Senator Kristin Corrado is calling for a special legislative committee to be formed to investigate the findings of a recent report by the State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation (SCI) that revealed shocking failures at the veterans homes in Menlo Park and Paramus.
"The SCI report is devastating and the Murphy Administration must be held accountable for the appalling treatment of our nation's heroes," said Corrado (R-40). "In fact, this is the second report issued by an investigative agency in the last month that once again highlights Governor Murphy's leadership failures."
The 43-page DOJ report, released on September 7, revealed failures at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Homes at Menlo Park and Paramus throughout the pandemic. The DOJ even accused the state of "unreasonable harm and risk due to inadequate infection control practices and inadequate medical care, in violation of the U.S. Constitution."
Similarly, the SCI report (PDF) emphasized the DOJ's findings and outlined how staffing issues, lack of protective equipment, and communication breakdowns contributed to a complete collapse of services.
"Basic services that have existed in business settings for nearly twenty years, like Wi-Fi, were literally not available at the Paramus facility. Instead, the staff was forced to use mobile hotspots to conduct meetings with government health officials," added Corrado. "Menlo Park even used an analog phone system, which created significant problems because phone numbers couldn't be easily changed when residents were moved to different rooms-which meant relatives couldn't contact them."
"During the pandemic, I, along with my Republican colleagues, repeatedly called for investigations," said Corrado. "The fact of the matter is, the Legislature could have done something to protect our veterans but Democrats refused to investigate the issue at every turn."
Senator Corrado sponsors S-67, which is a bipartisan bill that would establish the Office of Inspector General for Veterans' Facilities to investigate complaints at State-run veterans' homes.