Monday, November 8, 2010

Presentation Slides Online

The slides of the Oct. 31 presentation are online at

Realize that the presenters did a lot of talking in between slides, which means that those who view only the slides are getting a small snapshot of what was presented.

Also, we are in the process of getting some additional information to share from those professionals who looked at the financials. We will post that as it comes in. Basically, after looking at the financial statements, they agree that better stewardship would solve the financial problems. They also agreed that the financials as presented were convoluted and confusing, which could be a whole presentation in and of itself.

Financially speaking, the parish is not bankrupt. We are getting by, even with an inflated payroll (most parish's have around 11 or 12 employees, not 16 like we have). Also, there are other ways the budget could be cut that would strengthen our financial status without having to destroy any more churches.


  1. It's a shame that the diocese continues to promote the "advancement of the laity" at the cost of the fiscal solvency of our parishes.

  2. Cut staff? WHO? You people complain because Alene and Eleanor were cut and now you suggest staff cuts. Go figure. I'm serious, who do you think should be next?

  3. Very good a proposal, finally.

    1) Great idea trying to bring in people. The parish has held parish picnics, appreciation dinners, baseball games, open meetings and even donuts after mass and no one do you propose to change this? I mean they even just asked people to put name tags on at Church and that did not even go over well.
    2) I think this is very good, I am worried people are fund raised out. Assuming you will work with the Parish council to develop a Fund raising sub-committee to get things moving. Again this is not just a one year program, this is forever. Assuming the SOP team will lead this effort. I look forward to helping out with this.
    3) You have got to be kidding. This website and this anger was created when the Parish administration cut 2 staff members and now you want to cut 5 more, wow. Who do you have in mind to eliminate; I can think of 3 but miss the other 2. Good luck with this one!

    But again finally a proposal from the SOP, very good! We need the fund raising and parish social events to start now; I am assuming you will attend the next Parish Council which is on November 29th to get these programs moving.

  4. Since those who made the presentation at the Oct. 31 have no authority to make changes, it must be up to the parish staff and councils to implement any needed changes. They have rejected any and all ideas emanating from parishioners not directly involved in councils or on staff (and even some who are).

    Regarding the termination of Alene Goodman, this was inconsistent with the parish's stated goals of evangelizing. Alene was very effective in bringing in new members, so to choose to eliminate her was a sign that something else was going on.

    Again, why is our parish so special that we need 16 employees? Could it be because the staff is on all the councils/committees and ministries, that they control the direction of these groups, and that they delegate very little?

    Again, most parishes have 11 or 12 employees. If the parish is having trouble getting volunteers it might be time to start asking why and not blame parishioners exclusively for the situation.

    Glad to hear that the next meeting is on the 29th. Do you know if it will be an open meeting?

  5. Remember Deacon Jim and Ray do not get paid for their work. So the staff is really only 14.

  6. Always have open forums at all Parish Council meetings.

    So layoffs are only ok when the SOP approves of them, is that what you are saying?

    So you are going to sit back and do nothing and continue to hide behind your statements like: “They have rejected any and all ideas emanating from parishioners not directly involved in councils or on staff”. Have you ever come to the parish council with a formal plan for fund raising? You have only presented bullets that say we need to increase our fund raising efforts. Try pulling together a formal plan with a charter, with objectives, with teams…. something with a little rigor! I have said it before don’t present ideas, present a plan.

  7. 9:33 -- Went straight to the head honcho and staff/council heads with those proposals, friend. Not accepted. Where shall we then turn?

    The council open forums are 15 minutes. We want to be able to attend the meetings, to be informed. These closed sessions are improper unless personnel issues are being discussed. Why is parish business to be hidden from those whose time, talent, and treasure support the parish?

    It was the finance council that first recommended layoffs to the administrator. We parishioners are just telling him that more are needed.

    We got the employee count from the staff. I am assuming they did not count the two deacons. Even if they did, there is still plenty of room for more cutting, especially because of the service of the two unpaid deacons.

    Charters, objectives,, you are ambitious! How about if you get in touch with us and help organize such an effort. You sound like you know just how to do it...did you help out the staff and councils to plan and present the roll out and such?

  8. We can cut 1 maintanance person (they are both great and work hard) but we can't afford both, we can rely on volunteers or hire help for major projects. Families would sign up to cut grass and rake leaves and paint. Get the teens involved. Have working projects for the RCIA candidates and the confirmation class. All we would need is a good volunterr coordinator and I believe Deacon Ray has experience in this area.

    Get rid of one business person- Kathy or Barb. Really, we can't afford both of them and with a parish that is shrinking, they is no way to justify.

