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International Economic Affairs Council

 

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Meeting at the General House (April 30 - May 2, 2014)

20/05/2014: General House

The International Economic Affairs Council (IEAC) – integrated by Víctor Preciado (Econome General), Alfonso Fernández (Ibérica), Rex Cambrey (Australia), Nicholas Banda (Southern Africa), Mario Meuti (FMSI), Delcio Balestrin (Brasil Centro Sul) and Paulo Roberto Girardello Franco (PUCRS) – met in Rome at the General House from April 30th to May 2nd to study the following topics:

 

Evaluation of the Provincial Economes’ Meeting

It was the first Provincial Economes’ Meeting at the Institute level, and it brought about mutual understanding and a sense of internationality, besides sensitizing the participants to a wide variety of situations, and allowing an intercultural experience.

All this was possible thanks to the reports from the Provinces, the information provided by the General Administration, and the reflection about the “spirituality of management”. And finally, the welcoming and hospitable attitude prevailing in the house, and the fraternal atmosphere in the group, motivated the participants to ask for a periodical meeting of this kind.

There were a couple of suggestions for future meetings: offering more dialogue to get to know each other better, and implementing the necessary means to facilitate communication (presentations in two languages​​; improve the quality of simultaneous translation and the Internet service).

 

Presentation of the GA Financial Report 2013

This topic included several areas, which were studied in order to determine what information should be presented to the Provinces and in what way: Income-Expenditure, Investments, Cost of Animation and Government, Solidarity, and Expenses of the General House.

The economic issue of Villa EUR - Associazione Marcellino was attentively examined, especially regarding the administrative cost due to management change, which implied reclassifying it as a Hotel, instead of falling in the category of Casa Per Ferie (guest house), under the responsibility of a company specialized in hotel management.

There was finally a presentation about how the GA Funds are being managed with the help of a number of Provinces collaborating in this sense, and the support of the Bedford Fund, a religious nonprofit corporation under Canadian regulations.

 

Financial Information from the Provinces to the GA

This has been one of the most demanding tasks for the International Economic Affairs Council in the last 5 years, in keeping with what the Constitutions indicate: “Each year the Brother Econome General presents (…) information concerning the financial position of Provinces and Districts to the Brother Superior General”.

Through the Marist Financial Information System (Marist - FIS), a website explicitly designed to receive data from the Provinces, we collected the financial information regarding the Provinces’ economic activity in 2012. While most AUs have used it, we are concerned about the objectivity and transparency of the information provided.

The IEAC was presented with the updates of a new version of the Marist - FIS, which will facilitate the work for those who have a poor internet connection. The group also requested a review of the accounting glossary’s content and translations.

 

Analysis of the financing model

The new GA’s financing model – replacing the per capita system – was a task of the present IEAC requiring planning and lobbying, which began in 2010 and was implemented in 2013. Considering that it received the GC’s approval for a period of three years (2013 - 2015), we agreed on writing a report for the GC regarding the model’s operation, and decided to carry out an assessment in our meeting of October this year, taking into account the comments we have received regarding the issue.

We emphasized the importance of publicizing the new measures taken by the GA regarding the usage of resources received from the Provinces, and the need for transparent reporting, especially concerning the rationale and symbolic value ​​of investing in certain extraordinary events having to do with the animation of the Institute.

 

Participation of Br. Joe Mckee, Vicar General

We appreciated the Vicar General’s presence at the end of the meeting in order to listen to a summary of the work we had done, and we emphasized the need for the GC’s support and participation regarding the Institute’s Economy, especially at this stage of deep changes, marked by the new financing model, and the New Models of Animation and Management Project.

Brother Vicar General thanked the IEAC for its work on behalf of the Institute, ensured the GC’s support, and committed to giving enough time to discuss administrative issues during the plenary sessions.

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