January 30, 2006

Sex abuse cases prove costly - Oakland Diocese lays off 17 staffers

Inside Bay Area

By Angela Hill, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND-The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland laid off 17 administrative employees Friday to help cover a $1.2 million budget deficit, caused in part by costs related to a huge loan the diocese took out last year to pay settlements in sexual abuse cases.

All of the 17 eliminated positions are in the main diocese administrative offices on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland, said the Rev. Mark Wiesner, who serves as spokesman for the diocese. The layoffs do not directly affect Catholic schools run by the diocese, cemeteries, the Catholic Voice church newspaper or Catholic Charities, which all run under separate operating budgets from that of the diocese offices.

"We regret the difficulty and pain these decisions will inevitably cause some of our employees ...," the Rev. George Mockel, a vicar general of the diocese, said in a prepared statement. "But unfortunately in light of limited financial resources, these decisions became necessary."

Five of the eliminated positions are part-time, 12 are full-time, Wiesner said. Three of the full-timers took voluntary severance packages.

Posted by kshaw at January 30, 2006 05:22 PM