On Monday, June 22, 2009, the proposed members of the Auditing Committee of the Orthodox Church in America met with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah and the staff of the OCA Chancery. The purpose of the meeting was to brief Metropolitan Jonah on the mandate of the Auditing Committee and to lay out initial plans for the Committee’s work. Also present at the meeting were the outgoing OCA treasurer, Priest Michael Tassos and the Chair of the Metropolitan Council Finance Committee, Archpriest Matthew Tate. Chancery staff participants included: Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, Chancellor; Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, Secretary, Archpriest Andrew Jarmus, Director of Ministries and Communications, and Archpriest Dennis Swencki, Comptroller.
Initial discussions focused on procedural issues, with proposed Committee members recognizing the provisional nature of their appointment until confirmation at the Metropolitan Council’s 2009 fall meeting. The Committee also recognized that they were, by statute, the OCA’s internal audit committee. Formerly the members of the Auditing Committee were selected by the All-American Council; however a statute change at the 15th All-American Council directed that the Metropolitan Council nominate and appoint members and receive reports of the Committee between All-American Councils.
Metropolitan Jonah made clear that the Committee’s work had his blessing and that the OCA Chancery and the stavropegial institutions entrusted to his pastoral care would be cooperative. He further directed the Committee members to “see whatever they needed to see” as they carried out their mandate and to report to him if any group or individual hindered their work.
Proposed Auditing Committee Chair, Deacon Martin D. Watt, CPA, noted that, “His Beatitude also cautioned the Committee that the work being undertaken could be spiritually troubling, in that we might uncover issues of sin and transgression. Metropolitan Jonah said that committee members should guard ourselves spiritually, and immerse ourselves in the life of the Church, in order to properly deal with these issues without spiritual damage to our lives.”
The proposed members of the Auditing Committee presented a brief introduction to the work they anticipated doing, and will be preparing a formal document to be presented at the joint meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan Council this September.