Archdiocese eliminates 50 positions

BOSTON — As part of its ongoing cost-cutting program, the Archdiocese of Boston has eliminated 50 positions that will displace about half that number of employees. Those employees most affected by the position cuts were notified June 19.

The remaining positions have been eliminated by attrition, transfer to another archdiocesan-related organization and a hiring freeze currently in effect, according to an archdiocesan statement.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley announced that the positions would be eliminated from the 2007 fiscal-year budget during an April 19 press conference where he unveiled extensive financial disclosures and a fiscal recovery plan for the archdiocese.

The elimination of positions is a step in implementing that recovery plan, which called for a $4.5 million reduction of the central fund operating deficit, the statement said.

“The process of identifying these positions was based on senior managers’ analysis of the business requirements and workforce needed for the immediate future,” the archdiocese said. “They were reviewed by the Financial and Operations/Implementation Committees, which were charged with addressing the financial challenges currently facing the archdiocese.”

Kevin Shea, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said the position cuts were spread across the different departments of the central administration.

Employees affected by the positions’ elimination were given a packet of information explaining their benefits, severance offer and outplacement services.

“The archdiocese seeks to insure that each employee impacted is treated with dignity, respect and compassion,” the statement said.

A small number of clergy and religious will be affected by the change.

“Diocesan priests have been transitioned from chancery operations to parishes and other areas within the Church, while religious priests and religious women will work with their respective religious communities in regard to their future assignments,” the statement said.

According to the archdiocese, the 2007 budget is still being drafted and other actions are being taken to resolve what Cardinal O’Malley called a “dire” financial situation.

In addition to the elimination of positions, the archdiocese is also in the process of streamlining and decentralizing its administrative structure.

Included in that move is the consolidation of positions of the archdiocese’s administrative cabinet. The first of those occurred over a year ago when the positions of the communications secretariat and public relations secretariat were merged into one position. The positions of pastoral services and ministerial personnel secretariats will be merged on July 1.

The restructuring of the cabinet is an ongoing process, Shea said.