    Go back to a part-time youth minister. There are not enough kids involved to warrant a full-time position.

    Just these 3 moves, would cut at least $140,000 in wages and benefits.

    Add some fundraising and it is possible to save Saint Vincents and the parish.

  9. A few ideas:

    1. Northside Blodgett Middle School PTA used to make $10,000 profit a year selling scented candles.
    2. Have the occupants of St. Marys rectory pay rent.
    3. Also,have them pay the utilities.

  10. You can't even get people to go to Mass, but now you're going to get them to not only contribute more money, but also volunteer to cut the grass and serve as handy-men?

    Organizations, whether they be churches or school districts, can't rely on volunteers or donations. As a poster above pointed out, you shouldn't count on temporary donations or workers for permanent needs.

  11. Yes- The Pastoral Administrator should be paying rent. If not rent, at the minimal, utilities. And no more parish staff vacuuming the house or removing snow from their driveway. We are in a financial crisis and ALL must make sacrifices.

  12. Did you go to the leadership with a plan or just the ideas? Just ideas will not help, gotta come in with a full project plan, that way it shows you are serious. Ideas are great but need a solid plan.

    Why do you say the closed session of the parish council is improper, have you ever heard of executive sessions? Read the following maybe this will help: An executive session — sometimes called a closed meeting or an in camera session — is a useful tool for protecting and advancing the best interests of an organization. Executive sessions provide a venue for handling issues that are best discussed in private, for fostering robust discourse, and for strengthening trust and communication. Distinguished by their purpose and participants, executive sessions serve three core functions: (1) they assure confidentiality, (2) they create a mechanism for board independence and oversight, and (3) they enhance relationships among board members and with the chief executive. By the board and for the board, executive sessions enable the board to manage itself.

    Nothing is hidden just need time to discuss in private prior to opening up to the public.

    Be carefully pushing additional layoffs, may appear to be of more vindictive action rather than necessary action, stick with the fund raising plan.

    You have some very smart people on the SOP team work with them to layout the Fund raising project plan. But come in with a plan not just and idea!

  13. Sorry, but there are reasons for the sunshine laws in business. To always meet in executive session is certainly not the norm or to be desired on the part of any organization.

    I and many others here have worked in business, corporate and otherwise, for years, and know better. Transparency is always the best idea; executive sessions should only be on occasion and not the norm.

    Stop it already with the plan versus idea meme. Any of the ideas and yes, plans that were suggested and pitched can be easily implemented if the will on the part of the parish administration was there. It's not.

    Next steps? See the last slide on the presentation for the 31st.

  14. Post the staff members on the payroll and their accompanying salaries and satisfy everyone who wants to know. I am assuming "Freedom of Information Act" does not apply to the church? Oh, and by the way, who's fault is it that there aren't enough youth to warrant a full time youth minister? My understanding is that the FBI group had a full house on Sunday nite.

  15. 10:47 -- there are 1400 people going to mass every weekend, according to administration. Even though we've got lots of non-practicing Catholics, that number is nothing to sneeze at; so I reject your contention that people are not attending mass. The problem is the staff and councils are very insular; they have been relying on the same circle of people for years. The burnout rate must be spectacular. There are many others out there willing to help out. They need to be asked, they need to be listened to.

    And many, many nonprofits do indeed rely on a cadre of volunteers. For one local example, look at the Benjamin Patterson Inn and Museum. The vast majority of their workers are volunteers, including their board. They have three paid staff. This contention that you can't run on volunteers is frankly a bogus argument, especially when speaking about a religious organization. And if you can't rely on donations (or collections) then you all might as well throw in the towel. Collections are donations. Collections are what keeps the church doors open.

    and to 10:59 -- are you sure that the pastoral administrator is not paying rent? I believe you might want to confirm that with the Central Office. I have heard that a portion of the administrator's salary does indeed go to pay rent. Regarding utilities, I do not know about that.

    However, we have heard this numerous times here. We all know about the vacuuming. It doesn't need to be trotted out there ad nauseum. I would gladly vacuum and dust the rectory myself if it would save St. Vincent's.

  16. What facts are you going to send to the Bishop? Not sure I understand what you are going to send and what you are hoping to accomplish? Honestly answer these questions: Has the leadership done anything illegally? Have they not done a good job communicating to the parish of the plans? Have they not held open meetings to discuss the issues facing the church?

    If I were you I would stick to developing a Fund raising subcommittee, I think in the long run it will be more effective.

