By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published February 4, 2010
How are we doing?
That’s what pastors and school principals are soon going to be asked when the Atlanta Archdiocese polls parish leaders.
It has been three years since the archdiocese surveyed leaders across its 69 counties, 99 parishes and missions, and 18 schools to get a picture of the weaknesses and strengths of its ministries and offices.
Asking the question is the first task of Peter Faletti, the new master planner for the archdiocese.
“We’re not done. We just laid the foundation that we need to keep building on,” said Faletti, who in December joined the staff in the two-person Office of Planning & Facilities. He previously advised the archdiocese as a consultant for the North Highland Group, the professional firm that supported the strategic planning project.
The archdiocese began the planning project in 2007. The goal was to look at its administrative functions in order to streamline procedures, adopt best practices from the business community and make its services more effective.
Faletti said the questions will gauge an awareness of the short-term changes in budgets and departments and whether the archdiocese offices are more effective.
“We’re going to ask them to re-rate everything,” he said.
He points to one change since the planning project got underway. That would be finances. The archdiocese’s operating budget since then has been trimmed by $2 million from $32.6 million in the 2007-2008 budget. And through initiatives at Catholic schools, parishes have saved $2.8 million in assessments, according to Brad Wilson, the chief financial officer for the Atlanta Archdiocese.
At the same time, departments have been eliminated and merged and departments were encouraged to improve customer service, Faletti said.
The position of master planner is relatively new. Faletti is only the second person to hold that position.
Msgr. Joe Corbett, a vicar general for the archdiocese, said the planning office is to assist pastors and principals as they consider expansion and development. Mostly, Msgr. Corbett said, that means providing the latest available information to help pastors, principals and committees make good decisions “as they faithfully work to build up the Kingdom of God in their part of the archdiocese.”
Making available research and analysis of past and present building development, both within and outside the Atlanta Archdiocese, can be a great help to parishes, schools or missions in the early stages of a project, Msgr. Corbett said.
The responsibilities of the position of master planner include anticipating needs and collecting information for decision-makers, from best practices in operations to new economic forecasts and projected population growth.
Overall, Faletti said he expects to see less growth around the archdiocese than was forecast in 2007 because of the economic downturn. But he said pressures on parishes to begin large construction projects will return once the economy turns around.
Faletti comes from a financial background, serving in the banking industry for many years.
As the master planner, Faletti said he will be involved in conversations with parish leaders about expensive building projects. He will function as a facilitator of information, not as a gatekeeper to say no to projects, he said.
He will work with parishes to determine the feasibilities of projects and see if the parish ideas both solve the problem and are within its financial capability, he said.
A native of St. Louis, Faletti is a parishioner at Christ Our King and Savior Church, Greensboro, where he is the music director and sits on the financial council. He is married to Maureen Harty, and they have a grown son.