Executive Council sends memo of concerns to budget committee

UPDATED at 8:28 MDT April 20 to replace incorrect version supplied to Office of Public Affairs

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] In light of several errors in the proposed draft triennial budget that Executive Council sent to the Joint Committee on Program, Budget and Finance after its February 2012 meeting, council at its meeting on April 20 in Salt Lake City, Utah, wrote a memo to the committee expressing “but some of” its concerns about the document and suggesting some possible alterations to be made during the meeting of General Convention in July in Indianapolis.

The full text of the memo follows.

______________________________________________________

From: The Executive Council

To: The Joint Committee on Program Budget and Finance

Re: Corrections to the Proposed Triennial BudgeWe note with concern that the Proposed Draft Triennial Budget is not exactly the budget the Executive Council passed. There are potentially many explanations for the multiple errors in the document including:

  • Too many spreadsheets, too little time
  •  The inability to keep up with the rapid discourse as the debate between a 15% and 19% ask continued through the final discussions on the last day of meeting
  • The scheduling of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget & Finance’s first meeting the day after the February Council meeting, necessitating agreement by the Executive Council to a final document before the Treasurer’s Office had adequate time to draft the document for final review by Executive Council

In spite of best efforts, the result is a document that does not fully reflect Council’s work.

Below are some of Council’s concerns:

  • Formation and Vocation: Line 526 “Staff Costs” under Formation and Vocation reads $537,030 for the Triennium. Line 556 “Total Formation and Vocation” reads $286,438. Because none of the detail lines are completed, perhaps it is simply the memo line in 556 that is mistaken. Line 556 is a total of lines 527-555, not lines 480-527 as it currently reads. This will impact the bottom line.
  • Episcopal Service Corps: $200,000 – This item is currently subsumed under Mission Personnel in line 710. Council allotted $200,000 of new spending for the support of a local network in a covenant relationship. Episcopal Service Corps, which is an umbrella organization that supports young adult internship programs, throughout the church, was identified as the network to support in 2013-2015. Council’s thinking is that in each triennium this line will be shifted to a new organization with a new Memorandum of Understanding or a Covenant to provide ongoing support for emerging networks not originating with or from the General Convention or staffed by The Church Center.
  •  The draft proposed budget is balanced at $104.9 million. However, there is an internal inconsistency related to the proposed Development Office. The amount proposed as income from unrestricted endowment, and therefore not from general operating expenses, for the proposed Development Office is $3.7 million. The amount proposed as expenditure is $2.5 million. If the two numbers are brought into alignment, either by decreasing income or increasing expense, then the budget will be unbalanced by about $1.2 million.

This Council has taken great care to receive accurate and even conservative projections of income for 2013-2015. It was difficult to make reductions resulting in cuts in programs the Council believes are extremely important. While difficult, it was the right thing to do in order to equip PB&F and General Convention to approach the formation of the budget of The Episcopal Church realistically.

Comments

  1. Austin Turney says:

    The Episcopal church is full of parishes, like my own, that are essential disconnected from the national church. Our connections do not go beyond our own bishop. Our parishioners neither know nor care about the activity, or lack thereof, of the national church.

    It is occurrences like this that sap trust in the national church and everyone connected with it. The result is that the national church is identified not only with dissension over relative trivia but also with utter incompetence.

    I speak as one who, in the past, attended several general conventions and fully understands the good will and great efforts that many people have given on behalf of the national church and the Anglican communion.

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