Human Resources Recommendations and Goals

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Action Step 1.1

Create and establish a Human Resources Committee – as part of, and reporting to, a new Bishop’s Pastoral Council – to advise, counsel, and support the work of the Bishop and the Chancery HR staff.

Great leadership – and the search to recruit and retain right fit talent – begins at the top. Bishop da Cunha recognizes that in addition to our clergy, and in addition to the right fit administrative team, we also need right fit lay leaders – passionate and dedicated volunteers with the requisite professional skills, experience, and wisdom.

The HR Committee should be composed of 15 to 20 people, lay and clergy, recommended to the Bishop by the HR staff. The Chair of the Committee (at minimum, there could be others) will represent the Committee on the Pastoral Council.

Throughout the first-year implementation stage of Rebuilding in Faith and Hope the HR Committee should meet monthly to properly steer and ensure implementation of the plan. The Committee’s tasks will include, but not necessarily be limited to:

  • Offering professional advice and counsel to the HR staff.
  • Extending the reach and influence of the Committee, the Pastoral Council, and the HR staff through their personal and professional networks – expanding the capability of the Diocese to find right fit talent for all agencies of the Church.
  • Monitoring of the goals proposed by the plan, ensuring adherence and performance.
  • Reassessing the goals on a regular basis, determining which goals need revision or reconsideration.
  • Imagining new goals based on the changing and evolving needs.

The HR staff should recruit willing members and appoint the Committee when Rebuilding in Faith and Hope is approved by the Bishop.

Action Step 1.2

Determine the best internal HR Organization Structure and ensure that each position is occupied by an HR professional who has the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job effectively and successfully.

The HR function at the diocese, if administered at all, is scattered across the diocese. There is no central or coordinated administration. If a parish or related agency does not want to participate, there are no norms, policies, or procedures requiring them to do so.

It is the recommendation of this Commission to centralize the HR functions of the Diocese, with all HR managers and administrators reporting to the Executive Director of Human Resources.

Action Step 1.3

Develop and implement Standardized Recruitment and Hiring Procedures – an effective and consistent approach to recruitment, retention, new hire orientations, and onboarding. Hire for attitude, train for skill. It takes considerable time and effort to recruit right fit talent – effort to be made not only at the Chancery, but also in our parishes, schools, and agencies. Such procedures will include:

  • Sample budgets for marketing and recruitment.
  • Posting procedures.
  • Criminal background checks.
  • Number and type of personal and professional references – three at minimum.
  • Completed employment applications required from all applicants
  • Guidelines for making employment offers.
  • Salary guidelines.
  • Appropriate use of terminology, e.g., “permanent” vs “regular” employment.
  • Required introductory (probationary) period of 90 days.
  • Employee written warnings procedures.

It will be necessary to hire consultants to establish and implement. It is recommended that all hiring practices be uniform and consistent once approved.

Action Step 1.4

Develop a Talent Management Policy – written guidelines and required workshops – for all “managers” (clergy and lay) responsible for hiring and managing employees throughout the Diocese. Peter Powers, with the assistance of the HR Committee, will create and implement these policies upon completion of the Standardized Recruitment and Hiring Procedures.

Action Step 1.5

Develop, update, and revise Job Descriptions to ensure all managers and employees are aware of job responsibilities and expectations, and establish FLSA scoring and assigning of grades and salaries for all jobs

Job descriptions diocesan-wide are uneven at best, non-existent at worst. (In fact, most entities in the Diocese do not currently have job descriptions.) They should be uniform across the diocese – parishes, schools, and agencies – with the same “look and feel.” It is also essential to assign FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) status to all positions, with grades and salary ranges to ensure all employees are paid fair market value.

It is recommended that Action Steps 1.1 through 1.5, once approved, should be mandatory throughout the Diocese.

Action Step 1.6

Develop, update, and revise Volunteer Job Descriptions similarly for volunteers who serve our parishes, schools, related agencies and diocesan leadership committees, councils, and boards.

Volunteers need to understand their roles at all levels, including what is expected in in terms of the commitment of their time and talent. The newly formed HR Committee should take an active role in appropriately managing the expectations of those who volunteer. Such “job descriptions” should be explained in handbooks distributed widely throughout the Diocese.


It is the recommendation of this Commission to implement and enforce uniform and consistent employment practices across the diocese for all clergy and laity with managerial responsibilities.

Action Step 2.1

Standardize payroll throughout the Diocese to ensure our practices are fair, consistent and compliant. Issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) for payroll and an (HRIS) Human Resources Information System. Invite three to four payroll companies such as Paycor, Paylocity, IOI, Kronos, ADP, et al.

Action Step 2.2

Create and implement an online Learning Management System – orientation and instruction modules to be taken and passed (performance tests administered as part of the system) by all managers.

