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June 26, 2012


How Do the “ECUSA Sweet 16” Categories Fare under the Proposed Budgets?

Back on April 24, our own Greg Griffith published a chart of 16 categories in ECUSA’s anticipated budget, with his predictions for which ones would win out as the budget moves forward toward final adoption. Here is the bracket:

With the Presiding Bishop’s recently proposed budget now online, we may take a look at how well Greg’s predictions are doing thus far: very, very well, actually.

Below are Greg’s categories, linked to the line(s) in the PB’s budget, and the proposed amounts:

FIRST ROUND (Eight Match-ups)

1. Evangelism:  $ 1.5 million (line 45)

2. Church Pension Fund:  $ 8 million (assumed to be 15% of Total Staff Costs in line 381

The Winner: Church Pension Fund, as Greg predicted.

3. Episcopal Church Women: There is no single line item for such an expense; it has to be ferreted out from everything such as “Networking” (lines 66, 122, 168, etc.)  to “United Thank Offering” (line 266). Estimated at $ 3 million.

4. Church Growth:  $ 2 million (line 27).

The Winner: Episcopal Church Women, as Greg predicted.

5. Youth Programs:  $ 2.1 million (lines 67-68, 79, 81)

6. Muslim Outreach:  $ 30,000 (a guess from line 225)

The Winner: Youth Programs - Greg missed this one.

7. Gay Stuff:  Very difficult to estimate, since it obviously permeates the budget, rather than being a line item. But one can attribute to it most of the litigation costs against departing parishes and dioceses, as well as a good chunk of General Convention expense, and a good deal of Anglican Communion efforts, to say the least. Estimated at $10 million

8. Clean Water:  included in $ 1 million for the environment (line 122)

The Winner: Gay Stuff, as Greg predicted.

9. Communications Office:  $ 8.2 million (lines 49-51, 55)

10. Hunger Relief:  $ 2.3 million (in lieu of a specific line item, we may allocate the whole of Haitian relief - line 83)

The Winner: Communications Office, as Greg predicted.

11. Ending Child Slavery: $ 0 (maybe you can find it; I can’t)

12. Lawyers’ Fees:  $ 4 million (lines 276-77, 346)

This was a no-brainer.

The Winner: Lawyers’ Fees, as Greg predicted.

13. Worship Resources:  $ 104,000 (line 130)

14. General Convention:  $ 7.2 million (lines 288-89, 304)

Another no-brainer.

The Winner: General Convention, as Greg predicted.

And the final first-round match (yet another easy pick):

15. 815 Salaries:  $ 52 million (line 381, though not all staff is at 815—but it makes no difference)

16. Ending Poverty:  $ 1 million (line 108)

The Winner: 815 Salaries, as Greg predicted.

*******

SECOND ROUND (Four Match-ups; winner shown in bold, Greg’s predictions in italics; thus correct predictions are shown in bold italics)

First match:

2. Church Pension Fund: $ 8 million (est.)

3. Episcopal Church Women: $ 4 million (est.)

Second match:

5. Youth Programs: $ 2.1 million

7. Gay Stuff: $ 10 million (est.)

Third match (Greg missed this one):

9. Communications Office:  $ 8.2 million

12. Lawyers’ Fees: $ 4 million

Fourth match:

14. General Convention: $ 7.2 million

15. 815 Salaries: $ 52 million

Out of twelve matches thus far, Greg has ten right. Now to the third round.

*****

THIRD ROUND: (Two Match-ups)

First match:

2. Church Pension Fund: $ 8 million (est.)

7. Gay Stuff: $ 10 million (est.)

Second match:

9. Communications Office:  $ 8.2 million

15. 815 Salaries: $ 52 million

Two more wins for Greg - twelve out of fourteen.

And he predicted the winner of the fourth and final round, too.

*****

FOURTH ROUND (Final Match)

7. Gay Stuff: $ 10 million (est.)

15. 815 Salaries: $ 52 million

Greg’s picks: Thirteen out of fifteen - not shabby at all, Greg, not shabby at all.


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13 comments

Greg, Is that what you do for a living? A sports bookie? Or is this how you fund your retirement? ; 0   (just kidding!)

[1] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-26-2012 at 06:03 PM · [top]

I just can’t fight the feeling.  TEC budget process - it’s FAN-tastic!

[2] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-26-2012 at 06:31 PM · [top]

It just goes to show that you’ll never go wrong being cynical about TEo.  I’d like a side bet on the quantity and quality of the sanctimonious flapdoodle the TEo grandees wrapped all this in to make it palatable.  You know what I mean:  All the “living intos,” “prophetic witnessings” and the rest of the empty baloney 815’s honed to a science.

[3] Posted by Jeffersonian on 6-26-2012 at 08:27 PM · [top]

Third match (Greg missed this one):

  9. Communications Office:  $ 8.2 million

  12. Lawyers’ Fees: $ 4 million

I’m not sure Greg did miss that one.  How much of the 815 salary line goes to pay the Chancellor, the PB’s personal staff attorney, the other staff attorney (I forget the title), their various staff and assistants and office expenses, court filings, travel expenses to appear in such diverse places as Ft Worth and San Joaquin, and secret midnight rendezvous with “loyal” Episcopalians who refuse the authority of their bishop in South Carolina?

