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Paid Staff

Paid Staff 1200 628 Michelle Boyer

HIRING A CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director is hired by and reports directly to the Council/Board. Where there is a Board of Directors, the hiring of the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director should be confirmed by the Council. The Council President serves as the communication link between the Council/Board and the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director. It is important to remember that, although the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director reports to the Council/Board, he/she does not have multiple supervisors. The Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director receives direction from one person, the Council President.

SUPERVISION

The Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director is the only employee who directly reports to the Council/Board. All direction and correction of the other employees is accomplished through the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director. If the results are not satisfactory to the Council/Board, correction is made at the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director level. There should be no direction by a well-meaning Council/Board member to a member of the staff. Because they are on the Council/Board does not give them the authority to manage staff. All direction to staff comes from the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director or his/her designated representative.

In the case that a Council has paid staff but does not have a Chief Executive Officer/ Executive Director, then supervision of paid staff falls to the Council President who effectively becomes the President/CEO. This places a heavy responsibility on a person who is a volunteer.

PERSONNEL MANUAL

Once a Council has any paid staff, it is important to create and maintain an up-to-date Personnel Manual. All employment practices such as hiring, managing, grievance procedures, terminations, etc. are clearly written in a Personnel Manual. Job descriptions and pay scales by position should also be included. The Personnel manual must meet all national, state, and local laws. It should have a process defined for all phases of employee relations.

TERMINATION

So often in nonprofits, termination of an employee for any reason results in a demand for money. It is believed that nonprofits fear bad publicity and will pay if there is a threat to go public. Learn how to terminate properly.

Have regular, documented performance reviews. Terminate only for failure to perform to job standards after required opportunities to improve performance, or for violation of corporate policy or law. Always terminate in accordance with the personnel manual.

WAGES/WORKING CONDITIONS

The Council strives to meet its moral obligation of a fair wage and good working conditions. With the cost of employee’s wages, workers compensation, health insurance, etc., it is very difficult to offer as much as we would like. There is a movement throughout the country to evaluate and increase wages where necessary. Minimum wage is under scrutiny. This affects all SVdP operations where paid staff exists.

Survival of the Council is the bottom line. If a Special Work’s costs or employee costs in general won’t result in money to be used for the support of our missions, then fix it now or stop doing it. A number of Councils have gotten into financial trouble because they did not take action on this appropriately or in a timely manner. Thrift Stores and Special Works are effectively business operations and should be treated as such by leadership.

Assisting and Guiding Conferences

Assisting and Guiding Conferences 1200 628 Michelle Boyer

HELP IN COUNCIL EFFORTS

Conferences should be involved in a regular and frequent basis in the operation of the Council. This can be accomplished by involving them as Council Members, as volunteers, as committee members, on special projects, on fund raising, in special works, in general membership meetings, and in every other way that may be appropriate.

FORMATION/TRAINING

The Council should provide formation and training to all members of the Council especially new Vincentians. The National Formation and Spirituality Committee has developed formation/training programs that are available across the country. The National website (www.svdpusa.org) has many documents, power points, etc. available that should be used to form and train Vincentians.

By a resolution of the National Council, all new members of the Society have to attend an Ozanam Orientation within their first year as a member. Also, any member, who is elected to or appointed to be an officer at any level in the Society, must have attended an Ozanam Orientation or must attend one within the first year as an officer. It is highly recommended that all members of the Society attend the Ozanam Orientation at least once. Attending the Ozanam Orientation every three to four years as a refresher is recommended for all members.

This places a burden on the Council. The Council must provide the Ozanam Orientation formation program within the Council area as often as is necessary to fulfill the requirements for training prescribed by the National Council. If the District Council lacks the resources to provide the Ozanam Orientation on an as needed basis, it should seek assistance from the next higher Council to provide this training.

CONFERENCE/COUNCIL VISITATION

Conference visitation by a District Council (District Council visitation by a Diocesan Council) is an extremely important responsibility of the Council. The Officers and Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director should each attend one Conference (Council in case of Diocesan Council) meeting each month to facilitate communications and solidarity with them. That means that five meetings a month could be attended if the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director each participate. In many District Councils, this would mean that each Conference is visited at least twice a year. For Diocesan Councils, coverage depends on the frequency of District meetings. A staff person should come along on some of the visits to explain what that department or special work does and how they can assist the Conference/Council.

YOUTH INVOLVEMENT

A planned program for youth involvement is very important. Many aids are available for recruitment, involvement and understanding how we can utilize one of our greatest assets. There are so many aids now available, such as brochures, outlines of how to start a youth conference, power point recruitment, and many more. There are Regional Youth chairs you can contact that are eager to offer ideas and assistance. With no intent to overuse an old cliché, “youth are our future.”

