The American Legion - Department of NJ

Let your voice be heard! Support Legion Endorsement for Legislation – please read…

To All:
Several months ago, you may recall, that we had a very sad situation evolve in the three state run Veterans homes, with a significant loss of life, due to a less than optimum response to the COVID-19 at the homes. It is not our purpose to point fingers or blame someone, but to get involved in corrective action, so that this never happens again.
Since that time, the Adjutant General, and the two CEOs of Paramus and Menlo Park have been fired. Someone got their pound of flesh. We now have a newly confirmed Adjutant General, Gen Lisa Hou and two new CEOs. But does the plan stop here? I think not.

After the state cleaned house, the “do nothing legislature” had a flurry of activity in creating new legislation that they hoped would satisfy the resident’s families and their respective constituents to save face for the collective ineptitude. Many bills were written and signed into law, but none have taken the step necessary to complete the mission which is to keep our veteran residents safe and healthy.

One bill, that has not advanced as far as we would have liked to see, is the bill offered by Assemblyman Ron Dancer from Ocean County. Assembly Bill 5108/S3275. In this bill, the Office of Inspector General would be created by the Legislature.
The IG would be appointed to a five year term by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The IG must have experience as either a prosecutor or investigator, or in the operation of veterans’ facilities, nursing homes or long term care facilities. Th IG will be independent of supervision or control by any other state officer or employee and will report directly to the State Attorney General.
The role of the IG will be to investigate complaints concerning policies and procedures at the State Veterans’ facilities. In exercising investigatory powers, the IG would also be empowered to conduct evaluations to ensure the safety and quality of care provided at State veterans’ facilities.
This oversight provided by A5108/S3275 will be a giant step to ensure that the health and well being of New Jersey’s veterans are protected and that tragedies like those that occurred in Paramus and Menlo Park never happen again.
I know personally, as a member of the Facility Advisory Council at Paramus, that the Council members at that facility are behind this measure and I have spoken to Council members at Menlo Park that are also behind this bill.
So in closing, we need the following from you, our members. This is your opportunity to get behind a piece of legislation and let your voice be heard. Call, email write or even visit your respective Assembly Representative and State Senators and tell them that The American Legion is behind this bill and we want their support to get this necessary bill passed, ASAP!
The time is now!!!
Joseph M. Gugliuzza, Legislative Chairman
Department of New Jersey
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