Daily Archives: March 22, 2010

After A Year’s Search, Middletown Appoints CFO

After all that went on during last weeks Township Committee meeting, lost in the events of the evening was the rather low key and unceremonious announcement of the hiring of the Townships new CFO. It was so low key as a mater of fact, that even I didn’t think twice about making a big deal about it.

Nick Trasente, the former finance director of Hoboken, was sitting quietly at the table in front of the dias with Town Administrator Tony Mercantante, Township Engineer Ted Maloney and Clerk Heidi Brunt. A few people were wondering who the “new guy” was until it was revealed at the beginning by Mayor Scharfenberger that the new guy was indeed the new CFO.

Now maybe we can finally see that plan of Gerry’s, that he likes to tell everyone he has but doesn’t let anyone know about on how to close a $7 million budget shortfall before the end of the month when budgets have to be submitted to the State for review.

So far the only paper to pick-up on Nick Trabsente’s appointment as Middletown’s new CFO is the Two River Times, nice job on there part. Below is the article written by Ryan Fennell just incase you haven’t read it yet:

MIDDLETOWN – ON Monday night, nearly a year after Middletown’s former CFO Richard Wright took a leave of absence citing health concerns, the Township Committee formally appointed Nick Trasente as Middletown Township’s new Chief Financial Officer on Monday night.

Trasente left his position as finance director in Hoboken on March 9, a position he held since January 2009, to accept the Middletown CFO position.

Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said that the process for finding a new CFO was extensive.

“We had a better response than the last time we were looking for a CFO,” Scharfenberger said.

According to Scharfenberger, the Township received responses from nine individuals, which was narrowed down to three.

After several interviews, Trasente was determined to be the most qualified candidate for the position.

“I thought he was everything we were looking for,” Scharfenberger said. “He’s got the credentials. He’s got great experience. He seems to be very enthusiastic about wanting to do what he’s going to be doing. Also, he seems t know how to keep the town from getting itself into a bind. He understands what we’re up against.”

And what the Township is up against is an approximate $5 million shortfall in the 2010 budget.

Scharfenberger said that he, along with several other area mayors, were briefed on Governor Chris Christie’s budget prior to the governor’s address last Tuesday and he was made aware of potentially significant cuts in state aid.

Scharfenberger said that township department heads have been instructed to cut their budgets as well as several other initiatives that the mayor plans to reveal during upcoming committee meetings.

“We’re looking for ways to cut and save without putting people’s lives or properties in jeopardy. That’s the bottom line,” said Scharfenberger. “Everything’s on the table.”


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President Obama On the Passage of Health Reform

President Obama speaks moments after the historic passage by the House of Representatives of the Senate’s health reform legislation.

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Historic healthcare bill passes; On a 219-212 vote, the sweeping change in health policy heads to the president

Los Angeles Times

Ending the Democrats’ decades-long quest to create a healthcare safety net to match Social Security, the House of Representatives on Sunday night approved sweeping legislation to guarantee Americans access to medical care for the first time, delivering President Obama the biggest victory of his young presidency.

The bill, which passed 219 to 212 without a single Republican vote, would make a nearly $1-trillion commitment in taxpayer money over the next decade to help an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans get health coverage.

And it would establish a broad new framework of government regulation to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage and, advocates hope, to begin making healthcare more affordable to most Americans.

“Tonight, at a time when the pundits said it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics,” the president said in a televised address from the East Room of the White House after the House completed its last vote. “We proved we are still a people capable of doing big things and tackling our biggest challenges.”

On the House floor, Democrats erupted into cheers of “Yes, we can!” at 10:45 p.m. Eastern time as the decisive 216th “yes” vote was recorded, capping a tortuous campaign that several senior lawmakers linked to the historic battle for civil rights two generations earlier.

“This is the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century,” said Democratic Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the top-ranking black member of the House….

