Proposed Children, Youth, and Young Adult Secretary Position
by NYYM Personnel Committee
We envision a yearly meeting that nurtures our children, youth, and young adults. One way the yearly meeting supports these goals is through two part-time staff positions, one focused on children and youth and the other focused on young adults. The position for Young Adult Field Secretary has been open for some time. When I asked people why they thought we had so few applications, the general responses were: no benefits; lots of weekend work; lots of travel, and, as a half-time position, it is not attractive to people who need full time work.
More recently, the part-time position of Children and Youth Field Secretary also opened up. Rather than continue with two part time positions, the Personnel Committee is proposing that we combine the two positions into one full-time position with benefits. More candidates should be attracted. Testing of this idea among a few Friends beyond the committee and at Spring Sessions brought significant positive response but also some concerns.
- Working with young adults needs a significantly different skill set than working with children and youth. Could we find somebody who could do both?
- Can any one person, even one with all the varied gifts needed, do this extensive job?
- Young adults will lose out because the focus will end up on children and youth
- Children and youth will lose out because the focus will end up on young adults
- One person cannot be two places at once on a Sunday or weekend
- Paying benefits would mean that staff cost would increase
Addressing the concerns
We could address most of the concerns by following the model that is working for the Aging Resources Consultation and Help (ARCH) program. A person in a full-time position anchors the program while local coordinators, working on a monthly stipend, carry out the work in closer connection to more monthly meetings than one person possibly could. Local coordinators could be hired to balance the skills (children and youth vs. young adults) of the full-time person. Having more people would allow us to be multiple places at once on a Sunday or weekend. Further, coordinators will reduce the need to travel long distances.
The main concern not addressed by this personnel plan is finances. Adding health insurance and retirement benefits for a full-time position and hiring local coordinators adds to personnel expenses. The short term is definitely possible. Because of gaps in staffing during 2017 and 2018, and other one-time unspent budgeted expenses, the additional costs of this personnel plan can be covered for at least 2018 and 2019 without any increases in our current income. However, if we want to sustain this plan, we would need increases in income starting in the next fiscal year.
The yearly meeting has several primary sources of annual income. Monthly meeting covenant donations, by far the largest source, as a whole have remained flat for several years and have not recovered to their pre-recession levels. In the last couple of years, we have had increases in annual income as NYYM Trustees redesignated income from trust funds for use in the operating budget. Trust fund income is expected to continue, but not increase significantly. While we have received grants in the past to try new programs, we cannot count on that source because grantors typically do not fund ongoing staff expenses. We have seen significant increases in individual donations since 2012 when we formed the Development Committee. The committee has reason to be optimistic about further increases in individual giving.
The plan is for this proposal to be presented for consideration and possible approval at Summer Sessions in July. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, sharing them in May and early June provides the best opportunity to address them and make changes.
For more details see:
You can also email feedback to [email protected].
—Personnel Committee (Ben Frisch, Ed Doty, Hans-Jurgen Lehman, Steve Mohlke, and Pamela Wood)