of dollars to the archdiocese over the years, as well as and to a wide range of Catholic Church related causes including the Blessed John XXIII Seminary, Caritas Christi, Catholic Charities, BC High School, Nativity Prep, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary and others.  He is a humble, faithful man and keeps out of the limelight.  Jack Connors could learn more than a few things about humility from this “Jack.”
  • Merry Nordeen:  spearheaded the “Choose Life” license plate drive for Massachusetts.
  • Brother Bede Benn, a Xaverian Brother, taught children and adults for nearly 50 years, and recently celebrated his 70th anniversary as a brother in service to the Church.
  • Sr. Anne D’Arcy, CSJ: we are told she has worked for the Boston archdiocese for some 50 years. Coincidentally,  her brother is Bishop John D’Arcy, a former Boston Auxiliary Bishop who retired in 2009 as bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend (and was the oldest bishop governing a diocese) shortly after he took a strong stance opposing Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Obama.

We are not able to go into all of the other names–these just highlight a few we readily recognized and knew enough about to highlight for you.  Then there is the other category.

Do These Names Belong on the List?

Two names of people who collect paychecks in excess of $150K/year from the archdiocese jumped out at us as just not necessarily fitting with the other recipients—Kevin Kiley and Joe D’Arrigo.

  • Kevin Kiley is the deputy budget director who served as interim head of development for 4-5 months after the previous person in the role was pushed out by Chancellor McDonough and Jack Connors.  Kiley also had helped coordinate the move of the archdiocesan headquarters from Brighton to Braintree—a move that occurred in 2008, and for which he was amply recognized already by the Cardinal while, coincidentally, others at a lower level who did more work and really made the move happen went unrecognized. He has worked for the archdiocese for all but 2 years since 1991 and is also considered to be Chancellor McDonough’s most trusted and loyal advisor.  Does that make him worthy of an award, let alone to be recognized along with the others above?  And it should be remembered that he also already gets paid $150K+ for doing his day-job.
  • Also, sources tell us that back a few years ago, Kevin used to moonlight by doing the books for multiple parishes as their accountant while also, coincidentally, being in charge of the RCAB audits for those same parishes.  In other words, it would seem that he was both the auditor–who determined whether or not the parishes passed the “sniff test”—and the accountant whose work he was assessing.

  • Joe D’Arrigo: is a consultant working on the Clergy Retirement Fund. We are told he has done a great job stabilizing the fund, and we know he has also done work for the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. We are not criticizing Joe personally, as we do not know exactly what he was recognized for.  The question is simply the following: while his current work for the archdiocese pays him handsomely, does he belong on the award recipient list at this time along with the other people whose service or contributions are largely voluntary or who are low-paid?

To be fair, the huge majority of the recipients are well-deserving of the awards and we think the awards are a good idea. But it seems dysfunctional and suggestive of cronyism to have recipients who collect six-figure salaries from the Church on the same list of award recipients as those who give six-figure or seven-figure contributions to the Church.  Shouldn’t there be some rule that if an employee is at a director-level or above and/or collects a six-figure salary already, that is sufficient recognition for their service?  Should there be some guideline that the awards should be limited to hard-working employees or volunteers who are not collecting $150K+ salaries already for their work? Beyond the matter of rules or guidelines, why would anyone even want to get an award for doing what is expected, and for which one is already being fairly compensated?

For those who want more straight-up corruption, join us here tomorrow as we continue with the next exciting episode in our series on Boston archdiocesan corruption that started with “Systemic Corruption“, “Finance Council: Conflicted, Contradictory, Corrupt?and “ Top Ethical Concerns: #3: Conflicts of Interest

Archdiocesan Finance Council: New Compensation Committee Formed

November 18, 2010

Readers, anyone who feels we are not making slow but steady progress need look no further.

Last Wednesday, Nov 10, the archdiocese announced to all employees that BostonCatholic.org now includes an up-to-date listing of the members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council.  That may seem minor, but it represents progress.  Along with the progress, we are not yet sure what to make of one more piece of news. We now have yet another committee–this one formed to review compensation for senior lay executives and recommend changes, where needed, to the Archbishop.

The publication of the members of the Finance Council is at least a small win for Catholics in the archdiocese, since the more transparency that exists, the more accountability there will be.  And if the archdiocesan leaders–current ones and/or new ones that come on-board–are truly accountable and get to the point where they are acting in concert with the values of Christ and are not in it just for the money or power, it is more likely that people will trust the archdiocese and the good works of the church can continue.  Maybe that is too much to expect yet today–we will see.

Anyway, the archdiocese used to publish the  list of Finance Council members through the time when the 2008 annual report was issued, but then they inexplicably stopped.  We have been asking them about this since August 23, and it only took ten weeks in which to get back to doing that which was being done previously.  This shows that things are just cranking at break-neck speed at 66 Brooks Drive.

At the end of this post, you will see the message that tells you where you can find the names of the people on the council.  But, before we get to the new people added to the council, we thought we should let you know about a major change to the charter of the Finance Council.

The current charter, amended November 10, 2010, has created a new “Compensation Committee.”  Here is a description of the committee:

The Compensation Committee shall develop and submit to the Finance Council for its review, and for approval by the Archbishop, a statement of the compensation philosophy of the Archdiocese for senior lay executive employees. The Committee shall review and recommend to the Archbishop all changes in senior lay executive compensation, including offers of employment for senior lay executive employees. For purposes of this Section H, “senior lay executive employees” shall have the meaning determined by the Committee. The Committee will perform an annual review of all compensation for senior lay executive employees to ensure that compensation falls within ranges that are consistent with the approved compensation philosophy. Where deviations are observed, the Committee shall either determine that there is an acceptable reason therefore, or recommend a plan to correct the deviation. The Committee shall submit to the Finance Council an annual report on the compensation practices of the Archdiocese, which shall be included in the annual financial release of the Archdiocese. The Committee shall from time to time appoint a qualified independent compensation consultant to advise the Committee in the performance of its duties, and shall direct the consultant to conduct an analysis of competitive compensation practices and report to the committee thereon, at least once every three years. The Committee shall also advise on other compensation matters as requested. The Committee shall consist of at least one member of the Finance Council, and shall have members with proven credentials in executive compensation or other relevant general business experience.