Read more >>> Here

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HOLT SUPPORTS HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM TO HELP FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES

Just hours before todays historic vote on health care reform, Congressman Rush Holt issued the following press release:

(Washington, DC) – Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) announced his support for the health insurance reform package that will provide secure and stable health coverage regardless of job status, ensure Americans will never be denied care if they get sick, and extend coverage to those not well served by the current system. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the package would expand coverage to 32 million Americans while cutting the deficit by $143 billion in the next ten years and by $1.2 trillion ten years after that. Information about the bill – including bill text, a detailed summary, and a timeline for implementation – is available at holt.house.gov. The House is expected to vote on the package Sunday night.

“For me, the debate about health insurance reform always has been about the families who struggle to secure the coverage they need. It’s about the small business owners who face rising premiums. It’s about the seniors who can’t pay for their prescription drugs,” Holt said. “In supporting reform of our broken health insurance system, I stand with the families, seniors, and small businesses who I represent and who will soon have greater control over their health care.”

The legislation would provide millions of Americans with coverage they don’t have, provide significant consumer protections to the hundreds of millions of Americans with private insurance, and provide improvements to Medicare by closing the prescription drug “doughnut hole” and providing free preventive care. The bill would benefit those with and without insurance by:

Establishing important consumer protections for all Americans. Insurers would be prohibited from excluding coverage or charging more based on pre-existing conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or pregnancy. Insurers also would be prohibited from dropping coverage if someone becomes sick and prohibited from setting annual or lifetime limits beyond which the insurer refuses to pay, leaving families facing bankruptcy. Insurance companies would have to spend more (at least 80 percent) of each premium dollar on actually providing healthcare.

Creating an insurance marketplace for those not well served by the system now. Those between jobs, employees of small businesses, or those who do not get coverage through their work would be able to purchase health insurance at group rates. All insurance plans in the marketplace would need to cover a comprehensive set of necessary services and follow all the consumer protection standards. Through competition and choice, coverage would be more affordable and accountable and would provide care better aligned with the best medical standards.

Strengthening health care for seniors. The package would strengthen Medicare in a number of important ways, including emphasizing more primary and preventive care, eliminating the doughnut hole in the Medicare prescription drug benefit, reducing redundant tests or unnecessary procedures, and eliminating wasteful subsidies to insurance companies.

The health care reform package would lower health costs for families by increasing competition across all states through the new marketplace. It would reduce costs by promoting coordinated medical care to eliminate duplicative tests; by reducing waste, fraud, and abuse; and by switching from paper to electronic records. The bill would decrease costs by expanding research on which treatments work best for different patients, helping physicians and nurses provide effective medical care. Long term, the legislation would limit costs by shifting to a focus on health outcomes and rewarding physicians for treating the whole patient.

“Health care reform has been a long time coming – almost 100 years in the making. Yet, as soon as the President signs this into law, benefits will be felt immediately,” Holt said. “Small businesses will be able to receive tax credits to purchase insurance, insurance companies will be banned from dropping coverage when someone gets sick, and seniors confronting the ‘donut hole’ will receive $250 to pay for prescription drugs.”

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Congressman Rush Holt: What a Real Government Takeover Looks Like

From the Huffington Post

As Congress convenes today to pass long-awaited health insurance reform, I’m reminded of one of the last times we voted on a Sunday: March 20, 2005, when Republicans forced an extraordinary vote to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo.

To know what a real government takeover looks like, one should revisit that resolution. That midnight vote was a grotesque legislative travesty. For 215 years it had been a solid principle of this country that Congress not get involved in life-and-death issues like the tragic case of Ms. Schiavo. Yet, on that Sunday — Palm Sunday — Congress broke with tradition and inserted its own judgment. On that Sunday, the Republican Congress sent the message that it knew better than families, doctors, and hospital chaplains.

To my friends on the other side of the aisle who repeatedly claim that Congress is passing a “government takeover” — I kindly remind them that’s their work, not ours. Our work expands private insurance while increasing choice and competition and protecting consumers from the worst abuses of the insurance industry and leaving medical decisions in the hands of doctors and their patients. We intend that patients, families, and doctors — not the government, not insurance companies — have control over health decisions.

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