Metropolitan Council Reviews Chancery Reorganization, Finances

Ongoing implementation of plans to reorganize the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America and concerns about Church finances topped the agenda at the fall session of the Metropolitan Council which met at the Chancery here November 18, 1999.

In his opening report to Metropolitan Council members, His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS outlined the process, initiated in 1998, by which a thorough review of the Chancery’s operations was undertaken. The Metropolitan reported that the services of experienced professional consultants had been engaged in order to obtain a full and objective review of the Chancery’s staff and operations. He also noted the Chancery staff and support team were interviewed by the consultants and the tasks, mandates and resources of the Chancery were subjected to detailed review and analysis.

Metropolitan THEODOSIUS shared his expectations of the review which, in addition to enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of Chancery operations, is aimed at reducing and eliminating unnecessary operations and associated costs, producing written job descriptions for all employees while developing a new Chancery organizational chart based on job descriptions, and aligning all Chancery structures and functions with current and future expectations of the Church and demands on the Chancery in the years to come.

“Many indeed most of the recommendations will be implemented step-by-step,” Metropolitan THEODOSIUS reported, adding the need to find appropriate ways to “outsource” many of the Chancery’s technical functions. “It is clear that outsourcing those functions that do not have to be done at the Chancery which indeed will be done more efficiently and at a lower cost outside the Chancery will permit us to use our financial resources most effectively. This will also enhance the ability of staff to do effectively those things which only Chancery staff can do.”

Metropolitan THEODOSIUS added that, while the review process was initiated well before the opening of the 12th All-American Council in July 1999, “the months since the Council are intended to be the time for implementation.”

Financial questions reviewed, year 2000 budget passed. Questions involving the OCA’s financial situation were also reviewed in detail by Metropolitan Council members. His Eminence, Archbishop Herman, Acting Treasurer, reported on the status of the financial audit, noting that some questions had arisen with regard to the Metropolitan’s Discretionary Fund. In response to this report, Council members issued a statement concerning the fund. [The complete text of this statement is available on the OCA web site.]

Archbishop HERMAN, together with the Very Rev. Stavros Strikis, Comptroller, reviewed the proposed 2000 budget of $2,630,000. Council members unanimously approved the budget.

Archbishop HERMAN also offered a detailed explanation of the 12th All-American Councils financial resolution involving parish assessments and various possible options for funding the work of the Church.

Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, updated Council members on various clergy care issues. He also reported on the ongoing review of parish organizational documents by the Church’s Legal Commission, which recommended that a degree of uniformity in parish bylaws be developed insofar as they relate to legal matters.

“The Commission believes that a few standard form provisions could be inserted in all parish bylaws in order to minimize the risks associated with these legal issues without affecting other provisions that relate to the actual operations and ministries of the parishes,” Father Kondratick added. “It is also critical that a similar review be required of articles of incorporation and other organizational documents.”

Other business

Several other items were addressed by Council members.

• The Council unanimously recommended that the Holy Synod appoint Mr. Paul Hunchak as Secretary of the OCA for the next triennium.

• Gratitude was expressed to His Grace, Bishop Job of Chicago, the Very Rev. Myron Manzuk, and the Preconciliar Commission and to His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh, the Very Rev. Paul Suda, and the members of the local organizing committee for their commitment in planning and executing the 12th AAC.

• The Very Rev. Joseph Fester, Director of Development, presented a thorough review of the growth of the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards and gifts made to the OCA’s seminary, charity, mission and special appeals. He noted that, of the $318,000 pledged for the Church-Wide Initiatives, $63,000 had been received to date.