By Zulma Prieto
People in big positions have the opportunity to change things and also to make change happen. One of the most outstanding things about the new Catholic Pope has been his attitude towards spending and luxury.
Pope Francis a former Argentinian cardinal became the first non-European pope, the first Latin American and the first to assume the name Francis. But, besides that, he has shaken the world during his less than a month presence as Pope.
Dressed in white and without his cardinals, he celebrated Easter Mass and afterwards,
he was with the people in an open top pope mobile shaking hands and sharing embraces and kisses.
He decided not to move to the papal palace; instead he will remain at the residence held since he arrived in Rome, a plain three-bedroom apartment. In tune with his acts, he has spoken of his desire for the church to be a “poor church, for the poor”. He has stressed the focus on the needy, the sick and the poor.
His attitude has made me think about facts that some have pondered but have never asked for changes. For example; Purdue University will pay President Mitch Daniels about $546,000, while Indiana University president Michael McRobbie makes more than $544,000, according to The Herald-Times.
President Barack Obama earns a base salary of $400,000 per year. He is also given a few nice bonuses like an annual expense account, a travel account and an entertainment stipend. These fringe benefits bring the President's total salary to over $550,000 each year. Does he work less than people in education?
According to the Muncie Star Press, Ball State University pays president Jo Ann Gora more than $422,000 annually. And the Journal & Courier reports that of Ivy Tech Community College pays president Tom Snyder, $300,000 per year.
At Indiana University South Bend Chancellor Una Mae Reck, on leave the first year, after retiring, will spend her time on special projects and draw her full current chancellor's pay of $208,488, and in July 2014, she'll return to the classroom as a full-time education professor, earning $173,740 per year. All this while the school announced the need to cut $2 million from next year's budget.
As you read these figures, I also invite you to question how much do the directors of each non-profit institution that you know earn? Is there a public place where people may inquire into who earns what?
In this upside down society that we live in many times the high salaries of officials are paid with fundraisers from the poor. The people who give not only ‘volunteer’ to run the event, but also, in most cases, contribute the food or items used for the dance, bazaar, ‘celebration’, or whatever name has been chosen to raise the moneys. It shouldn’t surprise us that business is run that way.
The next time we hear about any fundraising for churches or organizations, maybe we can ask how the money is going to be spent, and before that request that a list of salaries is posted in a clear place. It is our right to know since they function with our money. It is also our right to make sure that funds are allocated to wherever they were requested in the first place.
In this modern era when interns and volunteers do the hard work that ‘directors’ get applauded for, we could follow the example of questioning the luxuries that others have the right to have, over the lack of opportunities for others with real needs.
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