Seems to us that this could, coincidentally, be a response to criticism by some people that the 6-figure salaries in the Pastoral Center—especially those at the $300K+ level–have gotten out of control and are unwarranted.  overpaidOnce the committee convenes, if they are looking for somewhere to start, we suggest they begin with Schools Superintendent, Mary Grassa O’Neill, whose salary of $325,000/year apparently makes her on a per-student basis the highest paid public or private school superintendent in the country. It is not clear those kinds of paychecks were ever justified, let alone at a time when  parishes are struggling to get out of the red and pay their bills and the archdiocese is cutting pension benefits to lay employees and retirees.

UPDATE: In response to several commenters, we are changing our perspective slightly.  We think some check-and-balance on compensation is a good idea. But, it is not clear that such a committee is the right approach, as it appears to give even more power to the Finance Council, treating it even moreso like it is the Board of Directors of a company, which it is not.  How many Catholic archdioceses have a “Compensation Committee”?  Since this committee is apparently a foregone conclusion for now, we hope and pray that they put someone in charge of this new committee who is neither independently wealthy nor the CEO of a company.  The chair of the committee should come with unquestioned integrity and no conflicts of interest, as should the committee members.

While we are looking at the new charter, we thought we should mention several flaws in the document, which suggest someone needs to still be watching carefully over the Finance Department and Chancellor’s office.

First off, this charter is not actually signed by anyone.  Article XII of the charter says that “Amendments become effective only upon approval by the Archbishop.”  Is this new amendment approved by the Archbishop?  If so, why is it not signed by him and notarized by a witness to his signature?

Secondly, the amendment history present in previous versions has now been removed for some reason.  Here is the version that was most recently amended in May of 2010.  Notice the amendment history, with a place for the signatures by both the Cardinal and Chancellor?  To maintain transparency and the history of changes, shouldn’t the amendment history be included in this version as well?

There are other aspects of the Finance Council Charter that we will get to in the coming days. When you have a few minutes, look over the May 2010 version to see if you can find the irregularities or areas where the Council is not actively fulfilling their chartered responsibilities.

In the meantime, here is an excerpt of the diocesan announcement of last week about the new information:


1.      Listing of Council Members

Our BostonCatholic.org website was updated this week to include a listing of the full membership of the College of Consultors, Archdiocesan Finance Council, Presbyteral Council and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.    We are deeply grateful for great leadership these members provide to in service to Christ and His Church.





More next time on the irregularities and unfulfilled responsibilities, unless you beat us to the punch via comments.

Diocesan Deception and Coverup? The response.

November 17, 2010

Before we  get back to Boston, just another quick acknowledgement of what one blogger just described as “The Earthquake in Baltimore.”

The AP and most other publications are describing the defeat of sitting USCCB VP Bishop Kicanas of Tuscon and the election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan as an “upset“.  Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia described the result as a “seismic shift” and offers other interesting narrative about the climate in Baltimore before the “Timquake” vote.  The vote to elect the sitting USCCB vice president is usually close to unanimous, and this time around it was a whole ‘nother story.

Archbishop Dolan won by a vote of 128-111.  What impact the “Catholic blogosphere”  had on this election is impossible to measure.  But we can tell you that so many emails and faxes were being sent to bishops from our hastily set-up server that it got overloaded and shut down twice between Friday and Sunday–and we can tell you that your messages reached a lot more than 17 bishops.  (By the way, the technical Web guy from RealCatholicTV who worked nights and over the weekend to help us with the campaign on basically zero advance notice refuses to even accept the gift of a dinner out for him and his wife in appreciation for his work.  If you would like to support their ministry, you can make a tax-deductible donation to St. Michael’s Media here).

OK, now back to Boston, where we are seeing a number of small signs of progress.

Back on November 5 in our post “Diocesan Deception from Donilon?” we reported on the latest regarding the “sham search” for the new head of development.  A Catholic reporter on deadline had contacted Communications Secretary, Terry Donilon, to ask a few straightforward questions about the sham search and new “independent” development organization.  Terry responded to the reporter saying he would not answer “unfounded claims and attacks posted in Boston Catholic Insider,” while, coincidentally, not acknowledging that our reports of the sham search were indeed accurate and it was his repeated claim of “unfounded claims” that was unfounded instead.  A number of readers let us know that they wrote to Terry and the Vicar General, Fr. Richard Erikson.  We did too.   On November 15, we got a response.

Here is the email we sent to Terry and the Vicar General, and then the response back.  Let us count how many questions posed were actually answered by the archdiocese.

From: James Franklin
Date: Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 5:21 PM
Subject: Terry Donilon’s response to reporter about blog
To: Vicar_General@rcab.org, Terrence_donilon@rcab.org
Cc: ReverendBryan_Parrish@rcab.org

To Fr. Erikson and Terry,

As both of you know, the Boston Catholic Insider blog was 100% accurate in saying that the search for the new head of institutional advancement was a “sham search” and there never was an open search.  Spin it as you wish to try and now claim there are two flavors of searches and you reserve the right to pretend there is a real search and just place whomever you want. With your June press release/announcement, the archdiocesan leadership knowingly deceived the public into believing there was an open search for this position when there really was not. That is fact.  Do you disagree?

For Terry to respond to a reporter with the line about “unfounded claims” is troubling. In case you did not realize it, the blog is not suffering from credibility problems–it is the leadership of the archdiocese.

We need not be “enemies.”  If you guys will operate with integrity, then the blog will have nothing to write about and it goes away. Why is it so difficult for the archdiocesan leadership to operate with integrity?

As a faithful Catholic in the Archdiocese of Boston whose donations to my local church partially fund your salaries, I and thousands of other Catholics would like to know the answers to several questions regarding the changes just announced in the area of fund-raising.

