This advertisement appeared again in the July 28, 2011, edition of the Recorder. I saw it once before and it struck me as odd that an employee of the City of Amsterdam was allowed to promote a private, Catholic business in his official capacity as a Police Officer.
I do not know this Officer, or whether he or the City were paid as a result of participating in the advertisement. In my opinion, it is highly unethical for any municipal employee to use his official position to promote a private business. My other problem is that this situation could be interpreted as a governmental official promoting a specific religion. St. Mary’s Healthcare is a Catholic run organization according to their mission statement.
The Mission of St. Mary’s is “to care compassionately for those we serve with dedication to excellence and Christian ideals.”
Rooted in the Healing Ministry of Jesus, we dedicate ourselves to serve all persons with compassion and excellence, especially those who are vulnerable.
St. Mary’s Hospital at Amsterdam will be a strong Catholic regional hospital dedicated to improving the health of the entire community with special attention to the poor and underserved. Patients, physicians and associates will prefer us because of our reputation for excellence and service, and our commitment to safety and quality.
St. Mary’s Healthcare seems to enjoy an unhealthy relationship with local government because its board members are intertwined with local government. Vito L. Greco serves on St. Mary’s Healthcare Board of Directors and is the Montgomery County Supervisor for Amsterdam’s 1st Ward. Robert Quick serves on St. Mary’s Advisory Board and is a Board member of the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency. Whether or not they recuse themselves from decisions that concern St. Mary’s Healthcare, the influence is still there.
Representatives of St Mary’s Healthcare were invited to sit as part of the Zoning Update Committee, the only local business invited to take part. As of the last Common Council meeting they were still fighting to get the Historic Regulations changed. The Zoning plan for the Medical/Residential Zone already accommodates St. Mary’s, allowing them to change a residential building to medical use without having to apply for permits or variances. Now they are using their lawyer to try to change the proposed ordinance to benefit themselves instead of local residents.
This local business does employ a large number of people, but should be treated no differently than any other local business in Amsterdam.