Parents are calling for the ouster of a Park Slope pastor.
They claim that Rev. Daniel Murphy fired James Flanagan, veteran principal of St. Saviour Elementary School on Eighth Avenue in Park Slope, to make room for “his friend,” Maura Lorenzen, the co−director of the Congregation Beth Elohim Early Childhood Center.
“I don’t know anything about her. She might be fine, I don’t know. But there’s a lot of conflict of interest involved as far as how the selection was made because she is on the Parish Council, which is part of the decision−making process,” said Cindy Brolsma, who has three children at St. Saviour. “It feels like it wasn’t a professionally run selection process, just kind of a handpicked friend of the priest. It feels like cronyism.”
With their concerns about the appointment process and their anger about Flanagan’s firing, parents are now calling for Murphy’s removal.
“We’re so frustrated and everyone is so sick of him appointing his friends to all the positions that we want to maybe have a new pastor, someone we could trust and feel good about,” Brolsma said.
According to Brolsma, some donors and alumni of the school are withholding financial contributions unless Murphy is removed.
Murphy would not comment on calls for his ouster.
All he would say in regard to the hiring and firing complaints was, “We don’t publicly discuss our employees’ employment situation.”
In a letter to parents, Murphy explained his reasoning for hiring Lorenzen, who has been an educator since 1982.
He wrote, “Maura is a lifelong parishioner of St. Saviour. She is a graduate of both our elementary school and our high school. Currently, Maura is a member of our Parish Council, our Welcome Team and our Hospitality Committee, as well as being a catechist in our School of Religion.”
He added, “In the five years that I have known her, Maura has consistently demonstrated to me all the skills and qualities that are essential to lead our school into the future.”
The Diocese of Brooklyn has insisted that it would not become involved in any employment issues at St. Saviour.
©2009 Community News Group
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