Such systems are known as Versal, Absorb LMS, Coassemble, Bridge, Mindflash, Saba Cloud, etc. Research necessary costs to build such a system (likely to be $20K or more) including design and implementation, tailoring modules to our parishes, schools, and agencies. When approved, all employees should be required to complete the mandated training with a six month probationary period. When implemented, establish and staff a Learning Help Desk to support the Learning Management System.

Action Step 2.3 

Conduct a Security Audit to ensure all of our employees work in a safe and secure environment – all employees are entitled to work in a clean, safe, harassment-free and Christian-like environment creating a harmonious, enjoyable, productive and fun atmosphere.

Engage an outside security firm or consultant (e.g., Joe McEnness, Risk Manager, Archdiocese of Boston) to conduct a Risk Management Assessment for all appropriate buildings, including parishes, schools, and other agencies. Contingencies include monitored access to buildings, front desk security, active shooter, shelter in place, virus and epidemics, and other emergencies. HR staff and Committee to consider the Risk Management Assessment and make appropriate recommendations.

Action Step 2.4

HR staff to conduct a Health Insurance Audit to assess eligibility and fairness across the Diocese. Medicare as Primary Plan to be implemented and should save the Diocese significant cost.


Action Step 3.1

Evaluate and implement a user-friendly Performance Management System to provide employees with valuable feedback.

Evaluate the pros and cons of using a pay for performance model.

A performance and development review rolled out across the entire Diocese (only in Chancery at the moment) should include those in managerial, as well as nonmanagerial roles, and should include:

  • An assessment of personal strengths and weaknesses.
  • A review of results from the past year.
  • Setting of reasonable and attainable goals for the upcoming year.
  • Opportunities for self-improvement and advancement.

Action Step 3.2

Evaluate and implement Team-Building Programs to eliminate organizational “silos.”

Senior managers and leaders (including pastors) should be aware of the importance of collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork so that they can lead by example for the benefit of subordinates and lay people. The HR Committee to evaluate and research appropriate outsourcing programs.

Action Step 3.3

Develop a Diocesan Intranet so that a library of all HR tools can be provided online, kept up-to-date, and shared with all locations easily.

Utilize a business communication system to connect all employees such as IRIS, Send Word Now (SWN), etc. Examples of resources to be online:

  • Employment policy manual.
  • Employee handbook.
  • New hire forms.
  • Application forms.
  • Performance and development reviews.

Action Step 3.4

Create a Leadership Training Program – including human resources related professional development – to strengthen the work of the Diocese of Fall River in all parishes, especially the emerging parish collaboratives (two or more partnering or linked parishes).

The program should be geared to clergy and lay volunteers to develop a common language and skill set for the work of Rebuilding in Faith and Hope.

Such training programs should include – for any clergy or lay person responsible for leading other staff or volunteers:

  • Leadership essentials
  • Building a cohesive team
  • Leading others through change
  • Leading dispersed teams
  • Delivering feedback and coaching



Jennifer Dalessio
St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro

Michael Murray
Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford


Patricia Bakaur
Christ the King, Mashpee

Keri Borba
St. Francis Xavier, Acushnet

Clarisse Botelho
St Stanislaus, Fall River

Arthur Brillon
St. Theresa, South Attleboro

Paul Brillon
St. Theresa, South Attleboro

Pat Cleary

Patrick J .T, Curran
St Julie Billiart, Dartmouth

Noelle D’Intino
Sacred Heart, North Attleboro

Dionisio DaCosta
St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River

Sr. Eileen Davey
Holy Name, Fall River

Paul DePina
Espirito Santo, Fall River

Donald Emond
St. Nicholas of Myra, North Dighton

Paula Gendreau
St. Julie Billiart, Dartmouth

Frank Howard
St. Patrick, Falmouth

Ed Kelly
St. Bernard, Assonet

Michael Lavigne

Lorraine Lecour
Cathedral of St. Mary, Fall River

Dr. Maribeth Manley
St. John Neumann, East Freetown

Michael McDermott
Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford

Jo-Ann Melchert
St. Thomas More, Somerset

Mary O’Dea
St. Jude the Apostle, Taunton

Lauren Owen
St. Margaret of Scotland, Buzzards Bay

Fr. John Ozug
St. Anthony, Mattapoisett

Peter Polachi
St. Anthony, East Falmouth

Carolyn Sarante
St. Mary, Taunton

Jo-Anne Sbrega
Holy Name, Fall River

Debbie Scott
St. John, Attleboro

Grace Small

Marie Thompson
St. Mary, Norton

Frances Tyrrell
Cathedral of St. Mary, Fall River

Mark Williamson
St. Mark, Attleboro Falls