Newstracker: Bankruptcy judge approves $400,000 salary for St. Mary’s CEO

26 06 2009

WHAT’S NEW: A federal bankruptcy judge Thursday approved annual compensation of $400,000 for the new president and chief executive officer of St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, Michael J. Sniffen, who took office Monday. Sniffen, who has executive experience at many New Jersey hospitals, succeeded Colene Daniel, who resigned after 14 months. St. Mary’s filed for bankruptcy on March 9, and is seeking to reorganize or find a buyer. It is the only full-service hospital in the city of Passaic.

Besides his base salary, Sniffen will receive a $50,000 bonus when St. Mary’s is sold or a reorganization plan is approved. If he does not take a position with the new owner or the reorganized hospital, his bonus will be $100,000.

BACKGROUND: Since filing for bankruptcy, the hospital has hired both a new chief executive officer and a new bankruptcy counsel. The previous law firm was disqualified because it also provided legal representation to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, which is a potential partner for St. Mary’s.

Unionized employees at St. Mary’s accepted temporary modifications to their collective bargaining agreement, while non-union staff agreed to a reduction in pay to trim expenses. The hospital has pressed its efforts to sell the buildings on Pennington Avenue that were vacated when it moved to the Boulevard campus.

WHAT’S NEXT: The new bankruptcy attorney, Robert K. Malone, of the firm Drinker Biddle & Reath, has asked for a three-month extension — until Oct. 7 — to come up with a reorganization plan or sale. The hospital is also asking for permanent changes in the collective bargaining contract with unionized employees. The current deadline for reorganization is July 9, and Malone said in a court filing that the complexity of the case, as well as progress made to date, warrant an extension. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday.

— Lindy Washburn

Jewish temple project on hold

26 06 2009

CLIFTON – A proposed Orthodox synagogue in the city’s Rosemawr section that’s drawn strong opposition from neighbors has hit a snag.

The city Planning Board did not hear the application Thursday night, removing it instead from the agenda after the city zoning officer wrote that the project should be judged by the Board of Adjustment, which would postpone the hearing to July 15.

The reason given was that the site plan does not meet the conditional use requirements for parking.

But Frank Carlet, the lawyer for Congregation Shomrei Torah of Passaic/Clifton, argued Thursday night that the Planning Board should review the site plan because it met all requirements, including one for parking and interior landscaping.

“We’ll go to court,” he said. “They’re dead wrong.”

The Orthodox Jewish congregation is seeking to build a synagogue and ritual bath for women.

David Gross of Clifton, the congregation’s president, said the point was to construct something within walking distance of members, who live in that part of the city.

Orthodox Judaism forbids work on the Sabbath. From sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, observant Jews are not permitted to drive, and many families walk the stretch of Dwasline Road to attend Sabbath services in Passaic.

Initial plans for two buildings were changed to accommodate objections from residents. Sidewalks also would be constructed in the revised plans.

Gross said changes were meant to mollify residents, who have objected to the temple for a variety of reasons, including the size and scope of the project, and their view that the temple wouldn’t conform with the nature of the neighborhood.

But an attorney representing residents opposed to the project said it would not fit into the area.

“It’s totally inappropriate for the neighborhood,” Ira Weiner, who’s based in Montvale, said before the meeting. Weiner cited the size of the addition and parking as issues.

Fred Komarow, 50, of Virginia Avenue is one resident against the project.

“I’m pro-synagogue but I’m against one in this neighborhood, of this size,” he said.

The city planner had objected to the plan because its use would be too intensive for a residential neighborhood and because of lack of sidewalks on Dwasline Road.


Police chase thieves innocent bystander dead

25 06 2009

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Police say an innocent bystander was killed in a crash by two suspects who were fleeing police in northern New Jersey.

Authorities say the incident began early Tuesday in Elizabeth, when three men suspected of breaking into cars were spotted and chased by police. One was apprehended.

Police say his two companions sped north into Newark, where their stolen sport utility vehicle collided with a car driven by 42-year-old Heather Clemens of Newark. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say the suspects fled into nearby Weequahic Park and remain at large.

When will the police learn not to chase, last year a little girl from Fairlawn was killed during a police chase as well. PCJN

TRENTON: Training change for EMTs sought

25 06 2009

emt patchLooking to ease demands on a training fund for emergency medical technicians from which $4 million is being taken to balance the state budget, state lawmakers are moving to extend EMT certifications from three years to five.

The New Jersey State First Aid Council, which supports the bill, says the change wouldn’t fix the dilemma looming for the training fund, which is projected to have almost no money remaining by next summer.

But the council says the change would allow time to replenish the fund, which is financed through 50-cent surcharges on all moving violations, by reducing demands to pay for EMT training for a few years and provide a window to figure out a long-term plan.

“While this bill will provide some help, it will not solve the problem,” said Howard Meyer, a 38-year EMT who is legislative director of the New Jersey State First Aid Council. He said additional laws will be needed within the next year.

“Other than having $2.4 million returned to the fund, there have been no other suggestions brought forward on how we can assist the volunteer EMT training community quickly, and quick action is needed now,” Meyer said.

Sen. Diane Allen, R-Burlington, said Gov. Jon S. Corzine ought to consider using part of the state’s unexpectedly large collections from its tax amnesty program — $617 million and counting, easily topping the $200 million expected — to avoid raiding the EMT fund.

“We know that we have $400 million more. Why not wait to see what’s going to happen in the budget as it is rejiggered to see if this is actually needed? Since it is based on the funds being stolen, maybe they don’t have to be,” Allen said.

The bill was approved 24-14 by the Senate last Thursday and is now before an Assembly committee. It requires approvals there, by the full Assembly and by Corzine before it can become law and wouldn’t take effect until more than six months after it is enacted.

Update in iran

24 06 2009

iran protestCAIRO -Iran’s supreme leader says the government won’t give in to pressures over the disputed presidential election, effectively closing the door to compromise with the opposition. Iran also said it was considering downgrading ties with Britain, which it has accused of spying and fomenting days of unprecedented street protests over the vote. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with lawmakers that: “Neither the system nor the people will give in to pressures at any price.” Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi claims that hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the June 12 presidential election through massive fraud. He has called for annulling the results and holding a new vote.

Passaic’s second kosher pizza store has a new owner

24 06 2009

Izzy’s pizza store was sold to an unconfirmed buyer sometime last week.  The new owner is in the process of remodeling the store. We wish Izzy much hatzlocha in what ever he does. We at PCJN also wish the new owner much hatzlocha on the new pizza store. Check back for updates as we do more research pictures soon to come.

N.J. top court bans lawyer in Holocaust victims’ case –

24 06 2009

N.J. top court bans lawyer in Holocaust victims’ case –