By a vote of 4-1, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders officially started the process of privatizing the John L. Montgomery and Geraldine L. Thompson Care Centers, the nursing homes that have been run by the county government since the early 1900’s.
Freeholder Director Gary Rich and Deputy Director Serena DiMaso joined Freeholders John Curley and Tom Arnone in voting to move the nursing homes to the private sector. Curley and Arnone have long advocated the privatization, while Rich and DiMaso have sought additional study of the issue. Freeholder Lillian Burry voted no on privatization, steadfastly maintaining her position that county government has an obligation to care for its most vulnerable residents. Burry favored a plan to merge the operations of the two care centers.
Monmouth County property taxpayers have borne deficits of $45 million in the nursing homes since 2007. With cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements under ObamaCare, the deficits have grown to almost $7 million per year.
This evening at the Monmouth County Agriculture Building, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders will listen to a report on the state of the county owned care centers/nursing homes. Following that report, the are very likely vote to move forward in the process of selling or privatizing the facilities.
There have been compelling arguments made on both sides of the issue. There has also been emotion driven demagoguery on both sides of the issue. What may have been missing, so far, is a dispassionate analysis. There are those of both sides of the issue who have been fighting for their intended outcome based on ideological, emotional, and political concerns. Ideology, emotion and politics are all appropriate factors. However, those drivers should be informed by a dispassionate analysis of all the facts and options. Any official who casts a vote on the future of the care centers based solely on ideology, emotion, politics or personal preference is guilty of malpractice.
I respectively ask all five of my friends on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders to consider the answers to the following questions before making a final decision on the future of the John L. Montgomery and Geraldine Thompson care centers.
Pictured left to right: Kevin Harms, Rob Harms and Jeff Brantly (all from Harms Construction Company, Inc.), Manasquan Mayor George Dempsey, Dan Healey (from Harms Construction Company, Inc.), Assemblyman David P. Rible, Manasquan Councilman Jeff Lee (in sunglasses), Freeholder Director Gary J. Rich, Sr., Manasquan Councilman Gregg Olivera (partially obscured), Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, Manasquan Councilman Owen McCarthy, County Public Works Director John W. Tobia and County Engineer Joseph Ettore.
MANASQUAN, NJ- The Glimmer Glass Bridge, which had been closed since last August due to significant damage to the bridge deck and immediate safety concerns was re-opened this afternoon, 80 days ahead of schedule. Repairs to the bridge performed by George Harms Construction Co. of Farmingdale were expected to be completed on May 29 as the summer tourist season kicks off.
“Reopening the Glimmer Glass Bridge is a welcome relief to the nearby residents and the communities of Manasquan and Brielle,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “We appreciate all the work done by George Harms Construction to complete this deck replacement project 80 days ahead of schedule.”
“Harms Construction began work in October and worked weekends and overtime to complete the project well ahead of schedule,” said Freeholder Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. “With this being one of the coldest winters in recent memory, this was no small task.”
It’s been a long winter, but we are rounding the corner and spring is in our sight. The weather this week is finally giving us the big thaw that we need to get out from under these huge snow piles.
As the snow melts, and after weeks of plowing and salting County roads, Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering crews have transitioned over to the next phase of operation: pothole repair on County Roads. Residents can report a pothole on a County road by calling the Monmouth County Highway Division of the Department of Public Works and Engineering at 732-431-6550. If you come across a pothole on a State highway, you should report it to the NJ DOT at their website. Potholes on local roads should be reported to the appropriate local municipality. Please do not use 911 to report a pothole, as the 911 service needs to be used for emergencies.
Monmouth County will have a new 250 acre park in Aberdeen and Marlboro Townships, despite the fact that Port Authority of NY/NJ backed out of a commitment to fund $5 million to purchase 87.8 acres of the open space from a developer who had approvals to build 250 homes on the property.
Today, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders approved funding the entire $10.6 million land purchase from Aberdeen/Wilson Associates, LLC through the County’s Open Space Trust Fund.
“The Port Authority appears to be unwilling to honor its commitment of sharing to fund a project that will preserve significant portions of the Matawan Creek watershed and eventually provide a 250-acre park,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the County Park System. “The Port Authority’s offer to help move this deal forward appears to have been withdrawn. Fortunately, Monmouth County has an invaluable Open Space Trust Fund to finance the entire purchase.”
State Senator Joe Kyrillos praised the Freeholder Board, the NY/NJ Baykeeper and Aberdeen Township for making the park a reality and slammed Port Authority for backing out of the deal.
