SUGGESTIONS FOR THE REVISION OF THE ECONOMIC PART OF THE PROVINCIAL DIRECTORY
FINANCE - DOCUMENTS
2.2 SUGGESTIONS FOR THE REVISION OF THE ECONOMIC PART OF THE PROVINCIAL DIRECTORY
Fr Gianni MAZZALI
In the Project of animation and government of the Rector Major and his Council for the six year period 2002-2008, in the sector of the Economer General’s Department, evangelical poverty is mentioned as the first area of animation with some major objectives: “prophetic austerity in the personal style of life of the confreres and of the communities and openness and accountability in the use of money and the application of the means put at our disposal by Providence.” (AGC 380, pag. 55).
To achieve the first objective there is mention in particular of the following intervention: “Guide the Provincial Councils in the verification of the economic part of the Provincial Directory, with special reference to the use of material goods and accountability on the part of confreres and communities.”(AGC 380, pag.55).
The indications that follow on from this have the purpose of guiding and assisting in the drawing up or the revision of the economic part of the Provincial Directory, on the occasion of the next Provincial Chapter.
They provide a scheme which makes it possible to identity topics on which the Provincial Chapter intends to guide the life of the communities and of the confreres with regard to the practice of poverty and consequent economic, administrative and management issues.
We have tried to carry out a comparative study of a number of Directories in order to arrive at a complete view of the related issues.
Some Provinces have put in their Directory a chapter concerning the economic and administrative part, others have in fact actually produced an economic directory for the province trying to be as exhaustive as possible.
The headings can vary according to the particular approach or specific arrangement:
poverty and economy; poverty and the administration of goods; the administration of goods ….
It is important, however, to deal with all the personal and community aspects that regard the practice of poverty and that area that is part of the charism, the administration of goods both from the point of view of the local community and from that of the provincial community.
It is crucial to take into account the particular cultural context in which the communities in the province are located and obviously the different mentalities of the confreres, when the communities are international communities. Topics such as the relationship with the family, personal access to goods necessary for the mission, the style of life and standard of living should always be related to the context and to the culture in which one is working.
From this point of view the “economic directory” needs to be frequently monitored, so as to specify or integrate in it those aspects that need urgent attention, and regarding which directives have not been provided.
1. GENERAL CRITERIA IN THE AREA OF POVERTY AND ECONOMY
- reading the situation;
- reference to the Constitutions (art. 72-73 in particular) and to any relevant Provincial Chapters;
- poverty and the community;
- poverty and the mission to youth;
- work and temperance;
- relationship between poverty, social justice, poverty considered in the light of the Gospel;
- educational aspects in salesian tradition.
2. PERSONAL POVERTY
- Reference to the Constitutions 75 and Regulations 55.
- Salaries, stipends for sacred ministry or professional services, pensions…
- Working “tools” ( computer, mobile phone, books, various machines, etc);
- Availability of money and personal credit cards;
- Personal bank or post office accounts;
- Cars and other means of transport;
- Holidays and rest periods;
- Personal deposits (from legacies, gifts from benefactors for pastoral or missionary activities );
- Gifts or presents;
- Personal will and testament;
- Personal review of poverty;
- Leaving the Congregation.
3. POVERTY AND ADMINISTRATION AT LOCAL COMMUNITY LEVEL
- Community aspects of poverty and the community scrutinium paupertatis;
- Tasks and responsibilities of the local economer (watchful regarding the style of life of the community; responsible for the budget and annual account; ensure that information is prudently provided for the community through the community assembly; in agreement with the provincial economer providing information and advice; responsible for purchases and maintenance, etc.).
- Preparation and ongoing training of the local economers (training and updating).
- Opening, management and control of post office and bank accounts (detailed norms regarding who may open them, the choice of the bank in agreement with the provincial economer, the relationship between community and personal accounts …).
- Management of investments.
- The reserves of money being kept at local level (specifying the reasons, where they should be preferably kept, under whose responsibility …);
- Book-keeping (differentiated for the various aspects of the work; centralization of cash flows and control at the level of the provincial economer’s office; a single system adopted and applied by all the houses of the province);
- Work contracts and management of personnel;
- Ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of property;
- Records kept uptodate of property, insurance, contracts, registration of invoices and economic and financial documents; an inventory of goods.
- Contracts and agreements with the diocese or other bodies regarding the use of goods not our own, or responsibility for a parish or an oratory (in agreement with the Provincial and his Council);
- taking out bank loans and making loans of money to third parties.
4. POVERTY AND ADMINISTRATION AT THE LEVEL OF THE PROVINCIAL COMMUNITY
- The responsibility of the Provincial and his Council for promoting the spirit of poverty in the communities of the province.
- Tasks and responsibilities of the provincial economer (economic/financial committee, coordination of consultants; provincial budget and annual account; control of the accounts and bank balances of the houses; informing the Provincial Council and the Provincial Chapter; supervision and monitoring of all building works in the communities).
- Determining the provincial contributions and surpluses on the part of the local communities.
- Deposits of the houses kept at the provincial centre.
- Provincial Funds (health, study bursaries, formation, solidarity…).
- Rational organisation of provincial solidarity.
- Extraordinary expenses of the local communities (maintenance and new buildings, sickness, travel, natural disasters. ….).
- The management of inheritances and legacies.
- Severance indemnity fund.
- Procedures for the approval of new buildings and the documentation to be sent to the Rector Major and his Council;
- The annual rendiconto to be sent to the Economer General.
With regard to the methods to be followed it is possible to identify different ones, given that most Provinces already have a Economic Directory. It would be a good idea for the Provincial Economer to prepare with the help of his advisers an first draft, with any necessary additions or changes and that he submits it to the Financial Committee or other consultants for their consideration. The comments made will provide the Provincial Council with useful material for a careful assessment and in order to produce the text to be submitted to the examination and approval of the Provincial Chapter.
Following the approval arrangements should be made for communicating it to the communities and the confreres in the most suitable way taking especial care that the provincial and local economers take responsibility for putting into practice the norms laid down by the Provincial Chapter. The provincial economer will see to it that, in accordance with standard practice or in a way to be determined, the most appropriate means be established for the essential verifications/evaluations at various levels.
I finish by expressing the readiness of the Economer General’s Department to provide any further information that may be required in order to produce in a satisfactory manner the instrument the purpose of which according to the Project of the Rector Major and his Council for the six year period 2002-2008, is to assist the communities and each confrere to live to the full their own consecration to the mission to youth.