DIVERSITY

The United States is a melting pot of race, creed, language, and culture. It is important that our Conferences reflect the diversity of our local community within its membership. Councils should emphasize awareness of community demographics and assist Conferences to build their membership based on who comprises their community. Councils should also strive to develop diverse leadership both within the Conferences and Councils themselves.

Councils and Their Conferences

Councils and Their Conferences 1200 628 Michelle Boyer

This document is about Councils; yet, the starting point of this document is Conferences. Why is that? As you will see below, Councils don’t exist without Conferences and the Council’s primary role is to support the Conferences.

CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION IN THE COUNCIL

This is an important principle to keep in mind: Conferences that do not want to participate with the Council have not been convinced they receive anything of value from the Council and its activities. Councils should never be formed simply for the sake of forming a Council. Councils have a particular purpose and the Conferences must understand what that is.

In the Rule that was in effect prior to 2003, there was a statement that was a clear definition of the purpose of any Council. This statement was in Part II of the Rule, Article 15:

  • Councils are responsible for animating and coordinating the work of SVdP units within their respective jurisdictions.
  • They serve the Conferences. All Councils are first and foremost at the service of the Conferences with a view to furthering charitable activities. Because every Council gathers information about human needs and services from a variety of sources – the community at large, as well as the Conferences – it keeps Conferences in touch with changing social problems and new programs for helping
  • … each year, each Council obtains and compiles a consolidated annual report of all the Conferences and Councils attached to it. The Council’s report is then forwarded with any comments to the next higher Council for the preparation of the annual report of the National Council of the United
  • Councils encourage initiatives and strive to bring about the establishment of Conferences, Councils and new works, and the revival of dormant or defunct
  • A Council reviews and evaluates applications for aggregation and institution that are submitted by its affiliated SVdP groups. If approved at District and Diocesan Council levels, the application is forwarded to the National Council for transmittal to the Council General (International).
  • Councils organize, to the fullest possible extent, training and formation sessions for members and potential members on spiritual themes, the Vincentian vocation, and problems of social action and justice.
  • To coordinate Vincentian work, Councils keep in regular contact with their Conferences and Councils and inform them of the activities of the
    The Council represents its constituent units in contacts with religious and public
  • Each Council determines the expected contribution (solidarity) from attached Conferences and Councils in order to meet its necessary expenses and assist needy Conference and Council groupings attached to
  • Special works of the Society conducted by the Councils must rely on the Conferences for support, personnel and

In the current Rule, these responsibilities have not changed. They are also spelled out but not in so compact a form.

The fact of the matter is that all Conferences should be aware of what the Council is doing for them. Conferences should be receiving benefits from the Council that clearly provide value to them. It is the responsibility of the Council to ensure that Conferences understand this clearly. Ultimately, it is the Conference members themselves who make up the Councils and who make the decisions in support of the Conferences.

STRONG CONFERENCES

Strong Conferences make a strong Council!! It is the Council’s responsibility to assist and guide Conferences in fulfilling the mission of the Society. The best way to do this is to ensure that Conference leadership and members understand what the Society is all about, what the role of the Conference is and what is expected of members.

When Conferences get into trouble (begin to decline or get into some other difficulty), it is far better to be proactive rather than reactive. It is recommended that each Council form a Conference Resources and Concerns Committee to:

  1. Promote understanding and compliance with the Rule, Bylaws and Manual;
  2. Develop resources that will help Conferences to understand and fulfill their roles in the Society;
  3. Provide training materials for Conference leadership;
  4. Monitor Conference activity and act to assist Conferences who are in trouble;
  5. Promote and assist in establishing new Conferences;
  6. Assist in revitalizing existing Conferences, where needed; and
  7. Mediate Conference concerns where

A well-formed Conference Resources and Concerns Committee can monitor Conference activities and offer many aids to make a Conference more effective.

Council Responsibilities to The Society

Council Responsibilities to The Society 1200 628 Jill Pioter

Two documents on the National Council website — What Is Expected of an Archdiocesan/Diocesan Council and What Is Expected of a District Council — clearly explain what a Council should be doing. A few key reminders are listed below. As part of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Council will:

  • Accept and strive to achieve our stated missions.
  • Operate within the Rule, Manual, Nationally Approved Bylaws, and Resolutions of the Society.
  • Report annually on a timely basis on its activities and results.
  • Take part in the larger Society by attendance at meetings and participating in Regional or National Committees when asked to do so.
  • Share all best practices, processes, or procedures with other Councils whenever possible.
  • Actively promote training and formation of its members.
  • Develop a program of extending our work to those parishes within our Diocese that have no Conference.
  • Do everything possible to strengthen the spiritual life of its members.

We thought focusing attention on these expectations at the start of a new fiscal year would be helpful.

In addition to the documents linked above, another useful areas of the website that’s worth checking out is: https://members.ssvpusa.org/information-for-members/standards-of-excellence/.

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