The auditing team spent three days in August in Darien, looking over everything. They spent several weeks in Brunswick, where most of Nativity's records are stored. This was a "structural and procedural audit", looking at how we do things. The Draft Report was sent to the Finance Council on December 18. The Council held an initial meeting on December 19 with Mr. Jon Bokina, Diocesan Audit Manager. We have held several meetings since.
Here are some highlights from the report.
- Nativity has a dedicated staff and many dedicated volunteers.
- The parishioners of Nativity support their church in an exemplary fashion. There is great participation in fund raisers, etc. The parish bested its BAA goal.
- Nativity actively supports St. Francis Xavier Catholic School.
- Nativity Mission has a functioning Finance Council, Pastoral Council, Liturgy Commission and Building & Maintenance Committee. Minutes are kept and summaries are published online and in the bulletin.
- Financial information is made available to the parishioners.
- All accounts are balanced every month.
- There were found no "hidden" or "off the record" accounts.
- All disbursements are carefully recorded by the parish secretary Gloria Whatley, approved by the pastoral administrator Fr. Bob, and made in a timely fashion by the SFX Finance Office Maggie Shafer.
- The offertory counting team meets every Monday and counts each Mass seperately.
- There is inadequate physical security: some doors have no locks, some locks are too simple, some windows are too easy to break into, the safe too exposed. etc.
- There have been many ups and downs these last several years, making it hard to have a clear picture of Nativity's real situation over a 5-year period.
- Communication between Nativity Mission and St. Francis Xavier Church is bad.
- There is unacceptable uncertainty about how Fr. Bob is expected to divide his time between the two parishes or how his salary is to be paid.
- There is a great discrepancy between how many members the diocesan office thinks Nativity has, how many members the St. Francis Xavier parish office thinks Nativity has, and how many members Nativity's own staff thinks we have.
- The Nativity Finance Council has not been granted adequate oversight over Nativity's investments.
- We look at using an envelope system for the collection
- We improve the security of how we handle the collection after Mass
- We streamline the way we do the counting on Monday
- We make a three year plan (extended budget)
- The Finance Council look at all Letters of Employment and ensure compliance with all laws and policies
- Written policies be developed and published
In the coming weeks, the Finance Council volunteers will be working extra hard to digest the audit report, write our response and implement any improvements. We will present a much better picture of things at the Nativity Town Hall Meeting on February 15.
The Finance Council