Crusty did, however, wonder how long before some elements currently impacting our federal
|Coming soon to a General Convention near you?|
One aspect is governance through manipulation of financial brinksmanship and deadlines. COD is still disappointed with how the budgetary process was handled in the leadup to the 2009 General Convention. It was apparent to anyone paying remotely any kind of attention that a massive deficit was staring the church in the face, but there was absolutely no broader discussion in the church about how this should be approached. News releases from the January, 2009 Executive Council meeting lead with discussions of the Anglican Covenant (remember when Anglicans thought that was important?) and only then noted that expenses were ahead of projected revenues by $10 million. Rather than any strategic planning or broader discussion, it was simply all deferred to General Convention, by which time the projected deficit between income and proposed budget had ballooned to over $20 million. Please excuse Crusty for not posting more numerous links, but the link to coverage from the 2009 General Convention here no longer accessible. You can read some previous thoughts I have about this whole fiasco here.
Crusty asks, isn't one way to look at the 2009 budgetary situation as individuals manipulating the budgetary process? A budget with significant cuts was presented to Convention, more or less with the option to take it or leave it. This is the absurdity of the budgetary process, where bishops and deputies are presented with a budget and told to take it or, well...take it, since leaving it is not an option. Convention by canon must pass a balanced budget before adjourning, so the budget is passed with a minimum of discussion. Bishops and deputies were told these were only numbers, and not program or staff decisions. Meanwhile, staff were informed who was being laid off before the budget was even voted on; decisions about layoffs and program were already made days, if not weeks, before the budget was even presented. Staffing and other budgetary cuts, including walking away from a union contract without any negotiations, were made not only without any input or discussion, but without articulating any kind of vision of of what kind of denominational entity was needed in a radically different incarnation of church. We defunded and then a small group of people restructured. Sounds like Congress?
If anything, sadly, the 2009 process was a model of efficiency compared to the 2012 process, or as COD likes to call it, "Budgetary Clusterf**k II: Electric Boogaloo." Read more of Crusty's previous ponderings here and here. Similar to the current situation in Congress, where one wing of one party shutdown the government because it's demands were not
|Nice to know Washington Post reads Crusty.|
So who are we as Episcopalians to sit back and roll our eyes at the dysfunction of government? Honestly, at times Crusty sees little difference between what has happened in the last few years in our political governance -- dubbed by some commentators as budgeting by near-death experience, or budgeting by brinksmanship and financial crisis -- than the 2009 and 2012 budget experiences.
The reality is that the potential is for it to be even worse. The day is coming that without structural reform we will see the shutdown of our own governance. At some point very soon -- 2018? 2021? -- we will not be able to hold General Convention in its current format. Convention is too large, too long, and wastes an inordinate amount of time. (Note: this does not mean Crusty is an anti-democratic clericalist fascist, as he has been called. Stop with the straw man that reform inherently means one is opposed to the democratic process and principle in the church.) Read more of Crusty's extensive thoughts, from two years ago, before TREC was a glimmer in anyone's eye, and when only Crusty and Dwight Zscheile seemed to care about this stuff, here. The amount spent just on Convention and our own governance is shocking. We already have, already, shut down 815: We have an entity at 815 Second Avenue which is a property management and rental company that has some people who also work for a denominational entity called the Episcopal Church and which gets smaller every three years.
Our window for reform may have already closed. Maybe, as the Replacements once sang, "It's all
|Westerberg for PHOD!|