On July 23rd, I exposed to the Glen Cove community Mayor Suozzi’s non-transparent plans to sell a cherished, although underutilized jewel of Glen Cove. Hundreds of outraged residents spoke up and stopped the sale.
In the past few weeks, it has been announced that the Glen Cove Hospital will phase out inpatient beds in response to the changing healthcare industry. As any responsible public servant should do, Mayor Suozzi immediately showed concern for the City and surrounding communities, stating, “I’m not pleased,” and, “I want to make every effort to find a solution that is less painful and grow the system instead of shrinking it.”
I stand by Mayor Suozzi’s recent statements about the hospital’s value and believe Glen Cove is a better place when there is a fully functional hospital present. However, with the value of the hospital supposedly understood by all, why did Mayor Suozzi choose to unilaterally and recklessly sue North Shore University Hospital at Glen Cove in August of 2012? According to the formal legal proceeding filed on August 31, 2012, the Mayor suspected the hospital was discharging and releasing chlorodiflouromethane (commonly referred to as R-22 or HCFC-22), “thereby causing contamination to [Glen Cove’s] groundwater supply.” However, a response filed by the hospitals lawyers reads “this lawsuit was commenced in an attempt to recover costs to upgrade [Mayor Suozzi’s] treatment system servicing the Seaman Road Well. To do that, [Mayor Suozzi] sued the only deep pockets that it could think of – the manufacturers of R-22 and large institutions in the area that [Mayor Suozzi] believed use a geothermal air conditioning system.”
As a leader elected to protect the citizens of Glen Cove, did the Mayor truly believe suing such an indispensable community partner was the best course of action? The hospital has been an integral community and corporate partner in Glen Cove for over 50 years providing necessary services and economic life-support. Why did Mayor Suozzi choose not to approach North Shore Long Island Jewish Health Systems to work together in solving this problem? Did Mayor Suozzi believe an unfounded and reckless behind-the-scenes lawsuit would paint him as a fair government partner? Instead, why not approach the hospital as a partner with our Department of Public Works to try to limit the damage? As my publicly elected official, I expect Mayor Suozzi to protect and defend the City of Glen Cove through reasonable and effective measures, not his recent reckless and possibly damaging legal action.
As the aforementioned documents clearly display, Mayor Suozzi unilaterally sued Glen Cove Hospital after failing to conduct an adequate investigation into the potential contamination source. Is that how we are supposed to reach out to partners who we value and are now fighting to keep around? Why has Mayor Suozzi failed to mention this lawsuit to the community before, during, or after his displays of service? While I stand by Mayor Suozzi in his fight to keep Glen Cove Hospital as is, every citizen of Glen Cove deserves to know the details about this lawsuit and its impact on the decision to completely remove inpatient beds from Glen Cove Hospital. Although I do not claim that this lawsuit is the reason for the recent decision to remove inpatient beds, I do fail to understand how a lawsuit could have helped this grave situation.
Mayor Suozzi, I want to continue to fight for Glen Cove Hospital but it is difficult to do so without a full understanding of how your rash decisions have contributed to the uphill battle Glen Cove and the surrounding communities now face. The City of Glen Cove and surrounding communities deserve to know what is truly going on.