[4] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-26-2012 at 09:20 PM · [top]

TJ wrote:

secret midnight rendezvous with “loyal” Episcopalians who refuse the authority of their bishop in South Carolina?

You know something I don’t know…..... Besides i thought the PB had her own attorney within the diocese.

[5] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-26-2012 at 09:43 PM · [top]

Greg must have won the office competition talked about at the water fountain…..

[6] Posted by maineiac on 6-26-2012 at 11:22 PM · [top]

SC blue cat lady-
The real gist of my speculation is not whether DBB meets personally with SC Piskies intent on undermining Bishop Lawrence, but how they put all that into the budget (not to mention how exactly do they fund all the fifth column groups in conservative dioceses- when they clearly refuse to fund or support conservative groups in liberal dioceses).  Is this attorney’s retainer paid under legal fees, or hidden away in the 815 operations budget as “consultant” fees in the Chancellor’s office?  Perhaps Mr. Haley can enlighten us, as none of the budget breakdowns I have seen go much beyond “legal fees” and “administrative costs”.

[7] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-27-2012 at 08:32 AM · [top]

Can Greg produce a fantasy church league next? Just think of all the great team names still available.

[8] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-27-2012 at 08:40 AM · [top]

“Just think of all the great team names still available. “

OK, but remember the rules of the Anglican Fantasy Sports League Regulations Pertaining to the Naming of Teams and Associated Acronyms (AFSLRPNTAA)

1.  The names of all teams must contain at least 6 words.

2.  Every name must include at least 3 words beginning with the letter A.

3.  Your name will be submitted to the ACCCACA (Anglican Consultative Council Committee for Assessing Confusing Acronyms)- Any sports team whose name reduces to an acronym that is not likely to be confused with the acronym for at least 2 other Anglican entities will be rejected.

4.  You may appeal a rejection under #3 above to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion for review- as the Archbishop of Canterbury is in need of distractions, so that the standing committee does not accidentally take up an important Communion issue.

5.  Forms are available through the Anglican Communications branch office in Nairobi and may be picked up in person by team owners on July 22, 2013 between 3 and 3:15 pm GMT.

[9] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-27-2012 at 09:31 AM · [top]

Keep it up, tjmcmahon, and you’ll be either

a) given an internship writing for Stand Firm or

b) cast in a traveling Monty Python tribute group.

One pays and lets you see the world.

The other… the other, uh… the other…

[10] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-27-2012 at 09:42 AM · [top]

So, Timothy, which one “pays and lets you see the world,”  and which is “the other….the other, uh….the other…..” ?

[11] Posted by maineiac on 6-27-2012 at 01:58 PM · [top]

Let’s just say that none of the SF bloggers have left their day jobs…

[12] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-27-2012 at 02:22 PM · [top]

tjmcmahon (#5), you are correct that ECUSA hides its legal fees in various budget line items. The easiest is the Chancellor’s (DBB’s) stipend, which is $36,000 per year (you can see it broken out in line 25 of the EC draft budget, although it is lumped in with other items in line 276 of the PB’s draft budget).

Not broken out in either budget is the salary of the PB’s Special Assistant for Litigation, Mary Kostel. I estimate her salary to be in the range of $200-250k, if not more (she had to be earning at least that much at Goodwin Procter). The amount is probably lumped in with the PB Office Staff costs: $3.54 million in the EC budget (line 14), $3.26 million in the PB’s budget (line 39). Note that the PB includes these costs under “Mission - Mark I: Proclaim the Good News.”

Next are the costs of disciplinary proceedings. This is shown as “Title IV” on line 66 of the EC budget, and line 277 of the PB’s budget: it is $820,654 (down from the previous triennium; the explanatory note says they expect fewer “incidents”—but is that right, under the new and more liberal disciplinary canons?). This is where I would expect to find the payments to the South Carolina law firm to look into purported canonical violations there, although see the “outside counsel” item below.

Next are the in-house attorney and legal costs, shown on line 330 of the EC budget and line 345 of the PB’s budget. The EC budgeted $588,879 for these costs; the PB increased it to $795,723. This increase is more than what is needed to allow for 10% annual increases, but the PB does not explain.

Outside counsel receives a line of its own, but is called “Non-staff costs” by the EC (line 331) and “Departmental costs” by the PB (line 343): they both budget $198,750 for this item.

Finally, there is the amount budgeted for “Property Litigation”: line 332 of the EC budget and line 344 of the PB’s budget: $2,000,000 for the next triennium, significantly down from an estimated $3.8 million for this triennium. 

Add these all up, and even with the projected $1.7 million reduction in property litigation costs, you still have the Church spending more than $4 million on legal fees. Compare that with the $2 million allocated for “church planting”, and you have all you need to know about the character of the Episcopal Church (USA).

[13] Posted by A. S. Haley on 6-27-2012 at 02:22 PM · [top]

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