–How does the newly established 501(c) (3) organization for fund-raising ensure donors of “independence” and “accountability”?
–What exactly was the problem with accountability to the Archdiocese of Boston before which this now solves?
–Who–by name of individual and canonically recognized body–will this be accountable to going forward?
–What is the new entity independent of?
–Who is on the “newly established Board of Trustees”?
–What is the “respective board” representing the Archdiocese” referred to in the press release?   Who is on it?  What is the canonical basis for that board’s existence?

These are not questions for the Boston Catholic Insider blog. These are not questions for an anonymous blogger.  These are questions that Catholics of the Boston Archdiocese deserve legitimate answers to.

Do you plan to answer these questions for the Catholic faithful of Boston?



OK, so we got a bit emotional in the wording of the email.  In hindsight, we could have been a little more even-keeled.  Here is Terry’s response, of November 15.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Donilon, Terrence <Terrence_Donilon@rcab.org>
Date: Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 4:15 PM
Subject: RE: Terry Donilon’s response to reporter about blog
To: James Franklin
Cc: Vicar General <Vicar_General@rcab.org>, “Parrish, Reverend Bryan” ReverendBryan_Parrish@rcab.org

Dear “Jim”,

Thank you for your inquiry of November 5th.

As announced on November 1, 2010, Boston Catholic Development Services, Inc. (BCDS) is being formed to streamline the fundraising strategies of the Archdiocese.  It will serve as the development office for the Archdiocese, the Clergy Funds and the Campaign for Catholic Schools (CCS).  Catholic Charities has also been invited to join and benefit from the new development services and the final determination to participate will be made by their management and board of trustees.

We are in the early stages of identifying the Board of Trustees of BCDS and bringing together the various staff personnel that will conduct the important work ahead.

Cardinal Seán will name the trustees at the time BCDS is formally incorporated. It is anticipated that the new board of BCDS, which will oversee its operations, will include member(s) from the Archdiocese, the Clergy Funds, CCS and other participating entities. BCDS will also collaborate closely with the management and respective boards of the entities it serves. BCDS will not hold donated funds in its own name, but will provide strategic vision, planning and development programs for the funding of the primary Archdiocesan missions.  As is now the case with the ministries and related agencies of the Archdiocese, BCDS will be responsible to the Archbishop, who will have final oversight authority.

Consistent with the Cardinal’s commitment to financial transparency, each year BCDS will account for its financial activities from the previous fiscal year.

I hope this answers some of your questions.  Please continue to check www.bostoncatholic.org in the days and weeks ahead for additional information.

Thank you,

First off, we view it as a big sign of progress that at least we and other readers got a response!  Terry, if you are reading this post, we do appreciate you taking the time to write back and we appreciate the archdiocesen leadership having taken the time and effort to formulate the response.

Did it answer all of our questions?  Not really, but it is a start.  Here is what we still do not know the answers to:

  • With your June press release/announcement, the archdiocesan leadership knowingly deceived the public into believing there was an open search for this position when there really was not. Do you disagree?
  • Why is it so difficult for the archdiocesan leadership to operate with integrity?
  • What exactly was the problem with accountability to the Archdiocese of Boston before which this now solves?
  • Who–by name of individual–will this be accountable to going forward?
  • What is the new entity independent of?
  • Who is on the “newly established Board of Trustees”?

Another reader copied us on their message, where they asked the following to members of the Archdiocesan cabinet and Cardinal O’Malley:

  • Is the archdiocese denying that there was deception?
  • Who exactly on the Cabinet knew this was a fake search?  When exactly did they know?
  • Who would be in charge of appointing an independent ethics commission to investigate this further?
  • What will the consequences be to the people who knowingly engaged in this deception?
  • How can the archdiocese claim that “transparency and accountability” are important steps in healing the Church of Boston and “rebuilding the trust of the people of this Archdiocese” and then destroy trust by engaging in deception?

So, we do not think the Driscoll affair is yet over.  At the same time, we are not holding our breath waiting for answers to these questions.

It is not Terry Donilon’s job at this point to justify and explain the “sham search” and deception which was carried out by others (though we hope he will stop sending up smokescreens any more by referring to “unfounded claims” on the blog).

Just as a reminder, the people mainly behind this whole development change were the Chancellor (Jim McDonough) and Jack Connors.  Those who knew about and/or were actively involved in the deception on the cabinet included the Chancellor and the Vicar General.  In our post “Diocesan Deception and Coverup?” we gave more details about how Cardinal O’Malley and others knew, and how this deception was propagated to clergy and everyone in the archdiocese.

The Code of Canon Law (Can 482 §2) says “The chancellor and notaries must be of unimpaired reputation and above all suspicion.” Can. 494 §1 says, “In every diocese, after having heard the college of consultors and the Finance council, the bishop is to appoint a Finance officer who is truly expert in Financial affairs and absolutely distinguished for honesty.”

Has the current Finance officer of the Archdiocese of Boston, who, coincidentally, is approaching the end of his 5-year team, “distinguished himself” for the attributes mentioned in Canon Law”?  If not, what do you think should be done about that?

VOTE TODAY: Poll on Sham Search and Merger of all Catholic Fundraising

November 3, 2010

This being election week, today is your chance to vote a second time in one week–from the comfort of your home or office at your computer.  As we continue wrapping our hands around the implications of the governance crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston–namely, the sham search that named Kathleen Driscoll as Secretary for Institutional Advancement and the decision to combine all archdiocesan fund-raising into one “independent” entity, we decided we would invite you to share your views with the blog and all readers via a short public poll. It will take you less than a minute.  If you already know the story, scroll down directly to the survey.

