$500,000 for this Nonsense
The chairman of a hospital in New Jersey has resigned amid revelations he’d promoted a friend to serve as his assistant in a “‘low-show’ six-figure job,” Susan Livio reports. That chairman was: former New Jersey Governor Donald DiFrancesco! The job went to his friend, Jill Cooperman. Altogether, her hiring cost the “struggling” hospital $500,000, and Livio has a nice breakdown of how that cost was divided:
* $266,100 for Cooperman’s salary
* $60,000 for her severance package
* $175,000 in severance for the person who blew the whistle (Wait, what? Buried lede?)
* $12,000 for the law firm that investigated the kerfuffle
Elsewhere in funny business: NJTransit “hired or promoted” ten people “connected to” Governor Chris Christie, even as the agency “hemorrhaged staff needed to operate safely and reliably,” The Record and NorthJersey.com report. Most of those well-connected people had very important jobs doing whatever the hell it is you do when you’re the “senior director of public information” at some sprawling organization. One of the pay bumps was worth $70,000 per year. One went to a protege of David Wildstein. All of them are pretty “ironic” given the governor’s public statements on public workers.
Question: Has anyone else noticed when our elected officials call the other guy out on something, it’s a good indication they’re about to do that same thing themselves? “Every accusation is an admission,” as they say. I’m starting a file.
‘A Little More Corrupt than I Anticipated’
The professional and courteous Amy Rosenberg sat down for an exit interview with Don Guardian, the “bow-tied, cerebral, gay Republican” whom she calls, “perhaps the unlikeliest of Atlantic City mayors.” He leaves office after the first of the year.
Guardian calls himself “the adult in the room” and accused the Dems of buying votes, but the highlight, I thought, was the wishlist he outlined of Things the Governor and “the Camden guy” (George Norcross) wanted from Atlantic City. They are/were:
* The water authority
* Bader Field
* Redevelopment rights for the Southeast Inlet
It’s fun to think of the new adventures in urban planning that could be coming to the South Inlet in the New Year. My guess is if they had their druthers, it would be a big cement sphere covered with iron pilings and LED TV screens and you’d have to pay to park next to it.
On a personal note, the Route 40 Eds. liked Mayor Guardian and thought he was a great ambassador for Atlantic City. He inherited a mess, and managed to navigate it while only alienating some of the electorate. Apparently he’s considering a run for Frank LoBiondo’s seat, against Jeff Van Drew, the Democrat front-runner whose most damning criticism of President Trump so far is that he Tweets too much. There’s a showdown we’d pay to see.
A Christmas Miracle!
Atlantic City’s first SantaCon was cancelled over the weekend due to a lack of interest, which if you think about it is one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said about this town. Organizers cited an alarming lack of “that kind of dude”* in the greater South Jersey region. It was supposed to be Saturday.
Crackdown on Air-Fresheners
The number of tickets handed out by police over “license plate and
windshield obstruction laws” has increased 8% over the last two years,
according to an analysis by the Asbury Park Press. Citations can be for everything from hanging an air-freshener form your rear-view to having a fake license plate. That’s called #datajournalism.
Elsewhere in Feats of Journalism: Last week the bash brothers–Stirling and Sullivan–did that story on the medical examiners’ system. It was so good, guess what Phil Murphy did? He called for a “wholesale reform” of the medical examiners’ system! And Stephen Stirling got to report story too!.
Let’s hope those guys don’t get jobs at The Boston Globe now and leave us.
For the rest of the day’s Roundup, see below:
Proposed $2 billion merger of South Jersey hospitals nixed–Cooper University Health Care announced Friday its planned $2 billion acquisition of South Jersey hospitals, including Lourdes Health Systems, will not go forward. www.nj.com
Christie miffed after successor poses next to cutout photo of him on New Jersey beach–Gov. Chris Christie isn’t amused about his successor’s latest photo-op in New Jersey. www.usatoday.com
GOVERNOR EXTENDS PRESCRIPTION CONTRACEPTIVE BENEFITS TO SIX MONTHS–Starting in April, many New Jersey women will be able to extend their one-time supply of prescription birth control to six months at no personal cost, thanks to a new law that essentially doubles the amount currently available. www.njspotlight.com
OPINION: DOES GOP TAX REFORM SPELL TROUBLE FOR MURPHY’S MILLIONAIRES TAX?–As a candidate, governor-elect Phil Murphy’s signature campaign promise — increasing the income tax on wealthy New Jerseyans to raise $600 million and dedicate it to aid public education — drew the enthusiastic, definite, absolute, unqualified support of Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) who pledged to make the increase the first order of legislative business in 2018. www.njspotlight.com
What outside groups think of their chances to pick off a N.J. congressman (or 2)–The House Republicans' fundraising arm is going after freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer, while a progressive group is targeting Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. www.nj.com
Signs of thaw in Atlantic County’s frozen property market–Shawn O’Brien stood outside the property in the unit block of Willow Drive in Northfield. The attached garage door had a hole exposing the inside of the property, the paint around the trim of the front windows was chipped and the exterior of the home needed a fresh coat of paint. www.pressofatlanticcity.com
As demand for breast milk rises, women lean on each other for help–Carly Vogt had an oversupply of breast milk — an amount her nearly 1-year-old daughter would not finish as she continued to breastfeed her directly. www.pressofatlanticcity.com