Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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Rockville Centre offers buyouts for 1,500 workers

Wednesday January 27, 2010

You can add my neighbor to the East, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, on Long Island, to the growing list of dioceses facing tough times -- and taking some drastic steps to deal with its economic challenges:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre plans to offer buyouts to 1,500 of its 6,000 employees next month as part of a cost-cutting plan to save its schools and parishes amid stagnant revenue and rising demand for charitable services, church officials said Tuesday.

Officials would not say how many jobs they ultimately planned to eliminate in the sprawling Long Island diocese, which has 1.3 million Catholics in 133 parishes across Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

They said that many of the jobs cut would be parish-level positions like outreach workers, maintenance staff, nonunionized elementary school teachers and parish administrators, while about 50 jobs would be created at diocesan headquarters in Rockville Centre for a new Office of Parish Administrative Services.

The office will consolidate many of the purchasing, accounting and other management functions now handled separately by each parish, officials said. News of the buyouts and reorganization was first reported Tuesday in Newsday.

In a letter to parishioners posted Jan. 13 on the diocesan newspaper's Web site, Bishop William F. Murphy seemed to prepare parishioners for the announcement.

"Generous as you have been and continue to be, today the expenses associated with the ministries and services we provide," exceed the donations that "you, as good stewards, make," the bishop wrote.

Along with rising expenses for personnel benefits and building maintenance, he wrote, the diocese has "seen a steady increase in demand for many of the church's services" while donations have remained level.

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