Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Difficult decisions"

In an All Saints Parish Bulletin article dated July 25, 2010 and titled "For Generations to Come," Deacon Dean Condon mentions the recent layoffs of Alene Goodman and Eleanor Black. He says, "A few weeks ago, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions that any responsible leader ever has to make. I had to do what was one necessary step to reduce expenses. While I prayed long and hard about what to do, after reviewing all the options, I did what has been done four times in the recent past; I laid off two dedicated employees. This was heart-wrenching to me and to those who have worked along side these people. Both were wonderful long-term employees who have done great work. I encourage you to pray for them and help them in any way possible during this difficult time."

While I appreciate the deacon's understanding of "difficult decisions that any responsible leader ever has to make" it would seem a bit strange to describe as responsible the manner in which the layoffs were actually carried out.

Deacon Dean describes the employees as "dedicated", "wonderful long-term employees who have done great work." Yet, he declines, in two Bulletin communications, to even name them. Decades of service to our parish, to the parishioners, and these two employees merit nothing further than a nameless mention with an exhortation to pray and help them? Most of us wouldn't even know how to get in touch with them outside of their work phones and email, which were made unavailable the day they were laid off.

No opportunity for parishioners to thank them. No good-bye parties, no career highlights, photos or trips down  memory lane. Nothing. Literally. Nothing. Is that what the layoff of "dedicated", "wonderful long-term employees who have done great work" looks like?

God forbid!

48 comments:

  1. This bulletin article is a carefully scripted attempt to calm a disgruntled community. Please, Dean, do not pretend to have agonized over the dismissal of Alene. Few are buying what you are trying to sell.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it has been well said. But you see, this is an act of cowardice..no conscience..no guilt..no shame...and anyone who condones this behavior is likewise the same type of individual..sad but true.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Deacon Dean states: "I did what has been done 4 times in the recent past, I laid off 2 dedicated employees". I state: "You did what has never been done in the past, you laid off the most influential, kid-friendly, faith centered, family focused and experienced employeee in the parish." What in the heck is going on?????? Alene- you are in our prayers. Be strong and be confidant.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why doesn't Dead just resign to save some money? Can't the priest do what he is pretending to do?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Has anybody talked to anyone from the Diocese? Are letters effective? What about a petition? There must be a proceedure to get someone removed from leadership. From what I am hearing, there are but a handful of people who support the current leadership, there must be a way to make our voices heard. This website is fine for venting and sharing information, but will it do anything to change what needs to be changed? I read someplace where a parish "bought" about change. They actually collected donations to entice their pastoral administrator to resign. Sounds crazy but it really happened.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is it true that the parish maintainance workers vacuum the Deacon's home on Wednesdays? Can we afford this luxury?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anybody have the figures for money spent in the music area in the past four years? Bet we would be astounded with this figure. Perhaps the priorities are out of order.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Does anyone have information from the previous parish he was at to see if this same type of nonsense was carried out there and what they did about it? Maybe that's why we ended up with him.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Maybe we should nicely ask Deacon Dean to leave, in light of all the division and controversy? maybe he wants out? It can't be fun for him either.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think you all are being a little less than charitable with Dean. Do you really think you know this situation well enough to pass such judgement?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't think it's about just one situation but accumulation of situations overall. I've been here 10 years and honestly, it hasn't been the same since Dean has been with All Saints. Maybe it's just not a good fit but if there's all this controversy, that's not healthy and I don't see how it's going to get better without new leadership.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Are people being uncharitable with Dean? Perhaps some are but the majority have been patient and tolerant for 4 years. He has failed. There is no point in sugar coating this. If the church were a democracy, he would not have been elected to a second term.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nobody is saying that Dean is a bad person but he is a bad pastoral leader. Hey, we have to know where our gifts are and where they AREN'T. It takes a bit of humility to accept this and until he does, he will continue to fail. Sorry- but this is the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  14. A cousin was a parishioner at the previous parish, I think it was called Guardian Angels or something like that. She left the parish and said that many others did. The same things happened there. There were problems with youth ministry. She said that dean was big into programs and it looked good in the bulletin but few attended anything. She said that there was a small group that followed his lead but most left. She also said that there were complaints to the diocese but nothing was done. I feel bad for all of you. We joined the ABC parish shortly after his arrival, no regrets, just feel bad that it has to be this way.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Where does the parish council reps. stand with all of this? It's difficult to believe that they are all supporting Deacon Dean. If they are, they aren't a good representation of the parish!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Who is passing judgment? The facts are the facts. The parish is in bad shape. Time for a change. Corning Inc or Dresser rand wouldn't sit by and watch their businesses go down the drain, does anybody think we should.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What you are sharing is the troubling truth, but it's possible that you are adding to the problem. Unless forced to do otherwise, leaders like Dean will move on when they have accomplished their goal. When they feel like their work is completed and they have created their legacy, they seek another challenge. In his case, to restore a parish. Reminding him publically that he is a failure could cause him to dig in deeper to prove that you are all wrong. He may never leave if this keeps up. Something to consider. Maybe you need to praise him a little more. Pat his back once in a while. Make him feel worthy of bigger and better.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Please keep from personally attacking others.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ok this is going to be tough...I also have been extremely hurt by the recent layoffs as well..I also considered leaving All Saints because of what has been going on. I have been involved in this parish since 2006 when I went through the RCIA process. Alene was and still is a great sprititual role model for me as well as many others. Yes this descision was horrible to make and now is the time when we MUST pull together as a parish and do what needs to be done. MOVE ON AND PROSPER!!!! If we dont do something to get our finanaces straight we will close! Do you want to see that? I dont!!! I am almost 100% sure that Alene and Eleanor would not want our parish to die. We must continue what Alene has done for the parish in a sort of "pass the torch" way. It is our turn to step up to the plate and take responsibility for our parish. We need to find new ways of raising money besides calendar club and get us out of this hole wee are in. Time to team up and get the job done!!!! I dont want our doors to close as much as the rest of you do so we need to do something FAST!!!!! God Bless you all and God Bless All Saints Parish!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Grantland Rice wrote:"For when the One Great Scorer comes
    To write against your name,
    He marks-not that you won or lost-
    But how you played the game".
    Grantland Rice, "Alumunus Football," Only the Brave and Other Poems, p. 144 (1941)

