Today’s news:

St. Mary’s administration harms the state’s budget and taxpayers

In the Aug. 5-11 edition of the Bayside Times, there appeared an editorial denouncing me (“A Better St. Mary’s”), as head of the East Bayside Homeowners Association for our opposition to any expansion of St. Mary’s Hospital, a position the EBHA has held for one-third of a century because such a commercial enterprise should never have been allowed in a one-family residential area and certainly should not be allowed to expand.

St. Mary’s is not a hospital but a nursing home, and it is not a charity by my definition but a corporate giant in which those at the top are getting rich by sponging off of state taxpayers. There is no doubt the children and teenagers at St. Mary’s receive excellent care from the nurses, teachers, therapists and support staff who care for them, but some of the greedy administrators are helping the state go broke with their outrageous salaries and benefits.

For instance, according to St. Mary’s 990 tax form for 2008, the head pencil-pusher, who reportedly treated no patients, received a total of $835,500 in compensation and his assistant got $539,558, as compared to when St. Mary’s was run by nuns a century ago. Worse, around 90 percent of the $91,506,515 received by St. Mary’s in 2008 came from Medicaid — i.e., state taxpayers — at a time when the state was going broke.

The situation is even worse now, with the administrators presumedly earning even more, as the state’s budget is in free-fall. Also, as there are only a maximum of 97 children/teenagers at St. Mary’s, this averages out to over $1 million per patient per year. Shame on those bureaucrats/directors who approve such expenditures.

Now we have approval of a $114 million expansion, 85 percent of which will be coming from the state Dormitory Authority, while the state sinks ever deeper into a financial black hole. And despite what your editorial stated, there have been no “open dialogues” at Community Board 11. In fact, as chairman of CB 11’s Community Facility Committee, I have not received a single letter or phone call from St. Mary’s in the past two years.

As for the sarcasm that people bothered by the dust, noise, etc., that will last for years once construction starts should “close their windows,” I would like to see the editorial writer rent a house adjacent to St. Mary’s and see how quickly he or she would suddenly agree with me that this disruption will be a horror.

Of course, I do not believe in conspiracies, but is it possible this will be a deliberate scheme to drive nearby homeowners out so St. Mary’s can expand?

Frank Skala


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