To ground yourself in all of the details, ideally you should read our first two posts, “Biggest Archdiocesan Sham Search Now Announced” and “Dismantling the Diocese.” But we will briefly give you the facts and high points:

Summary of Situation

In mid-June the Archdiocese announced a search committee, led by Jack Connors, to help pick a new head of development. The search committee never interviewed candidates.  On August 23, this blog first reported on the deception and asked Cardinal O’Malley, the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council to discuss the search and disclose the truth about the search. On August 25, the name of Kathleen Driscoll was posted in comments to this blog as the chosen candidate. The priests and laity of the archdiocese were informed about this on Monday, November 1, nearly 5 months after the open search was announced. Sources tell the blog that Kathleen Driscoll was chosen for the position even before the search was ever announced.

The announcement says “Kathleen will be responsible for leading, directing and managing a new independent development organization, Boston Catholic Development Services (BCDS)…A newly established Board of Trustees will provide oversight and some of its members will include member(s) of, the Archdiocese, the Campaign for Catholic Schools and Catholic Charities (if they choose to join). BCDS will also be accountable to the respective boards representing the entities they serve such as the Archdiocese, the Clergy Fund and Campaign for Catholic Schools.

No mention is made of who approved this, and what exactly the problem with accountability to the Archdiocese of Boston was before that this change now ostensibly solves?  What is this new organization independent of?  Is it independent of the Roman Catholic Church? No mention is made about who is on the “newly established Board of Trustees” that will provide oversight and who is responsible for appointing them.  Which “board” from the archdiocese will the new BCDS be accountable to?  Are they not accountable to the Archdiocese Corporation Sole?

The implications of this are huge and we want to hear what you think about this.  So for the rest of the day on Thursday, we have a survey comprised of 5 polling questions for you to complete below.  No IP addresses or identifying information about you is captured.  You can vote only once from your computer.  Just vote on the 5 questions, and the results will be displayed instantly.

Polls are open until midnight EST on Thursday, November 4.  Thanks for taking the time to weigh in and share your thoughts on these issues with Boston Catholic Insider readers and bloggers. If you have further comments, please just post them as comments below.

Dismantling the Diocese?

November 2, 2010

We normally try to focus on just presenting you with the factual information you cannot find elsewhere, but today is a bit of an exception. Please read our post from yesterday “Biggest Boston Archdiocesan Sham Search Yet Now Announced” to get the foundation for today’s post.

In Sean P. O’Malley’s first message to us after he was named Archbishop of Boston, he spoke in inspirational terms using the words of St. Francis about “rebuilding the Church” in Boston. In the opinion of these bloggers, yesterday’s news about the naming of Kathleen Driscoll as the new Secretary of Institutional Advancement feels not like a step forward in rebuilding the Church, but rather the next step in dismantling of what was once a great archdiocese. It also confirms a leadership vacuum, governance crisis and lack of integrity from archdiocesan leaders that should be troubling for everyone in Boston and across the country and world, as what is happening here could readily happen elsewhere and may be happening without people realizing it.

On the positive side of rebuilding the Church, the sexual abuse cases looming over us in 2003 have largely been settled, parish closings and “reconfiguration” were necessary and had been anticipated well before the sexual abuse crisis hit, we have faithful dedicated priests and religious, the central archdiocesan budget is balanced, the clergy retirement fund has at least been stabilized, the seminary (with what remains of their original space) is thriving, and we hear that vocation efforts are also doing well relative to recent years.

However, the news of yesterday confirms a troubling reality.  Behind the scenes in the “rebuilding of the Church” and now coming front-and-center have been a sell-off of the seminary property and buildings against a Vatican committee’s recommendations, the sell-off of Catholic healthcare, conflicts of interest, pushing-out of long-term employees committed to the mission of the Church in favor of paying 6-figure salaries to people not committed to the Church, deceit and deception, corruption, a culture of retaliation against people who speak out, squandering of donations, throwing the fine reputations of outstanding priests under the bus (along with their ministry), possible violations of canon law so the archdiocese can grab and move around money at will, undermining of Catholic education, reneging on previous promises of pension benefits to long-time  employees, and much more.  With yesterday’s news, you can add an abdication of episcopal authority to the list.

For every one step forward taken in rebuilding, the deceit from the highest levels and clear dismantling of the Church makes it feel to this writer like we take several steps backwards.

Please take some time to read both the post from yesterday “Biggest Boston Archdiocesan Sham Search Yet Now Announced”and especially the comments from our well-informed readers.  There are at least 5 things every Catholic should be concerned about.

1) Deception about the search.

In mid-June we were all publicly told there was a search committee formed to fill the role.  In reality, there never was a search.  The search committee members, priests and every Catholic in the diocese were deceived.  As best as we can determine, that deception has been known for months at minimum by Cardinal O’Malley, Vicar General Fr. Erikson, Fr. Bryan Hehir, Chancellor Jim McDonough, HR Director Carol Gustavson, and Jack Connors.  Why do we know that? Simple–they knew they were not interviewing any candidates.  There is more, but that is for a future post.  How can anyone believe a word that comes from these people about anyting in the future when they were all a part of the deception?  Catholics deserve an explanation and a public apology for this deception and violation of trust.

2) Why the choice of Kathleen Driscoll?

We do not know Kathleen Driscoll and are not judging or criticizing her on a personal basis.  She did fund-raising for the Campaign for Catholic Schools for about 3 years.  We hear in the PR that they raised $58 million.  We know that $15 million of that came in a one-time special grant from the Yawkey Foundation, so the net is she raised more like $43 million from donors.  That’s about $15 million/year.  The previous staff at the Catholic Foundation that met or exceeded their goals every year since 2003 was doing that amount.  What makes Kathleen any better than them?  By the way, the Catholic Schools campaign has failed to hit its goal of raising $70 million by the end of 2010.  The reward for failing to hit your goal is now putting the person who didn’t hit the goal in charge of raising vastly more than they have ever done before.  How’s that compute?

3) How does a newly established 501(c) (3) organization for fund-raising ensure donors of “independence” and “accountability”?

From the Vicar General’s email and press announcement we learned the following:

Kathleen will be responsible for leading, directing and managing a new independent development organization, Boston Catholic Development Services (BCDS)…The newly established 501(c) (3) organization will ensure donors of independence and accountability.”

