Bishop makes cuts to save money

STEUBENVILLE — Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton announced Tuesday that four positions in the chancery have been eliminated and one position has been reduced to part-time in order to “make the diocese operate more efficiently and still be able to sustain the level of services.”

The positions eliminated included the executive assistant to the bishop, the director of stewardship and development, as well as both employees in the information and technology department. The assistant to the director of stewardship and development has been reduced to a part-time position.

An ad hoc committee that included people from inside and outside of the chancery was formed several months ago to evaluate every position in the chancery. Surveys also were filled out by chancery and parish staffs, as well as by school administrations. Recommendations were then made to the bishop on how to improve the financial situation of the diocese.

“These cuts were extremely difficult to make, and I am thankful for our employees’ many years of service to the diocese,” Monforton said.

The work of the IT department will be outsourced and the duties of the other workers, whose jobs and departments were eliminated, will be absorbed by several chancery employees.

As the bishop stated in news reports published May 4, 2018, “Payroll taxes were withheld from employees’ checks between 2004 and 2016, but the former comptroller didn’t send the money to the appropriate taxing authorities. The diocese had to pay $3.5 million to proper taxing authorities by liquidating unrestricted diocesan investments.”

The diocese self-reported the findings from an independent audit to federal, state and local authorities. The diocese is awaiting decisions by those authorities about whether any criminal charges will be filed against those responsible for the failure to pay those tax dollars.

Monforton said while the diocese implemented various cost-cutting efforts in the wake of last year’s discovery concerning the finance department, he said he will continue to look for ways to save the diocese money.

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