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Governor Murphy Fires Top State Official in Charge of Running Emergency Preparedness Office

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Governor Murphy Fires Top State Official in Charge of Running Emergency Preparedness Office. NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt comments on the firing of a the states’ top health official in charge of emergency preparedness in the middle of a pandemic , “The news reports of Governor Murphy firing the top state health official in charge of emergency preparedness in the middle of a pandemic are extremely concerning. Governor Murphy has shown poor judgement throughout this crisis, whether it was sending COVID-positive patients back to nursing homes, or failing to lay off idled public sector employees, and he needs to immediately provide information on this termination. Reports that this individual believes he’s being scapegoated only confirms what many suspect: Murphy has moved from spinning answers, deflecting questions, and hiding information from the public to an outright coverup of his administration’s failures. The people of New Jersey deserve better.

Senator Declan O’Scanlon is raising a red flag over the department’s management of the entire program. “Yesterday it became grossly apparent how bad things are over at DOH when assistant commissioner Chris Neuwirth was fired from his position,” he said. A regular at Governor Murphy’s COVID press briefings, Neuwirth oversaw EMS and the Office of Disaster Resilience.

“Vacancies and firings have plagued the department for three years, and it’s catching up to them. This firing may be very well justified and long overdue, but it begs the questions, who is the replacement to this extremely important position? Does this explain why the department hampered efforts at reform?”

During his tenure as a full-time deputy commissioner, it recently came to light that Neuwirth also had a job with Margolis Healy & Associates; a national emergency management consulting firm. “Failure to disclose a conflict like that stinks of corruption. This needs to be investigated further and Neuwirth and the Department need to explain this. This chaos comes at a time when our Health Department is most needed – as we are managing a pandemic and headed into hurricane season.”

O’Scanlon continued, “Not disclosing such a gross conflict of interest is bad, but there is a history here. Last June, DOH nearly dismantled the NJ EMS Task Force by accident. That happened under Neuwirth’s watch.”

Senator Declan O’Scanlon continued ,the NJ EMS Task Force is a group of highly trained professionals from different health and preparedness host agencies that volunteer their time and expertise to supplement any region of the State that needs extra support. During the pandemic, they have evacuated nursing homes rife with COVID patients, set up field hospitals, coordinated hundreds of out-of-state ambulances to supplement local units, and assisted at the state testing sites.

“The task force is one of our greatest emergency preparedness assets, and the DOH nearly caused it to implode by not reaching out to stakeholders to discuss how to handle it. It took half a year to fix that situation and I was cautiously optimistic that the Department turned a corner. Sadly, that’s not the case,” the Senator said.

“Over the past two years, a terrible pattern has emerged at DOH when it comes to EMS – decide what needs to be fixed without asking any EMS leaders, act before thinking about the true impacts, cover it up when it goes south, promise to fix the problem, and resist any reform while exacerbating the problem. Their house is not in order.”

Some of these issues relate to understaffing at the Department. O’Scanlon notes, “There is no excuse for how short staffed the DOH is.”

On February 19, two weeks after the formation of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order establishing the Coronavirus Task Force, the administration unexpectedly fired their EMS Director. In addition, there has been a vacancy in the statutorily required position of Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services for over a year. The acting Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services is the State Chief Medical Examiner; Dr. Andrew Falzon, whose primary responsibilities include determining how people die, trends in how they are dying, and how persons bodies should be handled after death.

“The Department needs strong leadership, and while Commissioner Persichelli has been a leader in the fight against COVID, she has been hampered by open positions, key roles having acting appointees, and a philosophy of regulation and bureaucracy at the expense of common sense. What has come to light with the firing of Neuwirth, simply adds to the long list of institutional failures over the past several years.”

4 thoughts on “Governor Murphy Fires Top State Official in Charge of Running Emergency Preparedness Office

  1. I guess they are using that individual as a scapegoat. They got a point fingers at somebody, more bullshit

  2. Why not fire Paul Aronsohn next?

  3. They probably will when they stop using him. That’s what government does. When they’re done with you they chew you up and spit you out.

  4. Dear Governor Murphy,

    The elderly needs Vitamin-D, which is best gotten by going outside. My father’s nursing home said that they are NOT allowed to take their residents outside as per your order? Where do you derive that power from? I digress.

    How many more elderly are you trying to kill? Is it not enough that you did NOT heed the warnings and forced nursing homes to let the Covid19 infected in. Not only that now you won’t even let the elderly get out in the sun? I guess you are really are trying to be remembered in history.

    Your miss-management makes you at a minimum complicit in the high death count in our nursing homes or outright at fault for the high death rate. I gather that not only do you have a disdain for the elderly but for tax payers as well as you are responsible for killing business all across our state with “Your” shut down. This while continuing to tax us for state workers to sit home and get paid. You are a total disgrace and can never restore your name. It appears you are without conscience and shame, or you are just incompetent and slow. I like to give people benefit of doubt, so I will assume the latter. Your descendants are will have to suffer embarrassment for generations to come because of you, unless your qualities are handed down to them.

    I pray that you will repent and see the error of your ways and develop some compassion for the elderly that are still alive in the nursing homes, by letting the elderly go outside so they can get their Vitamin-D.
    Also that you will have pity on the tax payers, and open the state back up again.
    If there is no repentance then perhaps you should be worried about legal consequences of violating the constitution that you swore to uphold. (The 4th Amendment is still in that constitution). You can’t claim that the Constitution is above your pay grade as you said to Tucker Carlson on Fox.

    I think it is either long time overdue for you to step down, or to read the constitution and publically repent and ask for mercy.

    Sincerely,

    Tax Slave

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