Who approved this?  What exactly was the problem with accountability to the Archdiocese of Boston before which this now solves?  Who will this be accountable to going forward?  Jack Connors?  Whom else?  What is it independent of?  The Catholic Church?

Here is who they say they will be accountable to:

A newly established Board of Trustees will provide oversight and some of its members will include member(s) of, the Archdiocese, the Campaign for Catholic Schools and Catholic Charities (if they choose to join). BCDS will also be accountable to the respective boards representing the entities they serve such as the Archdiocese, the Clergy Fund and Campaign for Catholic Schools.

For any Catholic who supports the mission of the Church and for any donor, this sounds downright scary.  There are a host of canonical and governance  issues we are not prepared to go into today.  But here is who they might draw from if they tap the Catholic Charities board: James Brett, (buddy of Jack Connors and Fr. Bryan Hehir on the search committee for the new MCC head, and part of the Hanover crowd of cronies), Kevin Driscoll (familiar last name), Fr. Bryan Hehir, Jeff Kaneb (whose wealthy daddy helped him get on the CC board and whose daddy is also Vice Chair of the finance council and board of Partners), Vicar General Fr Richard Erikson,  and Michael Sheehan (CEO of Hill Holliday and another buddy of Jack Connors).

4) What is going to happen to the Catholic Foundation assets and Catholic Appeal contributions?

This most recent annual report for the Catholic Foundation shows net assets of about $36 million. This comes mostly from people having given to specific endowments (e.g. St. Johns Seminary, named high schools, trusts) and the funds are either permanently restricted ($15.3M) or temporarily restricted ($18.2M) for that purpose. About $15.5M is designated for “RCAB Corporation Sole.”  This writer does not yet understand to what extent the monies I gave to the annual appeal were spent in the year they were given (which typically happens with most of the donations to fund operations) and to what extent some of that money was put in the bank in previous years as part of this endowment asset.  I thought my contributions were going to specific causes I knew about and supported within the archdiocese.  I gave to Catholic schools separately when called upon and when I wanted to.  Now it is unclear how much of that $15.5M designated for Corporation Sole or how much of the other temporarily restricted funds upon expiration of the restriction will get glommed together in one big pool to go wherever they have red ink.  Who is to say that if the Campaign for Catholic Schools has to pay back the $20 million loan from the archdiocese to pay for Jack Connors’ $70 million school in Dorchester–where it was known from the get-go there was not enough of a Catholic population to sustain it–they will not now draw on some of the “Corporation Sole” assets? Every donor should be concerned over this. 

5) Who is really in charge of the Archdiocese of Boston?

Our readers have been asking this question for months.  In our second blog post, Inside the Archdiocese of Boston back on June 23, we said the following about Cardinal O’Malley:

Top of the organizational chart, at least on paper….Existing commitments to Vatican committees, his own blog posts, and increasing travel during the next year as apostolic visitor to Dublin all give a message that his role in Boston is apparently becoming more ceremonial in nature.

This announcement says it is much worse than what we wrote in June, and even worse than just the detached “float above it all” governance style and excessive hands-off delegation of key responsibilities we hear complaints about all the time.  With all fund-raising now turned over to Jack Connors’ designee, it is impossible not to conclude that the diocese is actually being run by the people pictured in the pink box. (click on the graphic to enlarge)

Based on what we have documented on this blog, do you think the agendas of the people pictured in that pink box are always the mission of the Catholic Church–salvation of souls and carrying forth the healing ministry of Jesus Christ–and advancing the better good of the Archdiocese of Boston? Does anyone else thing the diocese is moreso being dismantled rather than rebuilt?

There may be more than 5 areas for concern but that was our first pass.  Comments and reactions to our portrayal of the current situation are most welcome via comments to this post, confidential emails (bostoncatholicinsider(at)gmail.com) or via the Contact Us page.

Biggest Boston Archdiocesan Sham Search Yet Now Announced

November 1, 2010

NEWSFLASH: We have been writing about the sham search for the Secretary for Institutional Advancement/Development since August 23 (see our Open Letter to Cardinal O’Malley) and word that the “fix was in” for an insider first appeared here on August 25 when someone posted Kathleen Driscoll’s name to the blog.  We posted our confirmation of this officially on September 27, in Sham Search #1. Cabinet officials including Vicar General Richard Erikson, Communications Secretary Terry Donilon, and others who have been discrediting this blog for “unfounded claims” for months should take a serious look in the mirror today because Boston Catholic Insider readers, the chickens have now come home to roost.  The Archdiocese has just announced, guess who?  Jack Connors’ former Hill Holliday exec Kathleen Driscoll is the new Secretary for Institutional Advancement!

If you did not yet believe there was a grave governance crisis in the Archdicoese of Boston, let it be known–there is a very serious governance crisis.  It is so serious that for the first time, we believe our readers need to be alerting the U.S. Papal Nuncio and Congregation of Bishops in Rome about the gravity of the crisis.

To priests and religious, pastors, donors, laypeople, Pastoral Center or parish employees, “Joe Average” Catholic in the pews, how does it feel to be lied to by the highest levels of the Boston Archdiocese about this search?

We were told the following on June 16: “The Archdiocese of Boston announced the appointment of a search committee to help in the selection of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation. Jack Connors (Chair), Jane Mancini-Puliafico (Vice-Chair), Fr. Bryan Parrish, Kevin Gill, Jack McCarthy, Fr. Robert Murray and Fr. Brian Kiely.  How did these fine people help in the search?  The search committee members who all brought outstanding reputations and many years of dedicated serve to the Archdicoese were deceived by the archdiocese into thinking there was a legitimate search. It’s like a reality TV show or movie.  They were all used by the Archdiocese–including Cardinal O’Malley, Jack Connors, Chancellor McDonough, and Vicar General Richard Erikson–as cast members in the story to create an illusion and convince the rest of us there was a real search underway.

Below is the announcement from Vicar General Richard Erikson that just came out.  What is going on is so scary, we are surprised they did not send it out yesterday, on Halloween.   After you read it and start to ask questions like, “If they deceived me about this, what else will they deceive me about?”, perhaps you might want to watch the trailer from “The Truman Show” found below.

