The Diocese of Buffalo has implemented a new system that allows people to anonymously report if they suspect specific instances of fraud or theft in the handling of finances in churches, schools or any diocesan organization. The system is run through an independent company called EthicsPoint, which is used by thousands of organizations, including hundreds of educational institutions.
"The Diocese of Buffalo is blessed with generous and faithful people," said Bishop Richard J. Malone. "We have experienced very positive results in the Upon This Rock campaign, in addition to the outstanding support of our annual Catholic Charities appeal. With these blessings comes a responsibility that is not to be taken lightly."
Bishop Malone notes that faithful stewardship must be matched with open and transparent management of these resources. The diocese already publishes the audited financial statements of the Central Administrative Offices every February in the Western New York Catholic, as well as the diocesan website. The diocesan Audit Committee, diocesan Finance Council and individual parish finance councils already follow strict procedures for handling of offertory and other assets entrusted to the Church.
Building on this framework, the EthicsPoint system includes a toll-free hotline and a website server that is hosted off-site. The EthicsPoint system allows employees, volunteers, parishioners, vendors and other interested parties to report concerns regarding a range of suspected unethical behavior by trustees, officers, directors, employees, volunteers, staff, agents or contractors of the diocese. "The implementation of this hotline is an important additional step in our management of resources," said Bishop Malone. "Let us continue to work together in building a culture of stewardship and fiscal accountability."
Reports may be filed confidentially through EthicsPoint's website, or by calling one of EthicsPoint's trained specialists at 1-844-573-4177.