Resolution #4: Financial Reporting Transparency

Status

ADOPTED BY CONVENTION OCTOBER 17th, 2020
Accepted by the Committee on Resolutions August 11th, 2020
Updated by the Secretary on August 13th, 2020

ResolvedThat the 171st Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of California establishes a policy that starting in Fiscal Year 2021 the Diocese shall improve and maintain its online financial reporting in the following four ways: (1) Include for each line item the budgeted amount, actual expenditures, and variances; (2) Include separate line items showing external legal expenses and external consulting expenses; (3) Post financial statements on the Diocesan website as soon as they have been shared with the Executive Council; and (4) Post online the year-to-date 3rd quarter updates for the current year prior to the annual Convention.

Explanation

One of the Diocese’s five stated tenets of The Beloved Community[1] is Transparent and Accountable Leadership, which “[i]s clear about how decisions are made and seeks to make processes more opened than closed; and values the discernment that happens in community and is open to hearing and acting on feedback.” Transparency and accountability are not only about what we do but who we are. 

This resolution aligns the Episcopal Diocese of California financial reporting of budgeted, actuals, and variances with the actual financial practices of The Episcopal Church and many parishes. At the wider church level, reporting budgeted, actuals, and variances is advocated by The Episcopal Church Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs.[2] This resolution is supported and endorsed by Acting CFO Jim Forsyth, and Treasurer of the Diocese Brad Barber.

Beyond The Episcopal Church, reporting budgeted, actuals and variances is a standard and best financial practice widely used by non-profit and for-profit organizations. Each year, Convention delegates are asked to approve the Diocese budget: in order for this approval to be as informed and meaningful as possible, standard budgetary information is needed in advance. Providing such information in advance allows delegates to review budget changes; get most if not all questions answered in advance by committees or staff; and prepare any remaining questions for Convention. Also, the better any of us understands the goals and needs of organizations that we support with our pledges and legacy bequests, the more generous we typically are.

There is no cost in making changes #1-3 as this information is already shared with the Executive Council well in advance of Convention. Change #4 is currently mandated.[3]

Most, but not all, Diocese line-item titles are already clear and transparent. In the Diocesan financial statement, the Chancellor’s base retainer is reported, but there is no separate line item for external legal costs. Similarly, it is not clear how much money is being spent on external consulting fees in various other departments. In some other cases, expenses appear to be sometimes grouped for expediency, making the line item title lose its clarity and meaning for the reader.

The annual budget report to deaneries and to the Convention is the primary opportunity for congregations and the people of the Diocese of California to learn about how our personal individual donations and our parish assessments are used. Since parish assessments provide 80% of Diocesan income, all clergy, lay leaders, and staff have both an obligation and opportunity to ensure Diocese of California financial transparency.


[1] https://diocal.org/beloved-community
[2] The Episcopal Church, Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs (Chapter III, “Bookkeeping,” ¶ 19. (Dec. 2019), https://episcopalchurch.org/files/full_manual_updated_012815_0_0.pdf
[3] Canons of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of California, Canons, § 5.04(c) at 24. (2018), https://diocal.org/governance/constitution-canons


Contacts

Ms. Sherry Lund, sherrylund@aol.com

Submitted by

Mr. Carl Cheney, Delegate, Christ Church Portola Valley and Woodside
Ms. Sherry Lund, Delegate, Christ Church Portola Valley and Woodside

Endorsed by

Mr. Jim Forsyth, Acting CFO
Mr. Brad Barber, Treasurer of the Diocese

Clergy:

The Rev. Michael P. Barham, Vicar, Holy Family, Half Moon Bay, and Good Shepherd, Belmont
The Rev. Stacey Grossman, Priest-in-Charge, St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, and Acting Director, St. Francis Preschool, Novato
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Hassett, Rector, St. Stephens, Orinda
The Rev. Dr. Eric Kimball Hinds, Rector, The Episcopal Church of St. Matthew, San Mateo
The Rev. Stephen McHale, Rector, Christ Church Alameda
The Rev. Beth Phillips, Rector, Christ Church Portola Valley and Woodside
The Rev. Julia Wakelee
The Rev. Lori Walton, Rector St. James’ Episcopal Church, Fremont, and President, Southern Alameda Deanery
The Rev. Dr. Deborah White, Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez

Deanery, Vestries, Bishop’s Committees, Treasurers, and Officers:

Marin Deanery:

Deanery Delegates, St. Francis of Assisi, Novato

Peninsula Deanery:

Mr. Aidan Jobe Sea, President, Peninsula Deanery, Transfiguration Church, San Mateo
Dr. Nancy Grove, Delegate to Convention, and Vestry Member, Trinity Church, Menlo Park
Ms. Kaethe Langs, Delegate to Convention, Christ Church Portola Valley and Woodside
Mr. Stu Langs, Delegate to Convention, Christ Church Portola Valley and Woodside

Southern Alameda Deanery:

St. James Church, Fremont:
Ms. Meg Amouroux, Delegate to Convention
Mr. Jim McConnell, Delegate to Convention and Vestry Member
Ms. Elaine Miller, Alternate Delegate to Convention
Mr. Ken Trant, Delegate to Convention
Mr. Scott Whitaker, Delegate to Convention

Treasurers/Finance Chairs and Vestry Officers:

Mrs. Susan Aley, Treasurer, St. John’s Ross
Mr. Chase Dearborn, Treasurer, Trinity Church, Menlo Park
Mr. Roy Elliott, Treasurer, St. Stephens, Orinda
Mr. Dan Swander, Chair of Finance, St. Stephens, Orinda
Ms. Betsy Biern, Senior Warden, St. Stephens, Orinda
Mr. John Donnelly, Junior Warden, St. Stephens, Orinda
Mr. Carl Diehl, Senior Warden, St. Columba’s, Inverness

Bishop’s Committee – Holy Family, Half Moon Bay

Vestry, Christ Church Portola Valley and Woodside:
Mr. Terry Lynn, Senior Warden
Ms. Angela Hey, Junior Warden
Mr. Sandy Bakken, Member
Mr. James Coker, Member
Mr. James Mack, Member

Ms. Lori Palazzolo, Member
Ms. Annemarie Redmond, Treasurer
Ms. Vinie Miller, Assistant Treasurer

Vestry, Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez:
Ms. Christina Reich, Senior Warden
Mr. Joshua Senn, Junior Warden
Ms. Connie Towey, Member
Ms. Jane Ramsey, Member
Ms. Amelia Brooks, Member
Mrs. Betty Case, Member
Ms. Stephanie Zichichi, Member
Ms. Sally Hanson, Member
Mr. David Kennedy, Member

Vestry, St. Albans Episcopal Church, Albany

Vestry, St. Francis of Assisi, Novato

Vestry, St. James Church, Fremont:
Ms. Sylvia Ma, Senior Warden
Ms. Monique Manjarrez, Junior Warden
Ms. Lynn Locher, Treasurer
Mr. Bob Bynum, Member
Mr. Bob Doherty, Member
Ms. Janet Fischer, Member
Mr. Tim Fortescue, Member
Dr. Mary Frances Leopold, Member

Vestry, Trinity Church, Menlo Park:
Ms. Leigh Flesher, Senior Warden
Mr. Steve Andrew, Junior Warden
Mr. Dan Cooper, Member
Mr. Peter MacDonald, Member
Ms. Barbara Newton, Member
Ms. Clarisa Odell, Member
Ms. Mary Pless, Member
Ms. Meg Rorden, Member
Ms. Rhonda Smith, Member
Mr. Davis White, Member

Comments

This legislation passed by a vote of Yes - 205 and No - 1.

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