First, here is the email that just came out from Vicar General Richard Erikson:

Good morning,

I am pleased to inform you that Cardinal has appointed Kathleen F. Driscoll as Secretary for Institutional Advancement/Chief Development Officer for the Archdiocese of Boston.  In this role, Kathleen will be responsible for leading, directing and managing a new independent development organization, Boston Catholic Development Services (BCDS).  Kathleen starts her new role immediately and will serve on the Cardinal’s cabinet.

An experienced marketing and communications professional, Kathleen is very familiar to us in the Archdiocese.  She has led the Campaign for Catholic Schools (CCS) raising over $50 million and recently co-chaired the Priest Appreciation Dinner which raised $1 million for our clergy funds.  A resident of Hingham, MA, she is a committed Catholic and, among her board activities, is a member of Women Affirming Life.

Please join us in welcoming Kathleen and the BCDS to the good work of the Archdiocese of Boston.  We pray for her success and that of the BCDS and extend our full support in this endeavor.

Following is the press release announcing the appointment.


Fr. Erikson

Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Ph.D., V.G.
Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia
Archdiocese of Boston
Pastoral Center
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184
Phone: 617-746-5619
Fax: 617-783-2947
Email: vicar_general@rcab.org
Please consider a gift to the Catholic Appeal at www.BostonCatholicAppeal.org




New Development Strategy Established to Meet the Needs of the Catholic Community

Braintree, MA — Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley today announced the appointment of Kathleen F. Driscoll as Secretary for Institutional Advancement/Chief Development Officer.   In this role, Ms. Driscoll will be responsible for leading a new effort that will broaden the development strategy of the Archdiocese and form a new independent shared services organization. Ms. Driscoll undertakes her new role immediately and will serve on the Cardinal’s cabinet.

Cardinal Seán said, “I am pleased that Kathleen Driscoll has accepted our invitation to be the new Secretary for Institutional Advancement.  Kathleen is a talented professional who is deeply committed to the Catholic faith.  She is distinguished by her breadth of experience, ability to develop and implement strategic planning and success in raising needed funds for our Catholic schools.  Further testimony of her commitment to the Catholic Church was her recent work as co-chair of the Priest Appreciation Dinner.”

Ms. Driscoll said, “I am honored to have the confidence and support of Cardinal Seán, Fr Erikson and others on the Archdiocesan management team as I undertake this new and exciting position within the Archdiocese.  I look forward to serving the priests, religious, deacons and lay members of the local Church. We share the same goal in implementing a new and effective development strategy that supports our parishes, schools, and ministries of the Archdiocese.”

Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Vicar General & Moderator of the Curia, said, “I join Cardinal Seán in welcoming Kathleen to this important ministry.  I have had the privilege to work with Kathleen in my nearly five years as Vicar General. She has demonstrated exceptional insight in her work and a strong commitment to Christ and His Church.  These and many other wonderful traits and experiences make Kathleen ideally suited to lead our new development effort. We count on the generosity of the faithful to continue the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.  I am certain, under Kathleen’s leadership and with the generosity of our benefactors, we will continue to provide pastoral and spiritual guidance and care for our Catholic community today and for future generations of Catholics.”

Cardinal Seán added, “I want to thank Kevin Kiley for serving as Interim Secretary for Institutional Advancement.  He has done an extraordinary job balancing his many responsibilities and we are very grateful for his commitment to the Archdiocese.”


Kathleen F. Driscoll

A highly respected and successful marketing, communications and development professional with thirty years of experience, Ms. Driscoll has served as the President of the Campaign for Catholic Schools (CCS) since 2008.  The CCS is a nonprofit organization established in 2007 as an outgrowth of the 2010 Initiative, a major strategic planning effort aimed at rebuilding and revitalizing the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. CCS operates as a donor-advised fund of the Archdiocese and has raised more than $58 million to date for three significant reform models in education – Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton and Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester/Mattapan and South Boston Catholic Academy.

In addition to her professional experience, Ms. Driscoll is a member of Women Affirming Life, serves on the board of Catholic Charities, Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy, and co-chaired the recent Priest Appreciation Dinner which raised $1 million for the clergy funds.

Prior to her position at CCS she worked at John Hancock Financial Services, first as Vice President of Corporate Communications and later as Senior Vice President, Brokerage Sales. Previously Ms. Driscoll was employed at Hill, Holiday, Connors, Cosmopoulos, Inc., the nationally acclaimed advertising and communications firm. She left there as a  Senior Vice President/Group Director.  Earlier she worked in New York City at McCaffrey & McCall and Benton & Bowles advertising companies.  She began her career as an elementary school teacher.

New Development Strategy Established

In order to strengthen and enhance the resources needed to fulfill the mission we received from Jesus Christ and His Church the Archdiocese is establishing a more effective, coordinated and strategic development approach.  The new entity, Boston Catholic Development Services (BCDS) will streamline the fundraising strategies of the Archdiocese. It will initially serve as the development office for the Archdiocese, the Clergy Funds and the Campaign for Catholic Schools. BCDS will provide dedicated development professionals and strategies for the Appeal, the ministries and programs of the Archdioceses, the initiatives of Campaign for Catholic Schools and the Clergy Fund.

The newly established 501(c) (3) organization will ensure donors of independence and accountability. A newly established Board of Trustees will provide oversight and some of its members will include member(s) of, the Archdiocese, the Campaign for Catholic Schools and Catholic Charities (if they choose to join). BCDS will also be accountable to the respective boards representing the entities they serve such as the Archdiocese, the Clergy Fund and Campaign for Catholic Schools.

So, beyond the “mother of all sham searches” now having been completed, the Archdiocese is now merging all of the fund-raising entities together. Never mind the widow’s mite–they want to go after all of the deep-pocketed donors from one entity.  Is no one concerned about the effect of Jack Connors and his cronies having a further financial stranglehold over archdicoesan decision-making across multiple aspects of how the Catholic Church in Boston operates? Is this another $300K+ salary?  Who made this decision, and when was it made?  Did this come to the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council for discussion and input?