Monmouth County Deputy Freeholder Director Serena DiMaso
Monmouth County Deputy Freeholder Director Serena Dimaso today called upon the Democratic leadership of the State Legislature to force Assemblywoman Linda Stender out of office.
According to numerous published reports, Stender and her husband Richard concocted a scheme to have their vacation bungalow in Manasquan demolished and replaced with a half million dollar 5 bedroom home with charitable and government funds dedicated to help Monmouth County residents who lost their homes and possessions to Superstorm Sandy rebuild. The charity Coastal Habitat for Humanity claims the Stenders have not repaid the $11,000 the organization spent to demolish the bungalow, as they promised they would.
“SHAME ON HER,” exclaimed DisMaso, “There are thousands of people not back in their homes yet and hundreds of people working hard to find resources to take care of those people. For an elected official to unscrupulously attempt to gain the system is a disgrace.”
With the holidays upon us, please keep in mind The Made in Monmouth Holiday Shopping Guide is ready. It is available on the county’s website by going to www.visitmonmouth.com. The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders encourages people to shop local for their holiday gifts. Additionally, as liaison to the Department of Economic Development, I am very proud to announce that Made in Monmouth is expanding. There will be two mini-Made in Monmouth events for the holiday season. The first one is scheduled for December 13th at the Manalapan Community Center on Route 33. This event is being hosted by the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Manalapan Township mayor and committee and the Manalapan Economic Development Committee. The second mini-Made in Monmouth is being hosted by the Freeholders and Cream Ridge Winery. It will be held December 20th at the winery in Cream Ridge. Both of these events give our small businesses the opportunity to expand their customer base and give more shoppers the opportunity to support local business.
Vin Gopal. Underneath that boyish smile and pleasant demeanor is a nasty, dirty, ruthless political operative. The Monmouth Democratic Chairman showed his true colors in 2013 with his defamatory allegations against Sean DiSomma in the Red Bank Council race. Give him several hundred thousand dollars, which the NJ Democrats did this year, and he tries to destroy the good names of distinguished public servants simply because they hold offices he wants. Monmouth Republicans, particularly some in the legislative delegation, who are friendly with Gopal should reconsider their judgement about him. It no longer can be said that Vin is a wolf in sheeps clothing. He’s a wolf.
The NJ Democratic State Committee, Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, Senator Cory Booker, Assemblyman Joe Cryan, various labor unions and anyone else who gave Gopal money. They got nothing for it.
The Asbury Park Press. Neptune Nudniks is no longer an appropriate moniker for them. They are not stupid or incompetent as “nudnik” implies. They are dishonest and lazy. Their coverage of the Monmouth County Freeholders race was spoon fed or edited by Gopal and his candidates Larry Luttrell and Giuseppe “Joe” Grillo. Gopal, Luttrell and Grillo used APP to counter MMM’s coverage of the race, which we find hilarious and complimentary. It didn’t work because APP no longer has influence in Monmouth County.
Their election night coverage was a disaster. While APP was reporting on software problems at the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, MMM was reporting election results.
The Monmouth County Clerk’s Office. The Monmouth County Election Results website is the New Jersey equivalent of HeathCare.gov.
UPDATE: August, 27, Curley pulls nursing home sale resolution
Freeholder John Curley called this morning to say that he has pulled his resolution to sell the Monmouth County owned nursing homes from this week’s agenda. County CFO Craig Marshall is on vacation. Curley wants Marshall available to address all of the financial concerns regarding the proposed sale. Curley expects to reintroduce the resolution in September.
Reductions in Medicaid payments for long term care under the Affordable Care Act have led to increasing deficits at Monmouth County’s two government owned nursing homes.
The John L. Montgomery Care Center in Freehold and the Geraldine L. Thompson Care Center in Wall are owned and operated by Monmouth County’s government. Property tax payers have been subsidizing the long term care of the elderly, disabled and infirm residing in these facilities for decades. From 2007 through 2013 the cumulative deficit funded by Monmouth property tax payers was about $40 million. Despite cost cutting measures and union givebacks, the combined deficit this year is on track to exceed $13 million plus the cost of repairs and capital improvements required to keep the facilities in compliance with state and federal regulations, due to cutbacks in the amount that Medicaid pays for patient care under ObamaCare. 98% of the patients at Montgomery and Thompson are insured by Medicaid.
Freeholder John Curley has been pushing his colleagues on the all Republican Board of Chosen Freeholders to sell the nursing homes for years. Every time the issue gets traction or public attention, patients in wheelchairs and staff members of the nursing facilities show up at Freeholder meetings and plead with the Freeholders not to sell the facilities. The patients’ stories are heart wrenching. The declarations of love for their patients by the staff members are moving.