Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Just over a week ago, against all odds, our community hospital was saved from the brink of closure. Many thanks to the hard work and dedication of Toni Tamarazzo and the rest of the hospital board, to Mayor Zimmer for her perseverance, and to Governor Christie for his action to save the hospital and the Hoboken taxpayers from those who voted to kill the hospital.
How could anyone with good conscience vote to saddle their town with an immediate $52 + million dollar burden, flush away 1,200 + jobs in the community, and close the acute care facility they claimed to want to remain open? That is a question that Michael Russo, Beth Mason, Tim Occhipinti, and Teresa Castellano have yet to answer.
The recklessness of those city council members nearly closed our hospital and brought our city to financial ruin. Had the Governor not stepped in, the consequences of their vote to not bond for the $5 million to settle would have resulted in a massive tax hike (possibly 50 percent), slashed city services, city employee layoffs, and a debilitated credit rating for our city (in addition to the hospital closure and lost jobs).
“It is completely unacceptable that the City Council placed local politics ahead of the 1,300 employees at the Hoboken University Medical Center and the people in the community who rely on the critical services provided by this hospital,” Governor Christie said in a statement. “This administration is not going to allow political bickering to put this hospital in jeopardy and potentially have a negative and irresponsible impact on the city’s finances.”
Russo, Mason, and company worked diligently to sabotage the hospital sale at every stage of the process. Michael Russo lied to the public, claiming that the Hospital Board didn’t have the authority to conduct the sale process. Beth Mason spent (it appears) thousands of dollars to broadcast misleading information via mailer to the entire community regarding the sale, and also seems to have collaborated with Appleseed and the nurse’s union to try to undermine the sale.
Meanwhile, the Hospital Board did their best to identify a bidder that met all the criteria that had been established. One that would eliminate the $52 million bond hanging over our heads and would guarantee that the hospital would remain open as a full service facility. Thankfully, they were eventually successful despite the efforts of those who tried to stop it.
Russo, Mason, Occhipinti, and Castellano do not deserve any thanks for their obstructionism, their pettiness, and their politically motivated sabotage. They clearly do not have the interests of the whole community in mind while making decisions that impact us all. If they cannot put the community first when the community needs them most, can we ever trust them to do what is right for Hoboken and the tax payers?
No, no we cannot.