Delivered to 15,000 Plainfield "doorsteps" Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Assemblyman Green attacks Muhlenberg board president

In a page one story in Tuesday's Courier, Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green attacked the president of Muhlenberg's board of trustees, Ron West, calling for his replacement.

You need to read the story. Carefully.

Here we have a player (the Assemblyman) who has been intimately involved with Muhlenberg and Solaris Health Systems over many, many years. And a board president, Ron West, who has yet to serve his first full year.

The financial difficulties that threaten to overwhelm the hospital are not news to careful observers, and certainly not news to Assemblyman Jerry Green.

After all, when he was a vice president for the Alman Group, one of his clients was Solaris Health Systems. (Was he lobbying? Is he a registered lobbyist? Interesting questions.) He is intimately aware of Solaris' and Muhlenberg's needs.

Years ago, hopes were placed in Muhlenberg's getting a 'certificate of need' for cardiac surgery. That process which, in spite of having a medical gloss to it, was political from beginning to end -- the end being that the Assemblyman's mojo failed to deliver the hoped-for outcome to Muhlenberg and the application was denied. Even though -- and I was told this by a participant -- Muhlenberg was held to have made the best and most compelling presentation by all the hospitals vying for the limited number of licenses.

This meant the handwriting was on the wall as much as seven or eight years ago, and Assemblyman Jerry Green was deeply involved -- not Ron West, who has been chair of Muhlenberg's board for less than a year.

Next, the Assemblyman swooped in from left field with a proposal to use Schools Construction Corporation funding set aside for the Abbott schools to build a new school on the Muhlenberg campus. (This, in spite of the fact that a community task force organized by the state and with the Assemblyman's blessing, recommended a new school needed to be sited in the West End.)

Sweeping aside the task force's conclusion, Assemblyman Green conducted a strenuous public relations effort to bring a $100M school project (his figure) to the hospital site. The scheme ultimately collapsed, when the monies available shrank to the point Muhlenberg would not be significantly helped and a more realistic assessment of the site did not favor the placement of a school there.

Now that the crisis has come to a head, the Assemblyman is attempting to throw the blame on Ron West, accusing him of not supporting the effort to keep the hospital open.

You may be forgiven if you are a little confused by Assemblyman Green's effort to portray himself as both a leader in the struggle to keep the hospital open and chief embalmer of the still-living body in setting up his 'community task force' -- which, after all, is only about CLOSING, not SAVING, the hospital.

There is something the Assemblyman could do, though. Something that no one else can do. Assemblyman Jerry Green, who will have to sign off on closing Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, could stand up tall and say he simply will not do it. That he will not put his John Hancock to anything to do with closing Muhlenberg, and that the state would have to close it over his objection.

Or, as people often say, 'over my dead body'.

Now, that would be a man of courage, a man to admire.

-- Dan Damon

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Rob said...

Courage...leadership ??? Admirable qualities for people who are truly interested in serving the people. Obviously not qualities associated with people who are interested in serving themselves, their cronies or their party's interests. The most pathetic part of it all is that either Jerry is too stupid to remember what he is done/said or he assumes we are too stupid to remember what he has done/said. Dear Jerry - I have no problem with you lying, just please, put a little more effort into it would you please ?? Huh ? Would ya?? Thanks...

Anonymous said...


Your summary of the article was 'on point'....but you missed the best (most comic) part...Green recommending Robinson-Briggs as a replacement for West..

now, there is a joke!

Anonymous said...

Dan-I read your blog and the Courier article. There seems to be some confusion in the Assemblyman's mind re the governance of Muhlenberg. John McGee is hired (and paid)by the Solaris Board; he does not choose the members of the Board and certainly not the Chairman of the Muhlenberg Board. The Chairman of the Board is a community member (unpaid) who is elected by the Board (also unpaid community members).
I do however think that the Assemlyman has a point about the Board being represented at his Task Force. Perhaps the decision to have staff (McGee) represent us is unwise, since we are a non-profit community hospital.
Donna Vose, member MRMC Board

Anonymous said...

I can't believe, after all the money and chits were spent to get Sharon! in place, Jerry would want to put her in charge of "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."

Anonymous said...

You should have stayed for 'CITIZEN'S GREEN'S" comments at Council's agenda session. As to Assemblyman Green it is Jeckle and Hyde.

Anonymous said...

What a choice! As I bump and jar along on Plainfields endless potholes and ruined pavement, I think, how would she! ever fix what will become the "Mother of all potholes" Muhlenberg?

Anonymous said...

I hope no one else is taking Assemblyman Green's comments at face value. He puts out a ridiculous and inaccurate press statement and unfortunately some fall for it. He is clearly singling out someone who has been chairman for less than a year while he has been the assemblyman for seven terms and has done nothing to save Muhlenberg. Green has only responded to public pressure. I have been at the rallies and I have also been at several other public events where Green has talked about Muhlenberg. He changes his rhetoric depending on the audience. Sometimes its the "illegals" and sometimes its the "poor" and sometimes its the "republicans." Green has the ability (as he always claims) to lobby his legislative colleagues to not grant Solaris the opportunity to close Muhlenberg. Like Green, they can vote "no." He is always bragging about how much power and influence he has in the assembly. Well now is the time for him to demonstrate that power. For him to attempt to lay the blame on an individual whom he deems (with no evidence, by the way) insufficiently concerned about the hospital's fate is mere obfuscation. At the democratic committee meeting in Plainfield last week he made a series of rambling comments blaming Ron West. Even his committee members were shaking their heads, mystified. Sorry, he is not exhibiting "leadership." He is a demagogue and is laying blame in the wrong place and simply cannot back up his fake hysteria with facts.