  17. I believe there would be many to volunteer and fundraise but don't want to be under the thumb of Dean. Everyone knows that committees can suggest and agree on many things but whether or not they are implemented comes down to him. We've heard this over and over again.

  18. The facts have been stated over and over, so not sure why you keep probing for more...

    Hoping to save St. Vincent's, as has been stated over and over...

    Has the leadership done anything illegal, you ask. Don't know and not our focus.

    They've done a poor job of communicating; even the Vicar General agreed with that. Communication has been after the fact and one-way, from the administration down.

    Are the open meetings you are referring to the rollout meetings in which we were told we could comment on what we liked and how to make it better; or are you referring to the 3x5 card question-and-maybe-they-will-answer meeting?

    Sorry, but as has been said before, the fundraising subcommittee was not well received. In fact, we were told at a facilities rollout meeting that it would take 2-3 years before a capital campaign could be put in place! That was courtesy of our finance council chairman.

  19. You say the facts have been stated over and over, but what are they? I am assuming you have a list you could issue?

    Would like to know how you would have handled the communications, what would you have done differently to make it more effective?

    As far as the Fund raising committee goes, I am sorry to keep saying this but you have not presented a formal plan….only ideas. You presented it at the small group meeting that was most likely in a heated discussion, what would you expect the response to be?

  20. You will have to glean the facts for yourself. When you track them down feel free to issue a list of them for us all...I will be happy to post it here.

    There are DOR guidelines that lay out how the process was supposed to go. The guidelines were not followed. Again, said this before. Go to DOR website to find them and do your own comparison.

    Again, since you are knowledgeable about formal plans, please be in touch with us and show us the way. We are grateful for any assistance in saving SV.

    Regarding what we expect of the response from administration...professionalism at the least. What would you expect?

  21. I will glean on my own, what do we do if I come up with a different list? But again if you are writing a letter to the Bishop you must already have a list?

    Will go to the DOR website and review, back to you!

    Again you have some smart people on the SOP team, work thru this quickly.

    If professionalism was offered up then professionalism is what I would expect in return.

  22. Working on the facilities plan for several years in secrecy was, I believe, the first mistake. Also, not sure why we don't elect parishioners and aim for a variety of viewpoints.

    You may disagree with some parishioners, and you may think their priorities are wrong. They may think the same about you. But we need to work together, or we will ALL suffer the consequences.

    SOP appeared at the parish council meeting in September. Some members rolled their eyes and laughed at them. That is just blatant disrespect and never appropriate.

    If you DO want to work together, then reach out to people. Even those you don't agree with, or those you feel have mistreated you. Try to listen. Try to find common ground. There's no downside to it.

  23. Anonymous said, "If professionalism was offered up then professionalism is what I would expect in return."

    Are you saying that professionalism is predicated on how others behave?

    Were you there? Do give us your account...

  24. Kinda like do unto others as you would have them do unto you! If one is not treated with respect how do you think one should be treated in return?

    Great idea about electing Parish council members, suggest that at the next council meeting. And while you are at the council meeting put your name on the list to run at the next opportunity!

  25. I'll take that as a yes. :-)

    I'm not sure your employer would agree with you on that one.

  26. Anonymous 3:59: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you does not fit your comments but as you say you will treat others with professionalism if they show it to you is really saying an eye for an eye ..... and I thought Jesus came to say and show otherwise.

  27. News flash: Parish staff is blogging.

  28. Wow I need help understanding how you feel my comments were disrespectful or unprofessional.

    Gretchen, you have it wrong! Missed it by a mile......sorry!

  29. Anonymous 5:10 -- I did not say your comments were disrespectful or unprofessional.

    I asked you, "Are you saying that professionalism is predicated on how others behave?" You replied, "If one is not treated with respect how do you think one should be treated in return?"

    I replied, "I will take that as a yes."

    How can you possibly accuse me of calling your comments disrespectful or unprofessional?

  30. Regarding a "plan or proposal" for fund-raising...which many "Anonymous'" commented about:

    How is it the parishioners "job" to create a proposal? That should be a staff or committee members responsibility. In the parishes I worked for if you were going to go over your budgeted did fund-raising. If the Liturgy committee needed to spend 12K on new altar clothes and they only had 5k in their budget, then they sold flower baskets, had luncheons or card parties to make up the difference. There wasn't a plan or a borrow an addage from Nike: "Just do it." (provided Fr. was okay with it) I know we are talking about a great deal more than 12K but, break it up and share the fund-raising load. Frankly, I don't know if you would want me to be on a fund-raising committee because, I believe in just jumping right in and getting to work. During those (atleast) 3 months of planning we could have had a couple bake sales, taken some Yankee Candle orders and started getting sponsors for the Mothers Day Tea and Fashion Show.