    It's quite the game being played..isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  22. How can we prosper when parishioners are leaving like the church is on fire???? And how can we persuade parishioners to stay when confidence in leadership is gone? The Church is MUCH bigger than All Saints parish! We can still be good Catholics and chose to not support current leadership. And by the way, I do believe that Alene Goodman removed her name from the parish roll the day that she was terminated. Who would blame her? She was treated in an un-Christlike manner.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Unfortunately the Diocese of Rochester has chosen to not address the leadership problem at All Saints Parish. It is their lack of action and their lack of response to pleas for help that has left parishioners with the impression that the only solution is to leave. We should pray that people who leave continue to practice their Catholic faith- in whatever location that nurtures them the most.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow- this is insightful. Discouraging too. Who would ever believe that the actions of one person could cause this much controversy.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Just to let you know the financial problems didnt start with deacon Dean..They were here when Sister Joan was here and before her. It is on going and we need to start doing something about it instead of griping

    ReplyDelete
  26. Can't really compare Dean and Sister Joan.When Sister Joan was the PA, there were twice as many people on staff and more buildings. We are down to bare bones and still can't collect enough to maintain. Not to grip but...the situation is much worse and whether you like it or not, is a reflection of leadership.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sister Joan knew enough to leave well enough alone!..no comparison what so ever

    ReplyDelete
  28. People won't make sacrifices with their $$$$$ unless they feel good about it. Ain't too many peopple feelin' good about anything in the parish these days!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am very mindful as I write that my words be pleasing to God but also contain some truthful sobering thoughts. We are warned that sins of the tongue are among the most devastating and so I have thought carefully about this whole matter. Because of the economic downturn, we have reached a pinnacle in our financial crisis not just in our parish but the community as a whole. There has been a lot of speculation over possible ways this could have been remedied based on the financial trajectory. Certainly there have been appeals for money and the main revenue comes from parish contributions. What is so disheartening is the manner in which Deacon Dean (and committee members) responded to these hardships. I am not in any position to say what Deacon Dean felt, perhaps he did feel some degree of anguish. I do not feel it is right to judge what he felt. My own faults stack to heaven. I do question why he did not impart some kind of compassion and 'sincere' gratitude? Definitely some of the puzzle pieces are missing. Something is being concealed somewhere. Also, there must have been other suggested recommendations on what to do with the financial situation. If not; they did not look very far.
    Surely, the first priority should be building a parish community which is on fire with sacred scriptures. Dull homilies that lack profound spiritual and Catholic insights are not helping. Spare me the canned jokes from internet sights. Certainly other churches have more 'bling' but we have the sacraments. I think we would all profit from doing a Novena to strengthen us and enlighten us such as the recitation of the Litany of Saints. Before anything else we need God's help. Maybe then we would be better prepared to delve deeper for answers. Is anyone going to the finance meetings considering the present state of things? It seems like an attempt to sweep things under the carpet. There should have been a confrontation a long time ago.

