Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And I Thought I Was Done With This Stuff...

It's tax time, and of course that means it's also W-2 time. Last Monday (the federal deadline), we still had not received my W-2 from SJ. So, I e-mailed the current pastor to let her know and asked her to check into it. She said that she would. I heard from her again yesterday and she said that B (the treasurer) had mailed it, and the delay was partially because he didn't have my address.

I knew that was a bunch of BS, or at least irresponsibility. When I left SJ, I made a point of giving my PPR chair and treasurer my new address. I also wrote a letter to the congregation and included my new address in that letter. In addition, the district office and my successor had it, also. You would think that B would have saved the address, knowing that he would later need it for tax stuff. That's what I would expect from any reasonable person.

However, B either lost my address (OK, possible, but he did have other ways to get it) or he was simply being passive-aggressive and making me work harder. Based on experience, I'm betting on option B. This is the man who routinely didn't mail/give me my paycheck because he "didn't know what I wanted him to do." Or, he'd take two months to give me a reimbursement check and when I asked about the holdup, he'd say that he had some questions, or wasn't sure if something was eligible for reimbursement. He's intelligent (albeit elderly and in poor health) and pretty responsible, so this sort of behavior just doesn't make sense.

Oh yeah, and the W-2 arrived today and guess what? It was wrong. Two boxes that should have been checked had not been. So, now I get to try and resolve this. Know what else? We haven't received our giving statement for 2008 from SJ, either.

Of course, I could have (hopefully) nipped B's passive-aggressive behavior in the bud when it first started appearing (about six months after I started at SJ). I could have confronted him and asked that we agree on a method of delivering my paycheck (mailing it two days in advance, giving it to me the week it was due, dropping it off, whatever) and stick to it. I could also have requested that any reimbursement checks be written no more than a month after receipt, and that he raise any issues ASAP. However, I didn't do that. I just kept being powerless and letting him control everything. I completely and totally abdicated my authority as both a pastor and as an employee. After all, every employee has a right to receive his/her paychecks on time on a regular basis in a typical manner. In all the other jobs I've had, that has been the case...I've never received a paycheck late. So, asking to receive my paycheck on X day and in X manner would not have been unreasonable.

My CPE supervisor and I have identified authority issues as one of the major contributions I made to the SJ debacle. The other two major ones were a lack of self-confidence and avoidance of conflict. I've found all of those issues arising in the past two weeks, as I have had to deal with this tax thing. I also feel like I've regressed, and am really struggling with myself to be pro-active, to confront this thing head-on, and to go ahead and send that necessary e-mail (telling B that the W-2 needs to be corrected and that we still need our giving statement) and deal with whatever vitriol I might receive via the Internet. I'm trying not to get the pastor (who again, is a friend of mine) too involved because she's dealing with some major family issues, and it's not like this is HER fault.

This just makes me so mad...and brings back so many bad memories and feelings. One of the major wounds/scars I received was that I now have some trouble with paranoia in my personal relationships. My CPE experience has helped relieve some of that (my colleagues are all very reasonable, straightforward people) but it still arises at times like this. It's one of the reasons that I know I'm not ready to return to the local church as a pastor...I'm afraid my residual paranoia would negatively affect my ministry and relationships in the church.

1 comment:

John said...

That had to be very uncomfortable.

Although I keep in some contact with my supporters (who left the congregation when I was thrown out), I have no contact at all with the actual church.

I guess that I was lucky that they didn't produce W-2s. We just used 1099-MISC.