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San Francisco's Quinn cuts expenses to balance budget.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Archbishop John R. Quinn recently announced substantial cuts in staff and a restructuring of archdiocesan service programs in response to "severe budget restraints."

In a letter dated March 12, Quinn said the reduction of 20 full- and part-time positions -- almost one-fifth of the staff -- is necessary to continue operating with a balanced budget. He cited a decrease in funding from local parishes, the cost of maintaining older buildings and previous underfunding of the priests' retirement fund as pressures on the coming budget.

"I have always said that the budget of the archdiocese must be balanced and that I would not permit deficit spending," Quinn said.

An enormous financial strain comes from a city earthquake ordinance, passed in June, requiring retrofitting of unreinforced masonry on public buildings within three years. The archdiocese has 11 such buildings and the cost of the repairs is $60 million. The entire operating budget of the archdiocese, not including the parish budgets, is $4 million.

The archdiocese's financial difficulties can also be attributed to a decrease in church membership over the past decades even as the demand for its community services -- such as AIDS education and outreach, social justice and ethnic ministries -- has soared.

The archdiocese's primary funding tool is an annual appeal made through the parishes. In 1961, and average Sunday Mass attendance in the San Francisco archdiocese was 206,780, compared to 113,305 last year.

Quinn said 12 service offices -- including the offices of AIDS education, peace and justice, and each of the Hispanic, African-American, Chinese and Filipino ministries -- will now be combined into three new offices.

The archdiocesan director of operations, James McKay, compared the actions to the downsizing occurring in business and government. "What we plan to do is reexamine how we are delivering the services and see if there isn't an effective and more efficient way of delivering the same services," McKay explained.

George Wesolek, archdiocesan special projects coordinator, said the restructuring also marks a shift in philosophy of the church from the specialization of the 1960s.

"This new formula is our attempt to really work at the collaborative nature of all these ministries and to eliminate the overlapping," Wesolek said. "I think we are trying to make a real creative opportunity out of the crisis."

One of the archdiocese's largest programs involves the ethnic ministries. San Francisco has one of of the largest per capita ratios of immigrants to natives of any city in the country.

Last month, Quinn formed a commission to look for solutions to the archdiocese's financial problems. The commission proposed replacing the annual appeal with a direct monthly tithe on the parishes. It was also agreed that the fund-raising goals for the annual appeal would remain at last year's level for the time being.
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Title Annotation:Archbishop John R. Quinn
Author:Staiger, Patrick
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Apr 2, 1993
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