Metropolitan Council reviews Chancery reorganization

A detailed report on its efforts since March 2007 was presented by the Reorganization Task Force at the meeting of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America, held at the OCA Chancery here June 12-13, 2007.

The text of the report reads as follows.

“The Task Force last updated the Metropolitan Council in March, when we presented results of our Phase II recruitment efforts: the work of the Task Force and of the three Selection Teams yielded candidates for chancellor, treasurer, and director of ministries and communications. In the almost three months since that briefing, the Task Force has been primarily involved in following up on recruitment and selection matters, while supporting the transition officer, Deacon John Zarras, as he analyzed and made changes within the Chancery in accordance with the reorganization plan approved in November 2006.

“Recruitment Efforts.

“A. In March 2007, the Holy Synod approved the Metropolitan Council’s recommendation for the appointment of the Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs as chancellor, the Rev. Andrew Jarmus as director of ministries and communications, and Mr. Kevin Kovalycsik as treasurer. Fathers Garklavs and Jarmus accepted the positions, accepting salaries consistent with the pay scales in the Task Force’s November report, and benefits like those currently in place within the Chancery. Father Garklavs is transitioning into the chancellor position and will start officially on July 1. Father Jarmus has visited the New York area and will start in his position on August 1.

“B. In March 2007, we reported that the Secretary Selection Team had not found a highly qualified candidate. Since that time, we reannounced the position. The Selection Team, comprising Deacon John Zarras, Eleana Silk, and Carol Wetmore, reassessed two of the prior candidates and also evaluated five candidates who replied to the new posting. They have identified a highly qualified nominee for the position: Mr. Paul Bodnar. Mr. Bodnar has extensive experience in non-profit management activities and possesses in extraordinary quantity and quality the skills required of the position. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, has met with him, as have members of the Task Force and the Very Rev. Paul Kucynda. He has expressed intent to accept the position, if it is offered.

“C. With regard to the treasurer position, Mr. Kovalycsik ultimately declined the offer of the job. After consultation with the Treasurer Selection Team, chaired by the Very Rev. Matthew Tate, Task Force members met with the team’s runner-up candidate. He too declined, citing inability to relocate from his home in Pennsylvania at this time. The third of the original applicants was not an OCA member. In May 2007, the Task Force received one additional application and referred it to Fr. Tate and his team for consideration. In the meantime, Mr. Robert Taylor, our assigned auditor from the accounting firm Lamos, Lambrides, and Moulthrop, who is familiar with our operations and with the new Blackbaud software, has offered a persuasive argument that a good way to meet the Church’s needs is by hiring a qualified accountant or comptroller for a full-time position, and then to locate a qualified OCA member (as required by The Statute) to serve as a part-time treasurer and spend a few days a month on oversight. The Task Force and Father Tate have evaluated this recommendation and intend to present this alternate approach to the Metropolitan Council for their consideration. [Note: The Metropolitan Council did not concur with this course of action and asked the Task Force to intensify its efforts toward a full-time treasurer.]

“D. Internal Chancery Personnel Actions: Also during the past 3 months, the Task Force and the transition officer have worked closely together in assessing current Chancery personnel versus the reorganized structure. We arrived at decisions to terminate two employees after sincere and prayerful deliberation. In the first case, contracting out the website maintenance function was a sound and economical move, but it made one position surplus. In the second case, we discovered that the work the employee was actually performing was, in some instances, more appropriately assigned elsewhere, and in other instances, duplicating the functions of the new director and of the departmental coordinator. Other changes in process include at least one retirement and one reassignment. In all cases, we have tried to follow a “soft landing” policy. For the terminations, we instituted a severance pay policy, with continuation of health benefits during the severance pay period. In the other cases, now in process, we are trying to make accommodations wherever possible to satisfy the employees’ personal situations and needs. Finally, eight employees have received letters of appointment to new positions, with job descriptions, and for the most part, modest salary increases necessary to effect the newly adopted salary scale.

“E. Policy Development: Although recruitment and staffing actions have consumed most of the Task Force’s energies during the past three months, we have begun work on a Human Resources policy manual, and we have developed a draft Missions and Functions Statement for the Chancery. We will provide that draft to the new Chancery managers as they assume their positions.

“F. Recommendation: The Task Force recommends the Metropolitan Council forward the name of Mr. Paul Bodnar to the Holy Synod for approval as Secretary of the OCA.

“G. As we go forward, the Task Force will continue to support the transition process for the new managers, advising as needed, and assisting in such areas as development of policies and standard procedures. We will continue the practice started during the last three months, of issuing periodic updates to MC members.”

Members of the Task Force include Mr. Robert Kornafel, chair; Deacon John Zarras; Mr. Peter Bohlender; Mr. Marty Brown; Mr. Al Wetmore; and Mrs. Carol Wetmore.