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Too often, agendas are written and met without consideration of consequence. Take, for example, Erie County Budget Director Joe Passafiume. He stated emphatically at the Aug. 29 ECMC board of managers meeting that he alone decided that the Erie County Medical Center would receive the same county subsidy for the next fiscal year that it had received this year. He ignores the fact that ECMC is experiencing higher costs in purchasing, supplies, labor and pharmaceuticals. He also ignores the fact that ECMC is one of the largest revenue generators the county has. At the same time, he has increased subsidies to other nonrevenue generators, such as the library system.

In keeping with this absolute direction dictated by Passafiume, the ECMC board voted 7-4, with one person abstaining, to eliminate 73 vacant positions and 63 filled positions at ECMC and the Erie County Home. Rather than doing the right thing and submitting a budget that was an actual projected need, the board took the "easy out" and gave the budget director what he wanted. These actions make both Passafiume and the ECMC board look good in the eyes of the county executive, but at what cost to the many lives now possibly ruined?

ECMC is finally living up to its well-deserved nickname, "WNY's Lifeline." Passafiume and the board of managers may have just severed it.


Co-Chairman, New York State Nurses Association
Grand Island

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