I chaired a meeting of the Clergy Salary Commission this evening. We took care of some housekeeping items, such as a notification from the diocesan treasurer that we can probably look forward to a 2% salary and benefits increase. The real work, though, was the beginning of a total review of our current salary and benefits documents. To put it simply, it contains a lot of ambiguities, and I have put hours and hours into trying to tidy it up. This has not been easy, given that the official text is in French and this is not my mother tongue.
We started out at 7:30 pm and went until past 10. To help things move along I brought a laptop and projector, and we examined the document on the screen, making changes as we went. My desired objective was to have everyone *seeing* the same thing, even if we didn’t necessarily yet agree on the solutions (the first step to resolving a problem, after all, is to properly define it). In that respect, the meeting was a smashing success, and even though we didn’t get a chance to finish going through the document the members of the Commission readily agreed to work on it on their own at home, in preparation for a follow-up meeting later on.
Why is all of this important? I have a passion for this because it touches on the quality of life of our priests. This is the document, for example, that sets minimum standards for rectory living — standards which, in some cases (and for many different reasons) are not being met. As well, if we can get this document structured properly, it can become a jumping-off point for looking at things like the financing of continuing education for priests.