The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany is laying off three people and will not fill four vacant positions in a move to cut costs, according to an internal memo acquired by The Daily Gazette.
The goal is to close a projected 2008-09 budget deficit of $975,000 and it will mean reductions in money for charities, decreased funding for clergy education and consolidation of departments.
The layoffs coincide with an overall restructuring of the diocese to address declining Mass attendance, a shortage of priests and changing demographics within the diocese that's expected to lead to church closings and consolidations that will be announced in 2009.
"The economy is suffering, and costs are rising. We find it necessary to adopt some budget-cutting measures," diocesean spokesman Kenneth Goldfarb said this morning. "Increasing health care and utility costs are having an impact on the diocese and the general public. We are not immune to the same economic pressures that exist around us today, and we are trying to do what we can to cope with them."
The diocese's central office has 85 employees on the payroll, and its 2007 operating budget was just under $10 million.
"Resources we depend on continue to be strong, but we don't anticipate they will keep pace with increasing costs we face," Goldfarb said.
The Bishop's Appeal, an annual fundraising drive, is a major source of revenue for the administration of the diocese and is expected to begin in some parishes this weekend. Approximately $7.1 million was raised in 2007.
In the memo, Rev. Michael A. Farano, vicar general, wrote: "The fiscal reality is that in spite of a Bishop's Appeal that continues to do well, one of the best in the country in fact, expenses are far exceeding income from all the sources."