New money to take care of the NCC's operating shortfall of almost $4 million this year is not on the horizon. The United Methodist Church-one of the NCC's largest donors-declined to pony up $700,000 toward a proposed recovery plan involving $2 million from NCC member denominations.
Part of the overspending stems from the hiring of a Connecticut-based consulting firm last year to sort out and suggest fixes for the financial and administrative mess at NCC headquarters. This was in response to a growing number of complaints about NCC operations from the Methodists and others. The study was budgeted at $750,000 but ended up costing $2.4 million.
The NCC's auditors also indicated it repeatedly had failed to institute financial safeguards. If the NCC were a business, it would be bankrupt. To deal with the crisis, the NCC general assembly in Cleveland approved an extensive restructuring plan. About one-third of the NCC's headquarters staff of 122, including three associate general secretaries, will be cut. Most of the NCC's program offices will be merged into a single "Unity and Justice" unit. Staffers will be "generalists" who will function in various roles, according to priorities set by the NCC executive board.