Bishop must keep everyone informed
To the editor:
Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton recently announced the suspension of the Holy Name Cathedral project due to accounting irregularities. He said they were found during the recent reorganization of the diocesan financial office and through an external auditing process. He said, “irregularities appear to have occurred with the payroll system and accounting processes for an undetermined amount of time.”
Could those “irregularities” have been the main reason for the cathedral project delays during the past several years. If so, the accounting issues could go back to at least 2014. Monforton announced on Nov. 25, 2013, that he had 75 percent of the funds ($3.75 million) needed for the $5 million project. He said that the project would be completed within 18 to 24 months. Why wasn’t it? Why didn’t he update his members regularly regarding the delays during the years? After all, it was their money that was not being used for its intended purpose and within a financial time frame that made sense.
The diocese has been raising money for the cathedral project for more than a decade. It’s hard to fathom, knowing the generosity of the parishioners in the diocese in the DPSC campaign and cathedral fund drive, that the money was not available to complete this project several years ago. Are all of the funds collected available now or were they possibly used for another purpose?
According to Monforton, the irregularities are “centralized at the chancery.” Has the chancery been following the diocesan financial management guidelines regarding potential financial issues and recommended steps to take in order to have checks and balances to eliminate “irregularities?” This was formerly the Diocesan Financial Issues publication originally published in 1992.
Monforton said, “I take full responsibility for ascertaining how this happened.” He should take full responsibility. It happened or continued under his leadership and in his office building. Now that independent auditors and a law firm are involved he has become transparent and forthcoming.
The auditors, investigators and law firm need to proceed independently without being impeded or influenced by anyone. Hopefully, Monforton, or someone responsible will update everyone with the results, whatever they may be.
(Editor’s note: The writer is a 1965 graduate of Catholic Central High School.)