Monday, January 20, 2020

Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Leaves a Parish Bordering on Bankruptcy

While Bob Malm was careful to ensure that he got every last minute of leave and then some coming to him, he was not do diligent in honoring the responsibilities set out in his letter of agreement and in church canons. Whether it was ignoring church canons that require the vestry to elect its officers, the requirement of a finance manual, or even Bob’s facially self-serving “disclosure” on his way out the door that he did not bother to visit most of the parishioners entrusted to his care, Bob was feckless, to say the least.

One of the results is that, in addition to its toxic internal dynamics, concealed beneath an organizationally narcissistic veneer of friendliness, Grace Church is in perilous financial condition.

Current projections — which could change as the last few pledges trickle in — show the parish with 2020 pledges of $723,506, for net income of $872,000. Even with the reduction in payroll resulting from no longer having to pay Bob Malm’s outrageously generous compensation package, that still leaves Grace with perilously thin income, including:

  1. A likely deficit budget, unless the church tries its usual tricks of irrationally inflating projected revenue or irrationally deflating projected expenses, or reduces staff headcount.
  2. The reality that it claims to be a “center for outreach and healing,” yet dramatically underfunds its commitment to the diocese.
  3. The grim reality of paying $70K a year for HVAC repairs — expenses it has known were coming, and for which it should have saved,
  4. Inadequate HVAC in the nave and undercroft, including excess humidity in the latter.
  5. Elevator 1 long overdue for a major overhaul (knowing the church’s spendthrift propensities, some ding-a-ling likely will push to waste money by replacing the whole thing,)
  6. Failing rake boards, thermopane windows, and a faux slate roof from the 1997 renovations.
  7. A parking lot with paving beyond actuarial end of life.
  8. Energy inefficient lighting throughout the building, including parking lot lights likely to fail within the next few years.
  9. A shortened life expectancy on the condensing boilers due to lack of maintenance.
  10. Failing hot water heaters due to lack of maintenance.
  11. Lack of current ADA features, including compliant internal directional signage and electro-mechanical entrance systems.
  12. Local outreach amounting to just 3 percent of budget.
  13. Ongoing problems with rodents, particularly in classroom and food preparation areas.
  14. An antiquated commercial kitchen.
Moreover, in a classic sign of a dying church, a plummeting number of remaining pledging units is attempting to shore things up by increasing their giving, leaving the church highly vulnerable to even the loss of a few pledging units. As things stand, when adjusted for inflation, Grace Church has lost 1/3 of its income since 2008, even as it paid Bob Malm a $100,000 bonus, no doubt for his exemplary work performance. Meanwhile, more than half its pledging units have fled the church.

And to top it all off, the layers of unresolved conflict in the church now are largely irreparable, with my situation now no longer capable of repair. Having offered the church and diocese multiple opportunities to resolve our differences, that option is now off the table. After all, the very definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result. So I am not wasting any time on the hypocrites of The Episcopal Church. 

Here, in visual format, is where things stand, thanks to 30 years of perjuring priest Bob Malm: