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USCCB-RETIRE (UPDATED) Feb-6-2007 (680 words) xxxn

Combined years of service total 915 for retiring USCCB employees

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Thirty-one employees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops whose combined years of service total 915 will retire by July 1 as part of the USCCB restructuring.

Those who are leaving include the executive directors of the USCCB departments of Hispanic Affairs, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Migration and Refugee Services, Management Information Systems and Government Liaison.

Also retiring are the interim head of the Department of Communications, the conference's specialist in Catholic-Jewish relations, the associate directors of Government Liaison and the Office of General Counsel, the director of development for the Catholic Communication Campaign and two longtime policy advisers in the USCCB Office of International Justice and Peace.

The employees "constitute a group of talented and dedicated persons who have given great service to the bishops and to the church throughout many years," Msgr. David J. Malloy, USCCB general secretary, said in a statement released Feb. 6.

"While their departures will present many challenges to the work of the conference, I am confident that the current staff will be able to continue its record of excellence in service to the bishops and the church," he said.

Late last year, the USCCB offered retirement incentives to 48 employees who were at least 55 years old and had worked for the conference at least five years. The combination of the employee's age and years of service had to be at least 80.

The longest-serving employees to retire are Thomas Quigley, policy adviser for Latin America, and William Ryan, interim secretary for communications, who joined what was then the National Catholic Welfare Conference in 1963 and 1965, respectively.

Others who have been with the conference since the 1960s are John Henderson, executive assistant in the Office of the General Secretary, hired in 1967, and David Gibson, manager of special projects for Catholic News Service, who joined the staff in 1969.

In November, the U.S. bishops approved a restructuring plan that would cut diocesan assessments to the conference by 16 percent, reduce the number of standing committees from 36 to 16 and downsize the national staff by about 60 positions by 2008.

At that time, USCCB officials said about half of those posts were already vacant because they had not been filled when employees retired or left.

However, the figures did not include staffing for Catholic News Service, Migration and Refugee Services and three other offices, for a total of 125 authorized positions.

Msgr. Malloy said the "essence of the strategic plan and reorganization" for the USCCB approved by the bishops in November "is a smaller, more efficient organization emphasizing enhanced collaboration among different committees and offices and a clustering of activities on the basis of several focused priorities approved by the bishops."

There will be changes in staffing "in some areas of the conference," he said, adding that the voluntary retirement incentive program offered to employees who qualified was "the first step in the staffing response" to the reorganization.

Four of those scheduled to retire -- reporters Agostino Bono and Jerry Filteau, Gibson and accounting clerk Gloria Moore -- work for CNS. Six are MRS employees, including Mark Franken, executive director.

Six of the 31 retirees were scheduled to leave April 1, while the rest were to retire July 1.

Others in the group announced Feb. 2 include:

-- Timothy Collins, executive director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

-- Ronaldo Cruz, executive director of the Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs.

-- Eugene Fisher, associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, specializing in Catholic-Jewish relations.

-- Frank Monahan and Mark Gallagher, director and associate director, respectively, of the Office of Government Liaison.

-- Walter Grazer, policy adviser to the Office of International Justice and Peace.

-- William Kissane, director of the Office of Management Information Systems.

-- Ramon Rodriguez, director of development for the Catholic Communication Campaign.

-- John Liekweg, associate general counsel.

Twenty of the employees scheduled to retire are men and 11 are women.


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