Monday, August 3, 2009
Waiting on Church Audits...
Janet E. Pachmayer, the former bookkeeper at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Menomonee Falls, WI, was convicted of three misdemeanor theft charges last week and faces about two years in prison. She stated previously that she stole roughly $134,000 over the past few years by overstating the utility bills by a few hundred dollars and pocketing the difference. This raises some major questions of basic accounting procedure. When the pastor and a trustee at the parish signed checks, didn't they look at the amount on the check and the amount on the bill or did they not even have the bill with the check? This person was obviously given too much control of the parish finances. A basic audit would probably have uncovered the overstating of the utility bills because it is such a large portion of a parish's budget, and a basic audit would have also corrected the procedure for the signing and mailing of checks.
About one year ago, former Milwaukee Archbishop Dolan stated that church audits would be around the corner. So far... no news. The rumor is that this is because of the prohibitive cost. Nevertheless, something needs to be done to bring pastors and office persons and trustees up to snuff on basic auditing procedures. It would save us from many future headaches.
A Faithful Catholic