    As for the non practicing, yet registered ASP parishioners...perhaps asking them to rake leaves is one way to get them closer to church property. Who knows, maybe they will go inside and maybe next time it might be for Mass. Being needed or fulfilling a "non-religious" task might just be what is needed to welcome them back?

  31. Gretchen, I did not say your comments were disrespectful I was talking to Anon 4:20....sorry.

    By the way I am not a staff member just a concerned member of the ASP Parish.

    Mary, right now the SOP has proposed 3 items to prevent the sales of St V. Bring more people in, fund raise and eliminate staff. Get off of eliminating staff, that just does not make sense. The SOP started when Alene was laid off and now you want to lay off more, again that just does not make sense. Who do you want to start pulling the leave rakers together, are you waiting for the staff, for Dean to do this? Offering up ideas is a great thing but ideas don’t happen on their own, need to be driven.

    The SOP has some great ideas, now you need to act on them. Become part of one of the active committees. Get on the liturgy committee, get on the Welcome back (not sure the real name) committee, get on the parish council (when they are looking for new members), get on the finance committee, get on the facilities committee, volunteer at ASA, or get on the youth committee. Pull together a plan for the Fund raising committee and present it to parish council. If you don’t like the way things are heading or want to get a better understanding of how the parish works do something about it, become more involved.

  32. If you refuse to address the staffing issue, then you must address ASA. Either one will suffice. And either one will balance the budget without a penny more in the collections. Your refusal to address the issue says more about your argument than ours.

    Alene's termination was not a good choice, given the leadership's goal of evangelizing. She was quite effective at bringing in new members, which bottom line translates into dollars. And the fact that we have an administrator, a business manager, and a full time bookkeeper is simply not good business sense. But, perhaps you have a good explanation...

    Those we asked to look at the financials all agreed that the payroll was too heavy compared to our income.

    Please, please, I beg of you -- address the fact that most parishes are not nearly as heavy with staff as ours is. Can you do that for us?

    You just never answer that one point.

  33. Great ideas were presented to leadership, you admit. It is therefore, at the very least, their responsibility to give the go ahead.

    Stop with the ridiculous insistence that we organize to the nth degree a plan that you know darn well will be rejected outright. Stop trying to embarrass parishioners and deflect responsibility onto the shoulders of those with no power or authority to carry out even the best of plans. Leadership left us all out of the discernment and planning stages on purpose. They have made it clear they don't want to hear from us after the fact, either.

    Why not turn your energies to investigating the future plan that leadership has provided -- double the debt in 10 years with only one worship site and no money for repairs! Now that is a plan, right?

  34. 7:25am- You said: "Get off of eliminating staff, that just does not make sense." Gretchen is correct, what didn't make sense was eliminating Alene Goodman. She was a magnet to attracting people for the parish. There are others on staff who should have been let go. There are others on staff who would leave a much smaller hole. So, yes, we do need to make staff cuts. The payroll is too big for the diminishing size of this parish. We are currently staffed too heavily on the business end and not effectively enough on the evangelization end. I agree with what someone said about the youth program. The programs are poorly attended and we got by for many years with many more teens and a part time position. Nobody likes the idea of letting people go but if I had to chose, I'd vote for saving Saint Vincent's and cutting back staff.

  35. Can anyone answer the question, "Why isn't the parish leadership planning ways to get the parishioners that left, back?
    In my opinion all things positive should be attempted before resorting to the negative(closures).
    I teach classes that are funded based on attendance, when attendance is low, I swallow my pride and get on the phone and call students. I ask about absent students if I see them around town, in Wegmans or at the "Y". It seems simple and it is honest and simple. I don't get paid for this time, it is just part of keeping my classes full. It goes something like this:

    " Hey _____________, how've you been? Is everything ok? We've missed you at _____________. Hope you can make it back to________soon."

    All I can is say is that IT WORKS, anything that comes from the heart WORKS!

    Recently at the D&D, a Deacon who has been here for a while did not recognize my mother. She has been in this parish for well over 50 years and has not deserted. OK, that can happen I suppose, but here's a little tip, don't come right out and say,
    "and who are you?"
    My Mother is a tough lady and she didn't take any offense, she just answered,

    "Well, I've been here longer than you." then introduced herself.

    However, some people may take offense. I recently observed how many Corning people were at Sat. mass in Campbell. It was easily half of the church! Form a proactive committee and get busy! If it saves churches and parishes from destruction it's worth it, so sign me up.