Friday, January 18, 2013

I Was A Minor Casualty

of the extremely long and contentious vestry meeting of December 11, 2011, of which some other details appear on the Freedom for St Mary timeline. Prior to going into executive session to wrangle over Fr Kelley, the vestry approved both a preliminary draft budget I had prepared for 2012 and my recommendation of a payroll service to take over direct deposit, withholding, and tax reporting. I naively thought I could proceed with getting the parish's finances in decent shape.

However, one of numerous objections to Fr Kelley on the part of the anti-Kelley/anti-Ordinariate minority was that I had been named "interim treasurer" by the vestry before I had qualified as a member in good standing of the parish, which the parish bylaws said I had to be in order to serve as treasurer. On the other hand, the bylaws made no mention of an "interim treasurer" position, and the vestry determined that this title could potentially get around the problem. After a good deal of contention relative to this and other points, the vestry did vote me in as "interim treasurer" at its October, 2011 meeting, so the vestry was aware of the issue, and a majority decided it was an acceptable move to put me in place. Among the many spurious complaints about Fr Kelley from the minority was that he had "appointed" me treasurer in violation of the bylaws. Actually, the action was taken by majority vote of the vestry.

And in fact, by December 2011, I was just a few weeks short of becoming a member in good standing of the parish, having attended and made donations since January, and this would have meant I'd met the requirement by doing so for a full year. The fact was that I was qualified to do the work, having banking experience and having served as an assistant treasurer at a prior Episcopal parish, and unlike the prior treasurer, I was actually doing the work, getting the bills caught up, recommending a solution to the payroll withholding problem, and preparing a budget for the following year.

So as far as I could see, the vestry was having its problem solved, it had an "interim treasurer" willing to do the work and doing it acceptably, and I would have been fully eligible to serve as permanent treasurer within weeks. But it turned out that my position as "interim treasurer" was a sticking point for the anti-Kelley minority, for whom the resignation of the prior treasurer was a major issue. So during the contention over Fr Kelley's resignation in the executive session, I was also by-the-way removed as "interim treasurer", replaced by a completely unqualified member of the anti-Kelley minority. That individual later proudly told the vestry that he didn't know how to balance his checkbook, and his wife had to do it for him.

The payroll service the vestry had approved and whom I'd notified kept calling me, asking what the next step was going to be, and unfortunately, I had to tell them that their new contact was the new treasurer, who like my predecessor was skilled mainly at doing nothing. No further steps were taken to hire the payroll service, but if the vestry had proceeded with doing it, the IRS problems that surfaced in March would never have reached that level.