Some time ago, I posted an example of a transparent church budget developed by a parish not too far from Grace. Included in the budget were line items for the compensation of each member of the clergy and staff, as well as sufficient detail to allow anyone who’s curious to learn more. Indeed, the church’s budget is published on the parish website for all the world to see.
This contrasts sharply with Grace Church, where former senior warden Lisa Medley shrilly proclaims there’s “total financial transparency.” (That’s in addition to her various lies about me.) That’s a remarkable claim, since:
- The church is not audited (contrary to her claims).
- Vestry members do not see the accounting firm’s engagement letter when it does its Agreed-Upon Procedures (AUP) review, which has no attestation value. In other words, it is not intended, nor is it likely to, uncover any sort of major issue.
- Vestry members, contrary to law and church policy, do not see financials for the school, which constitutes 2/3 of the total annual budget.
- There have been major payroll errors in the past that went undetected for months.
- Thousands of dollars in unaccounted-for loose cash and stale checks were found in a former parish administrator’s office, with no explanation.
- The church does not publicly release its vestry minutes, its financial reports, its budget, or its annual report.
- The loan to Bob Malm was carried off the books for years, contrary to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
- When factoring in depreciation, the parish has been running a deficit for many years.
- There have been multiple illegal misuses of restricted solicitations.
- Even the AUP was not completed in a timely manner in 2015–a fact not shared with the vestry.
When was the last time Grace Church members saw data of this sort?