From the Parish Board chair

The long days of summer are getting a bit shorter and some mornings there is a nip in the air that reminds me fall is coming closer. While I will miss these long, warm days, I do miss our FRS community and look forward to seeing everyone at our first service on September 10.

Summers here on the Parish Board are usually quiet. We typically have a meeting to wrap up the year in June, then start the new parish year with a meeting in September. This summer was very different. In early June, Susan and I learned that Bill Heenehan, our Business Administrator, was resigning. At our June Parish Board meeting, Bill announced his resignation to the Parish Board members. Following the PB meeting, Susan Milnor, Lark Madden, Finance Committee Chair, and I met to discuss Bill’s exit plan. Additional Parish Board meetings were then scheduled for June and July. At the July meeting the Parish Board supported the request to contract with Meo Young as a temporary employee to fill the position until a permanent administrator was hired. Meo had extensive experience in finance. Her most recent position was Director of Finance at the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Newburyport. Meo accepted the position and began working with Bill the first week in August. The Parish Board met in August to discuss the tasks at hand for FY2017-18. The intent was to develop the plan for implementation at the September retreat.

“Best-laid plans.” The day after the August meeting, we learned Meo needed to resign because of a family crisis. Having just adjusted to all the changes, we were prepared to address our new challenge. Bill presented to members of the Board Art Henshaw, Vice Chair, Jay Iannini, Finance Committee, and Rich Johnson, Treasurer, as well as Susan and me, a plan for staff coverage and the areas that could potentially be covered by members of the congregation. We all agreed that the plan was reasonable and doable.

The Parish Board carries out its work by applying the principles of Policy Governance. With this approach, it is the responsibility of the Minister to form a search committee to fill a senior staff vacancy, interview candidates, and hire a qualified person for the position. Susan selected the following to serve on the search committee: Leslie Lawrence, Co-chair, Human Resource Committee; Rich Johnson, Treasurer and Finance Committee member; and myself as the Parish Board Chair. After a thorough review of the job description, a decision was made to change the job title to Director of Finance and Administration. This title is common among UUA-affiliated congregations and more accurately reflects the many administrative duties beyond finance. I am pleased to announce that we have received resumes from a number of qualified candidates and will begin interviewing the first week in September. I will keep you posted on our progress.

The Ministerial Search Committee has also worked through the summer. I do hope you have completed the survey the committee sent you recently. It’s not too late to complete it now! Your insights and ideas are important to the committee as it begins the search for a minister who will fit well with our congregation.

So--even though the summer was not clear, easy sailing, I believe we are strong and ready to meet the challenges of this year. As I have often said, this is an exciting time as we prepare for the new settled minister.

Best wishes to everyone in this new church year.

Barbara E. Garnis, Chair

Parish Board