Under civil law, each parish corporation is run by a board of five directors, also known as “trustees”, two of whom are lay people chosen from the active parishioners of the parish. These lay trustees always hold the offices of Treasurer and Secretary in the parish corporation, and are thus sometimes referred to as the “Treasurer Trustee” and “Secretary Trustee.”
Responsibilities of the Treasurer Trustee
– The treasurer trustee represents the parish corporation as one member of the board of directors, and assists the pastor and parish corporation in the development and maintenance of accurate and detailed accounts of the parish’s financial undertakings and holdings.
– The treasurer trustee is a full, contributing member of the parish finance council.
– The treasurer trustee reviews the annual parish budget together with the pastor. In parishes with a two signature policy for checks, the treasurer trustee may be asked to review and sign checks for disbursement of parish funds as needed.
– The treasurer trustee signs the annual parish financial report sent to the diocese.
– The treasurer trustee signs corporate documents, as required.
Responsibilities of the Secretary Trustee
– The secretary trustee represents the parish corporation as one member of the board of directors, and assists the pastor and parish corporation in the development and maintenance of accurate and detailed parish corporate records including corporation minutes, documents, notices and correspondence.
– The secretary trustee is a full, contributing member of the parish pastoral council.
– The secretary trustee attends to corporate notices and correspondence, assures that the proxy documents and all corporate reports are recorded and filed as prescribed by federal, state, local and diocesan authorities.
– The secretary trustee is responsible for the corporate minutes from the annual meeting.
– The secretary trustee works with the pastor and parish leadership to prepare the annual parish and diocesan reports as required.
– The secretary trustee may be asked to review the annual parish budget together with the pastor, treasurer trustee, and finance council.
– The secretary trustee may be asked to assist the treasurer trustee in the signing of checks for disbursement of parish funds as needed.
– The secretary trustee signs the annual parish financial report sent to the diocese.
– The secretary trustee signs corporate documents, as required.
Selection of Lay Trustees
Selection of trustees is subject to the approval of the diocesan Bishop.
– Trustees must be fully initiated Catholics who are active in the parish.
– Trustees must be 18 years of age or older.
– Trustees are elected by the parish membership by ballot every two years. Generally however, both trustees should not be elected in the same year. The parish should establish an annual election of one trustee.
– The selection of the nominees for trustee should be based on nominations from the parish members at large. If several individuals are nominated for the post of trustee, the pastor may use his discretion to select nominees from those names put forward by the parish members at the time of nomination.
– The pastor has the prerogative to put forward nominees.
– One trustee serves as treasurer trustee, the other serves as secretary trustee, as spelled out in bylaws of the parish corporation.
– Trustees serve a maximum of three (3) two-year terms.
– Following the annual election, the results are sent to the diocesan bishop for approval. The bishop maintains the right to disapprove of an election result.
Other Important Guidelines
– Trustees may not hold office on either the pastoral or finance council. (But they sit on these councils ex officio.)
– Being corporate directors and officers, trustees need to operate with great prudence when dealing with the affairs of the parish corporation. Lay trustees may not initiate or respond to any significant legal matter in the name of the parish corporation on their own.
– To avoid conflict of interest, trustees may not be immediate family (spouse, parent, child) of any parish employee, other trustee, or member of the parish pastoral or finance councils.