The Archdiocese of Detroit, faced with a critical cash-flow problem costing $1.2 million per month, has announced a major financial restructuring of its programs and properties. The changes will cut almost 80 positions.
“The financial realities of our current circumstances are sobering; the resulting changes for the administrative structure of the archdiocese are significant,” Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron said in a statement from the archdiocese.
Speaking at a September 3 presentation of the restructuring plans, the archbishop announced his acceptance of the recommendations of a six-month-long study. In spring of 2009 he had commissioned two separate committees comprised of lay people and clergy to assess the financial well-being of the archdiocese.
“I believe the committee members have crafted a response that is true to and advances the mission I asked them to consider in their deliberations – To share Christ in and through the Church,” Archbishop Vigneron said.
The study recommended the reduction of positions from 264 to 187 this fall, the sale of buildings and relocation of administrative support offices, and a shift to regional delivery of programs, services and ministries to the parishes.
The recommendations aim to make the archdiocese “cash neutral.” In fiscal year 2008-2009, the archdiocese lost $14.5 million in cash. Presently it loses $1.2 million in cash per month, a rate of about $42,000 a day. Without intervention, the archdiocese says, the trends will worsen and cash will be exhausted by 2011.
New job descriptions will be created for the 187 remaining positions in the archdiocese. All current on-site staff who indicated an interest will be considered for the new positions, with final selections set to be completed by mid-November. The archdiocese said it would provide employee assistance, job placement workshops and retirement incentives for those eligible.
Archbishop Vigneron said staff members of the Archdiocese’s Central Services have been a “dedicated, devoted work force” supporting the Church.
“They have my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation,” he said.
Under the plan, the six counties of the archdiocese will be reorganized into four regions, each overseen by an auxiliary bishop and supported by central staff in the areas of Catholic schools; evangelization; youth, young adult and campus ministry; and vocations.
The recommendations call for the sale of the Gabriel Richard Building in downtown Detroit and the relocation of staff to a smaller, more cost-efficient property within the city, possibly the campus of Sacred Heart Major Seminary. The archdiocesan Print Shop building may also be sold and its operations also moved to the seminary.
The archdiocese has created a webpage for information on the restructuring at http://www.aodonline.org/restructure.