Friday, October 30, 2009

Updating Petition Nominee Linder+

Since my last post, the search committee has updated nominee Philip Linder's information to include the answers that he provided to the search committee before he withdrew from the process.
I am still trying to find time to review those pages.

In addition, questions have arisen regarding one part of his C.V. where he stated that "Trinity gives 25% of her budget to outreach." No, I am not questioning the use of the gender specific, "her" to refer to Trinity Cathedral because that might draw me back into the "Divine Feminine" argument again. I am just left wondering about those numbers. In our parish, 25% of our budget going to outreach would necessitate spending $125,000 out our $500,000 total, whereas the budget calls for just $8,000 for mission and outreach. So how can Trinity Cathedral spend 25%, or $711,325 for mission and outreach out of her budget of $2,845,300?

This is where I kick myself for not taking that creative accounting class in college.

Dubious, I went to the Cathedral's web pages and found a budget statement from February, 2009 attached to their vestry minutes (scroll to the bottom 25% of .pdf file). On page 3 of the budget you should find the "Analysis of Revenues and Expenses." This shows $145,275 budgeted for "Total Outreach" which calculates to 5.1% of the total budget. This leaves $566,050 of some other budget items that would have to be re-considered to be part of outreach in order to bring us up to my earlier calculated total of $711,325. So I tried to be creative and took the "Education and Christian Formation" line and added the "Basketball" line, the "Music" line, and "Pastoral Care" line, together, and was able to come up with an additional $93,736. I am still far short, so I added in "Diocesan Support" which brings me up to $594,242 which is close enough to allow me to drop the "Basketball" and "Pastoral Care."

If I can just submit my request to the rev. Linder for an additional 25% of time, I just might get finished reading his answers to the search committee's questions.

Oh well, we are electing a bishop and not an accountant.


  1. Anonymous5:52 AM

    "The second quality is to be trustworthy. In order to
    have a meaningful and fruitful relationship with God’s people and Church there must be trust—
    assured reliance on the character, ability, and truth of the leader."
    I wonder if this includes using accurate budget numbers to create an image of a (25%) large outreach commitment? Or is this merely a "misleading" representation?

  2. Here in the Diocese of Atlanta we wound up with our current bishop because of financial irregularities of the guy who had been elected.

    Money management may not seem to be an important skill in a bishop, but it is. If a candidate gets all wonky with budget numbers, then he will have trouble dealing with the rest of reality as well.

    Bennison's problems began with his over-optimistic misuse of funds.

  3. Fr. Linder may be referring to the percentage of the discretionary part of the budget: i.e. the part that is left over after taking care of fixed overhead expenses such as building maintenance, saleries and taxes,utilities, diocesan assessment, etc..

    In my experience, the discretionary part of a congregation's budget is usually less than half of the overall budget. My former parish had a budget of around $350 K. After factoring out the fixed part of building maintenance and upkeep, salaries, pension, etc., the discretionary part that was left was $50K or one fifth of the overall budget. So the $8000 we budgeted for the Outreach Committee amounted to 16% of our discretionary budget.

    Thet may be what Fr. Linder is doing here. It probably is not an attempt at deception. But you would have to look at the overall budget figures to determine that.

  4. Hmmm! I see I had a typo in my previous. The budget for my former parish was around $250K not $350K.

    My bad!

  5. Creative accounting strikes again?