Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mayor issues updated statement on hospital

Office of the Mayor announces:

HHI, with input from Holdco, decided that since negotiations have been very productive, they would prefer to defer the hearing to discuss the sales agreement until October 4th in a final effort to establish full support for the sale of HUMC.
This delay means that a final closing may be pushed back until October 17th.  While it will be a financial challenge, we are confident that the hospital will be able to make it to the finish line.
Once we get to the end of this process, there are encouraging signs that virtually every current employee at HUMC will be there with us. We have just found out that 99 percent of current employees, and more than 90 percent of current union employees at the facility, have already accepted positions with the new buyer.
Here are the data:
  • Holdco offered positions to 1,127 current HUMC employees
  • Holdco received accepted offers from 1,124 current HUMC employees (99.7%)
  • Holdco received non-acceptance of offers from 2 current HUMC employees
  • 324 JNESO members at HUMC
  • 314 JNESO members applied for positions at Holdco
  • 285 JNESO members were offered positions at Holdco (91%)
  • 435 1199J members at HUMC
  • 432 1199J members applied for positions at Holdco
  • 400 1199J members were offered positions at Holdco (93%)

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Nurse's union delays settlement agreement going outside creditors committee with complaint

If there was any question what's the hold up in the creditors committee settlement, the hospital nurse's union JNESO just cleared up the matter for everyone.  To this point the unions denied they were the logjam but one is going public, and solo to complain about monies owed - outside of the thousands of others owed roughly $34 million on the creditors committee.

According to their announcement touted in a NJ.com story, the bankruptcy hearing has been postponed until October 4th.  The original story states:

Virginia Treacy, the JNESO Executive Director, a hospital union whose employee trustee is on the creditors committee and represents registered nurses at HUMC, confirmed that no progress has been made since they last met on Friday.
The story notes Treacy complains there is $3.4 million in unused sick, vacation and holiday time owed among other items.  In addition, a temporary pay cut two years ago to keep the hospital afloat was never reinstated earlier this year, even with an arbitration in the union's favor that preceeded the bankruptcy action by the hospital.
Virginia Treacy speaking at the hospital public hearing at OLG.  Back then a million dollar loss "was nothing."  She now calls the Hospital Authority "morally bankrupt" for its management structure keeping the union from obtaining monies owed to it.
JNESO holds one seat on the seven board creditor committee.  Bankruptcy proceedings do not require in the end unanimous agreement of the thousands of creditors an in this case but a judge is likely to urge a settlement among the parties before acting to exclude one or two and move on the sale unless there is a filed objection.
Even without a filed objection by any of the creditors, the next hearing is pushed out to early October, days before the hospital runs out of money.
Mayor Zimmer is quoted in a revised story saying the vacation of the judge coincides with the new hearing date.  The original story quotes Treacy as saying there was "no progress" in a settlement but has now been changed to saying "no agreement."
MSV is going with the first version that featured only the union and no comment from Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
Talking Ed Note: Since MSV doesn't have a handy bankruptcy attorney available tonight, we'll await some of the finer points on the hospital saga.  At least what has been whispered on the settlement delay is now front and center for the public to see and judge for themselves.

Hospital Update: Bankruptcy Hearing moved to Wednesday

Here's the latest update on the hospital sale and yes, it's progressing.  The hearing in Newark scheduled for today has been moved to Wednesday.  A bankruptcy judge is expected to hear the case with the creditors committee and an anticipated recommendation from its members.

While there's haggling on a settlement, sources close to the discussion maintain a high degree of confidence in reaching an agreement.

A settlement with the creditors committee paves the way for the sale to Bayonne's Holdco, keeping an acute care hospital in Hoboken seven years out.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer has been relentlessly working to save the hospital
against the forces who seek its closure for political advantage.

Talking Ed Note: The noise consistent before last week's City Council meeting by the Old Guard that the hospital deal was dead has faded into the background.  The planted story Holdco had walked away from the deal as it turns out was a ruse.

You can probably guess who was aligned behind the scenes playing that song.

Political operatives continue to trot out the same rehashed lines about the bidding process and other options but the clock runs out on October 7th as the hospital lacks operating funds beyond that date.

Even the Jersey City Medical Center bid has been trotted out again.  Their plan was to maintain a minimal medical facility and add a bunch of medical offices piloted so the Hoboken taxpayers picks up the tab.

As before, the same retreaded talking points get spouted over and over as others are knocked down.  No one is claiming the hospital was "forced" into bankruptcy anymore with the hospital's viability days from expiring.

That should tell you a lot about the information they've been feeding you.

Michele Russo - 'I didn't get the Union City BoE job either'

During the long closed session at City Council's meeting last week, Michele Russo mother of 3rd ward Councilman Mike Russo remarked outside City Hall on her recent attempts to gain a taxpayer paid job saying,  "I didn't get that job," referring to a BoE position in Union City.

With a long closed session, a group of people sat at the top of the stairs and Michele Russo held court.  Directing her remarks to the group of around a dozen people, Russo noted "blogs" saying she was getting a Hudson County job but neither the Union City BoE position nor an earlier managerial housekeeping position had come through.

Of that search, Michele Russo said aloud to Claire Moses of Hoboken Patch, "When I get a job, you'll be the first to know."

Michele Russo was reported in a 2006 Hudson Reporter story for shaking down Pino's Towing when she held another public position in Hoboken running the local parking utility. The owner of Pino's was reportedly wired for sound on behalf of the FBI and the arrangement Michele Russo sought was a kickback: $5 per tow.  According to the report, she reportedly obtained $25,000 per year for the city towing contract.

The Russo clan has made a big fight of the local towing contract. The City has made an effort to expand the town towing capability since a record setting blizzard last December.

The Feds never filed charges against Michele Russo and it's believed a deal was struck where Russo's husband, the ex-felon and ex-mayor Anthony Russo would go to prison for extortion and mail fraud in exchange for no charges being filed against his wife.

Michele Russo looks at the agenda during the City Council meeting last week.  No taxpayer paid job there either.  The family grifting faces a door locked shut at City Hall but that didn't stop Councilman Michael Russo from projection charging the mayor for impeding on the family business.  Ironically, he called the mayor a grifter during the discussion of a bond ordinance for the hospital.

The Hudson Reporter published the letter below from a concerned Union City resident on the matter this past weekend.

Dear Editor:

Recently your newspaper published a column whereby there was speculation that a resident of Hoboken might be offered a position with the Union City Board of Education.

The allegation was that this individual is related to a public official in her community and that this could result in a partisan gain for the current mayor of Union City.

What many of us residents in Union City don’t understand is that with a high unemployment rate in Union City couldn’t a position be offered to a resident of our community?

You would think that the current members of the Union City Board of Education would try an improve the sleazy reputation that they possess.

They claim for example that they never determined which employee downloaded pornographic movies at taxpayer expense in their central offices.

Unlike other Board of Educations throughout our great nation they refused to set aside a spot on our local Board to be reserved for a member of our disabled community.

Many of us long term residents remember the outstanding services of Jose Fuentes despite a childhood affliction of Polio, was always an excellent advocate for the youth of our community without picking the pockets of us Union City taxpayers. I believe today Mr. Fuentes is now serving as a superior court judge in Jersey City.

Not bad at all! What a great positive role model for all our residents in Union City and elsewhere!

Tom Regan