If you are sick and tired of the deceit and deception by the leadership of the Boston Archdiocese, so are we.  We will prepare a letter you can send off to the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, but if you can’t contain your anger, feel free to send him an email today at nuntiususa@nuntiusa.org.

In the meantime, perhaps people would like to prayerfully ponder what it feels like to be the character played by Jim Carrey in “The Truman Show.”

Yes folks, as best as we can determine, Jack Connors wrote the story, and Cardinal O’Malley, Jack Connors, Chancellor Jim McDonough, and Vicar General Richard Erikson helped produce and direct the movie.  The star actor was Jack Connors (Chair), and they pulled in as extras Jane Mancini-Puliafico (Vice-Chair), Fr. Bryan Parrish, Kevin Gill, Jack McCarthy, Fr. Robert Murray and Fr. Brian Kiely who unknowingly were deceived into helping create the illusion.  We understand they are all miffed, but they will not talk to us about it.  You, me, priests and religious, all donors, old, young, rich, poor, Pastoral Center and parish workers–we are all the character played by Jim Carrey in “The Truman Show” who was convinced something was real for a while, and then suddenly realized the story was a charade.

What do you think the consequences should be for the people who wrote this story and helped produce and direct the movie?

Terry Donilon Sham Search: Part 2

October 21, 2010

In follow-up of our last post about the sham search that selected Terry Donilon as secretary of communications, we received a lot of emails and comments from readers.

Some people were even more troubled about how things really work in the Boston Archdiocese.  Some said it proved things they suspected.  And some asked how they can be sure what we wrote about it being a “sham search” was true. Today we give you some more details to explain how we know it was a “sham search.” 

For clarification, when we say “sham search” we are not referring to one where several qualified candidates were interviewed by all members of a committee, the best person from a pool of candidates was selected, and somebody who was interviewed and beaten out for the job with an axe to grind is using this blog to air their gripes.  We are talking of situations such as where resumes of qualified candidates never made it to committee members, committees never met, qualified candidates could not get an interview, the candidate was chosen before the search committee ever convened, and/or search committee members had known conflicts of interest but still were allowed to play a key role in the selection process.

Though we cannot publicly identify the individuals by name, we know of several people who applied for the Communications job when it was open in early 2005. Among the people who applied when Terry Donilon was hired was a person who was head of public relations for a Boston-area organization with a national reputation. This person was also a devout Catholic, served on their local parish council and genuinely wanted to be in a setting where their considerable skills could be used in a Catholic organization. They also were excited about the chance to support an archbishop who seemed at the time like he could turn things around after the meltdown of 2002. The person knew this would require a pay cut and was OK with that.

When the person was not able to get an interview for the job and learned their resume had not made it to the search committee, they called the Chancery to find out why, and were told they would get a call back. Of course they never did get that call back.  (As an aside, we were roaming past the HR department in the Pastoral Center recently and snapped this photo of someone in HR while their phone was ringing with calls from qualified applicants for positions).  Anyway, this person applying for the communications job later learned their resume had never even made it to the search committee. Why? Look at the title of the blog post for the two words that start with “S.” How many people were never considered? We do not know.

The #2 position, Director of Communications, was created later in 2005 in order to get someone articulate, knowledgeable about the Church, with good spelling and communications skills, and who could travel with the Cardinal to deal with news media at bishops conferences, in Rome, and elsewhere. In other words, to do a lot of what the first person hired was probably supposed to do, but was not capable of. This search was a legitimate one.

That same person applied again, and after someone ensured their resume got to the archbishop’s office (with a message it was a shame they were never given a chance in the first round) , the person was interviewed. The job went to a very qualified person, Kevin Shea, who had previously worked in PR for the Boston Red Sox for 14 years. So at least the person we referred to earlier was passed over for a legitimate reason. And their resume was later passed along to other Catholic agencies affiliated with the archdiocese with a positive recommendation.

As best as we can tell, Kevin Shea, was a “rock star” when it came to PR. Here’s the October 15, 2005 announcement, Kevin Shea Joins Archdiocese Communications Team. We are told by sources that he applied the first time and been spurned by Ann Carter in favor of Donilon, who came via the Larry Rasky/Donilon family connection. Kevin was young (under 40) and was very affable and articulate. He traveled to Rome with the archbishop when he was elevated to Cardinal in March 2006, and as you can see evidenced from this article, he set up the Cardinal’s tour of the Bridge of the Angels for reporters, and opened up access to reporters so Michael Paulson at the Boston Globe no longer had the exclusives. (Does anyone think it was just a coincidence that the cardinal made a point of showing off his “Red Sox” when he first met reporters after the consistory when his PR guy just so happened to have previously worked for the team?). Shea also played a key role starting the Cardinal’s blog coincident with Cardinal O’Malley’s October 2006 trip to Rome to take possession of his titular church. By the objective measures against which these bloggers can measure him, overall he did a very good job.

He also lasted only a little more than a year.

Here is the December 2006 announcement of him joining Boston College to become special assistant to BC President, Fr. Leahy, which means chief-of-staff and Fr. Leahy’s liaison within the University and to the larger community. Some of the best former assets of the Boston Archdiocese have gone to Boston College, courtesy of Jack Connors. In this case, we are told that the former Catholic Charities VP of external affairs, Jack Dunn, who had been at director of PR at BC since 1998, scooped-up Shea for BC at the request of Jack Connors.  It is a very important job, and makes Shea perhaps among the most influential lay employees at Boston College.

Why did he leave the Archdiocese of Boston?  Did it have anything to do with him perhaps being frustrated or frequently at odds with his less qualified boss, Mr. Donilon, who came in via a “sham search”?  How many other talented people like him have come and gone?  (For the record, we do not know Shea, nor have we ever met or communicated with him.  There is no bias or agenda here.  We are just recognizing that the guy was highly competent).

