Two North Jersey congressmen today applauded Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision to remove Matthew Schottlander as the CEO of the embattled Paramus Veterans Memorial Home.
“Today’s announcement is a long time coming. The explosion of COVID-19 demanded transparency, honesty, cooperation, and competency, and the people in charge at the state-run Paramus Veterans Home and elsewhere provided none of these,” said Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-Paterson), who had emerged as leading critics of Schottlander and the state’s management of the veterans home.
The two House members have sought a probe of the Paramus home since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Eighty-one of our veterans and seniors perished because of the negligence and failure of the Paramus Veterans Home leadership,” Gottheimer and Pascrell said. “It is one of the gravest tragedies of this pandemic. Their deaths were preventable.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had sent more than 50 health care workers to Paramus at the request of Gottheimer and Pascrell, as well as infectious disease experts.
“Here today is a measure of accountability to the families who lost loved ones. We applaud the State of New Jersey for removing the leadership,” said the two congressmen. “It cannot stop here. We need a full report of what happened so that we can improve policies to ensure a tragedy like this won’t ever be repeated.”
Murphy announced today that Major General Jemal J. Beale has resigned as New Jersey Adjutant General and Commissioner of Military and Veterans Affairs after facing strong criticism for his handling of deaths at the Paramus and Menlo Park veterans residential facilities.
The CEO in Menlo Park was also removed by Murphy, who designated Col. Lisa Hou, a physician, as the interim adjutant general and commissioner.