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



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