How many people have never been considered by Archdiocesan so-called “search” committees for jobs like his because it was “sham search”? How many qualified people were not considered this summer for the Secretary of Institutional Advancement role, or the Mass Catholic Conference Exec. Director position when Ed Saunders was hired by Fr. Bryan Hehir in 2005? How exactly did Mary Grassa O’Neill come to be hired at the $325,000 salary by a search committee whose full membership has never been disclosed publicly? We recently heard from a very qualified faithful Catholic who has applied for 3 positions at the archdiocese this year, been told they would be interviewed for at least one, and then rejected without the interview. (Here are several more photos we snapped in the HR department and Chancellor’s suite at 66 Brooks Drive when we told them we were from Boston Catholic Insider and wanted to talk to them about sham searches). 


How many extremely qualified lay people are serving today on the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council or have served in the past, and whose tremendous talents could benefit this archdiocese in a full-time role with great positive impact to the Catholic Church, but who are never considered or asked to apply? How many qualified people refuse to even apply for a position because they know that most, if not all of the searches, are rigged by the time they begin? How many highly competent people have been employed by the archdiocese but were allowed to slip away? How many capable, experienced people who wanted to serve the Catholic Church were pushed out by the Connors/Hehir/McDonough regime and the cronies they have brought in since 2005 and replaced by 6-figure salaried people who did not care one whit about serving the Church and advancing her saving mission?

So here we sit. The Boston Archdiocese still has Terry. And the sham searches continue.

Sham Search: Terry Donilon

October 19, 2010

For the benefit of newer readers who think “sham searches” is something new for the Boston Archdiocese with the soon-to-be-publicly-announced appointment of the new Secretary for Institutional Advancment, Kathleen Driscoll, we thought we would mention that the Boston Archdiocese has gotten this down to practically a science over the years (or down to an art form, depending on how you look at it).

Terry Donilon, Secretary for Communications, was the first such “sham search’ under Cardinal O’Malley.  Ann Carter, of PR firm Rasky Baerlein, led the search.  Note the immediate conflict of interest of a vendor paid by the archdiocese hiring the person who would manage their services and decide on their continuing employment.  But that is not what makes it a “sham search”–here at Boston Catholic Insider, we hold the standards for a “sham search” much higher than that.

What makes this one a sham search is that Ann Carter is CEO of Rasky Baerlein, where the founder and Chairman is Larry Rasky, who coincidentally has known the Donilon family for years from his political work starting with the Joe Biden campaign back in 1988.  Here’s a blurb from the Boston Globe giving the history.

The two older brothers and a sister-in-law of archdiocesan spokesman Terrence C. Donilon (right) are all expected to land high-ranking posts in the Obama administration. Terry is the youngest of four Donilon siblings; his brother Mike has been named counselor to the vice president, his brother Tom is expected to become deputy national security adviser, and Tom’s wife, Cathy Russell, has been named chief of staff to Biden’s wife Jill. Interestingly, the Donilons are not the cardinal’s only connection to Biden — the archdiocese retains as public relations consultants the firm of Rasky Baerlein, headed by Larry Rasky, who served as Biden’s campaign spokesman in 2007 and in 1988. (Biden will be the first Catholic vice president, but is also viewed warily by some bishops because he, like Obama, supports abortion rights.)

In Politico Friday, Alexander Burns wrote about Tom and Mike Donilon and Cathy Russell. An excerpt:

“How has this trio ended up so close to the center of an administration promising an infusion of new blood? There are a number of reasons, but the most important is Joe Biden. ‘Cathy goes back 20 years with Joe Biden, and Mike goes back even longer on campaigns; Tom goes back more than 20 years,’ said a friend of the Donilon family who asked not to be named. ‘They stayed very close over the years with the Bidens, so that’s part of it.’ In a news release, the transition team noted that Mike Donilon had advised the Delaware senator since the early 1980s, and both Tom Donilon and Cathy Russell worked on Biden’s 1988 presidential run.”

Tom Donilon was recently named National Security Advisor to President Obama, who coincidentally was in town this past weekend for a fund-raiser at the Newton home of Caritas Christi CEO Ralph de la Torre.  Everyone is asking us if we attended the event, but unfortunately we were not invited.  (Just for kicks, compare the background of Tom Donilon as National Security Advisor vs that of his predecessor, Gen. James L. Jones. But we digress…)

As we reported in Conflicts of Interest: Part I, back in 2005 Ms. Carter was on the search committee that selected Communications Secretary, Terry Donilon–the position that would determine when she was retained, how often and for how many hours she was retained, and what she and her firm would be paid. She was quoted in the Boston Globe on April 15, 2005 in their announcement of Donilon’s appointment saying, “Terry Donilon is an experienced communicator who loves the church.”   The person quoted in such announcements is usually the person who led the search.  We are told that resumes of far superior candidates interested in the job never made it to the full search committee.  People inside the archdiocese familiar with Terry’s work indicate that he is spelling-challenged and writing-challenged, and just about every press release or statement requires the attention and spin of Fr. Bryan Hehir and Ann Carter. 

In the absence of a graphic, just to recap, here is how it worked for the search.  Ann Carter worked with Larry Rasky, who knew the Donilon brothers from politics.  Donilon brother, Terry, coincidentally was looking for a job after doing PR for Shaws Supermarkets, and by coincidence, Ann Carter was leading the search for the Communications role at the archdiocese at the same time.  Other more experienced superior candidates were just never considered.  We call this a “sham search.”   See how it works?  Usually the press release announcing the result of the sham search says something about the person chosen being “an experienced blah-blah-blah…who loves the Church.”

This has been repeated and refined a number of times now. The people involved in these are the same names you have heard over and over–Fr. Bryan Hehir, Chancellor Jim McDonough, Jack Connors, and Cardinal O’Malley who is ultimately responsible and accountable over these people on his senior team.   Does this give you confidence in the direction of the Boston archdiocese?

We are interested to see how it will be spun any day now for the Secretary of Institutional Advancement with a quote from Jack Connors and the Cardinal.

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