    ReplyDelete
  30. People from the parish do talk. This is something I recently heard. It should be addressed if only a rumor- the utility bill for the rectory is very high and some are concerned that there is no budget restrictions from the parish. While my kids are freezing in the winter and sweating in the summer, the rectory is toasty and cool and comfortable. Someone siad that there are as many as 8 air conditioning units. In my home,we can't afford to run ours often, so my kids whine but they are learning that money doesn't grow on trees. I heard that the utilites were something like $10,000 last year. The building is big and old but come on, that's a ton of money. Can we find out if this is a rumor or true? If it's not true, accurate numbers should be provided to dispel rumors. I did also confirm that Tracy from maintainance, vacuums the rectory every week. At my house, my kids help with the vacuuming.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have also heard these rumors and would like to know if they are accurate. All Saints is experiencing a mentality of "I didn't come here to serve, but to be served" And this is at the core of all issues.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Everyone,

    Can we try to keep it about impersonal issues as far as parish leadership? It's valid to talk about parish expenditures, but let's do it in a way that doesn't make it too personal. We all have a lot of pent up frustration about the layoffs and other issues.

    It is probably better to say that perhaps expenditures could be looked at again. If you want confirmation of things like the cost of maintaining the rectory at St. Mary's, I would request that information from the leadership.

    None of us can confirm or deny it here, and Deacon Dean has said he will not respond to anything at Saving Our Parish. Hence, it's probably better to ask the finance council or parish leadership outright about maintenance costs for the rectory.

    Thanks everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Parishioners must see the face of love in Deacon Dean and our Priests otherwise, the "preaching," devotional prayers, homolies, scriptural quotations, etc…. seem sterile and insincere, and serve to diminish and even discredit what they preach. It scares me that they don't want to be troubled with parishioner's concerns. What does this say about love and compassion? For sure financial concerns are serious and imminent, but what about concern for the people caught in the whirlwind.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Sad, sad, sad. But I admire how you folks are trying to educate and offer support. I would like to see more suggestions on how to move forward in a united effort. Perhaps contact the diocese for help or work with the parish council. This can't be the first time a parish has been divided in this way. There must be some sort of protocal for addressing issues of this magnitude. Praying for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  35. The Diocese is not oblivious of all that is happening here. They simply choose not to deal with it. Many letters have been sent over the years and contacts have been made but nothing comes of them other than a form letter thanking us for out time. In the meantime people are church hopping and going to other denominations.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I respect the office of Pastoral Administrator but there has to be some process to have concerns heard with out being stonewalled. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Has anybody asked to meet with deacon dean directly? Maybe if there was a large group willing to meet with him, he would get a better feel for the depth of the issues.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I agree if there is a concern go to Decon Dean directly and talk to him face to face. To me this is the only way you will get the correct answer.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Mark- I and others have met with dean numerous time, each time there was more and more frustration at his inability to hear what people are sharing. How many people will it take? How many times does he need to hear the message? I honestly don't think that his intentions are bad but the way he presents himself is offensive. It feels like he thinks his way is the only way and no matter how many times he is told that something isn't working, he proceeds. I never feel like I get the "correct answer" to the tough questions- it always feels like there is an agenda that is self-serving. But maybe soemone else can communicate better to him- I gave up months ago.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Mark- Have you attempted to communicate to Dean? If you were successful, please share in what ways and offer suggestions to the rest of us. This many people can't be wrong, there is a real problem with his leadership style.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I think it comes down to the meaning of leading a parish. Do the desires, beliefs, and concerns of parishioners have any value at all to the leadership? I think many people here would say no in this instance.

    ReplyDelete
  42. You guys can go back and forth 4-ever but it won't change the simple truth. Deacon Dean is a leader who has caused great loss and great division to the parish. This is not a reflection of him as a person but as a leader. The very fact that this website is becoming so popular is a testimony to the leadership crisis. The people of this community are good people. They are fair and they are loving. They have given Deacon Dean every opportunity to adjust and most have hoped for his success. His refusal to serve the people is the root of his problems.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Mark- Would a person in leadership at Corning Inc, who was causing the company to lose valuable business, employees and resources remain in position? I know it's hard and some people will say that th echurch does not operate like the business world does but we have an obligation to respond in the best interest of the church. The situation at All Saints calls for a change. It's tough, nobody likes to see someone who has devoted his life to the church fail. But maybe lessons have been learned and a fresh start would be good for all.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I had a face to face meeting with Deacon Dean. I told him everything that the people thought of him and his leadership. He more or less wanted to meet with me since he knew that me and my family uprooted and left the parish in wake of the FIRING of the two great women of the parish. I'm not sure if he did anything about it but as far as I know he is still in the role. Who knows?

    ReplyDelete
  45. Deacon Dean, is a wonderful person and a great asset to the Church. People that have said negative things about him. DO NOT KNOW HIM. He is a caring, loving human being.

    ReplyDelete
  46. The above comments on Deacon Dean are unjustified. He is doing his very best to serve God and the community. Most people don't know the full details of why two women were fired. Be good Christians and please don't judge him. He is a good man.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Those two women were not fired, they were laid off. We were told the layoffs were a financial decision, and fully agree with parish leadership that reduction in staff would greatly contribute to balancing the budget. The unfortunate thing is that DD laid off one of the most effective staff members--an individual who brought many new members into the Church.

    ReplyDelete
  48. i dont get it...

    ReplyDelete