Sunday, December 18, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1864, December 18th, 2011


The Commonwealth Medical College recently handed out big bonuses to its past President, a Human Resources person and a few other representatives. The term bonus means something given or paid over and above what is due or a sum of money granted or given to an employee, a returned soldier, etc., in addition to regular pay, usually in appreciation for work done, length of service, accumulated favors, etc.
I never, ever received a bonus for the holidays. I got small gifts. When I worked at Rock 107 you picked out one of 5 items as a Christmas gift. They ranged from bottles of liquor to Shamrock Communication items like shot glasses or goblets. I worked at one radio station as a teenager where I was given a Christmas ham. (The cost of it was deducted in the next week’s pay but I guess it was the thought that counted.) When I worked in broadcast sales, I received commission on what I sold. But never a monetary Christmas bonus. When I brought someone on board as a new recruit, I did receive a $100.00 bonus if the person worked out. That happened to me twice. At Travelocity, I was awarded trips to Jamaica, the Bahamas and California. They were not bonuses but part of a sales contest where I competed with other employees. At Blue Cross there was a wellness incentive that translated into extra money but it was strictly monitored and you had to show medical progress, notes from physicians as well as achieving other health and wellness goals. As an employee in business, when I went above and beyond the call of duty, switching shifts, doing overtime or working long hours, I got a nice thank you. Sometimes comp time. Asking around, I talked this week to police and firemen who saved lives, no bonus. I talked to three medical professionals who helped implement a new hospital component a few years back, no bonus. I spoke with those habitually overpaid teachers we all like to complain about, no bonus. One conversation with a local financial principle did indicate a bonus plan but that was for high achievement in saving the company money. Because of the economy, the bonus was capped at $2500.00. No local colleges pay out bonuses to professors who are tenured. I asked. I called the offices of three surgeons known for being the very best in their fields. I inquired as to whether they received bonuses from the hospitals they worked for or the insurance companies they sent their claims to for payment. In each case I had to defend my very phone call because the gate keeper thought I was pranking them.
So I talked to private industry, unionized public service, the health care world and educators on the secondary and college level. No bonuses.
But according to the Scranton Times the following bonuses were paid to Joseph Cortese, for $40,000. He is the director of human resources. Folks, with all due respect to human service professionals everywhere, this is outrageous. Almost every Human Resource person I’ve ever encountered possesses a dolt like quality that gives them the uncanny ability to push papers and not look you square in the eye. What the hell did Cortese do to get a $40,000 bonus on top of his salary? Who did he recruit? Did he get any financial rainmakers for the board? Did he bring on board certified Nobel Peace Prize winners as faculty members? If he did, the Commonwealth Medical College Public Relations office is keeping that a big fat secret. $10,000 was paid to Anna Rusnak Noon, associate vice president, financial and administration; and $15,000 to Mike Foy, the former director of financial reporting. The Commonwealth Medical College is bleeding bright red. Was the bonus given to Noon for administering the fact that the Medical College was in the red and did Foy get the $15,000 grand to jump up and down and shout, “Yes indeed, we are dying quickly financially”?
And how about this, . more than $95,000 in bonus money was paid to Dr. Robert D'Alessandri, the former president, on top of his $456,974 base salary; a $50,000 bonus was received by Dr. Paul Katz, a former vice dean of faculty and clinical affairs, whose base salary was $365,072. What were they paid for? To leave? Was there a bonus in their original contract? Did they get that much money for a good evaluation or bad evaluation?The school is under probation. Did they earn that money for that distinction?
The Commonwealth Medical College is a good idea. It sparks the economy of Scranton. It is needed to bring in well trained doctors to the state of Pennsylvania. But from the get go the administrative salaries were out of whack. People who were incompetent elsewhere (and I got names folks) got bigger salary bumps at the College. How the hell did that happen?
Then there is the moral issue we should address. What type of person, what type of employee takes a substantial bonus when people around them are getting laid off or their salaries cut? How do they sleep at night? I’m sorry, they can’t be that special!
The Medical College needs to give itself a financial and personnel enema. It was founded with public money through the good offices of Robert Mellow. Public money. It was funded in part by private citizen money paid to insurance giant Blue Cross of Northern Pennsylvania who used part of their surplus to bankroll the school. But I doubt BCNEPA thought their money was going for bonuses!
A message needs to be sent to the Commonwealth Medical College Board. In an area where the average family salary, yes I said average family, not individual salary is under $40,000 grand, board members of TCMC should be told that:
1. The College will not get any support for is fundraising efforts.
2. The College should open up all of its employees salaries.
3. The College should halt the practice of bonuses.
4. Blue Cross, as the school’s principle funding body should hear from its members on the issue of the bonuses. Should money paid for member insurance premiums as part of BCNEPA’s surplus be used for obscene bonuses for TCMC employees who clearly didn’t deserve them? (There is a civil rights suit making that claim).
It’s one thing to pay someone a living wage, quite another to make fools out of a community that supports an educational entity on the premise that it will provide dividends in the future.
The Commonwealth Medical College has lost not only its luster but something more important that it needs to survive, the good will and support of a community that never sees any type of bonus, let alone one for $40,000!!!
If you feel these bonuses are unjust and counter intuitive to the mission of the medical college, here is a list of their board members.


TCMC is governed by a regional Board of Directors who contribute their time in order to guide the school and its development. These civic leaders contribute many hours of meeting time to make sure the school is developing in a way that leads the region in better health care and education.
Louis DeNaples, Chair, TCMC Board of Trustees, is a businessman and entrepreneur with business interests in more than 200 companies. He serves on the boards of Community Medical Center, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and is the former chair of the Board of the University of Scranton Board of Trustees. Mr. DeNaples chairs the Construction Committee and the Governance Committee.
Robert Naismith, PhD, serves as Chairman and CEO of Roosevelt Capital Partners, LLC. Formerly he served as Chairman and CEO of Life Science Analytics and Managing Director of London-based Datamonitor, Inc. Dr. Naismith co-founded Pharmakon Research International, Inc., a major international preclinical contract research organization and founded Biofor, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company where he served as its President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Naismith serves as a Director of Penn Security Bank, St. Charles Pharmaceuticals, the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA; a Trustee of the William Harvey Research Institute; Chairman of the International Advisory Board of BioAsia, Hyderabad, India and a member of the Kania School of Management’s Advisory Board at the University of Scranton. Formerly he held an adjunct associate professor in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, served as an adjunct professor at The Pennsylvania State University and the University of Scranton and currently at The Commonwealth Medical College. Dr. Naismith holds a PhD in genetics from the Pennsylvania State University.
Thomas Karam, is the president of Delphi Midstream Partners. Before establishing Delphi Midstream Partners, Thomas was president, chief operating officer and director of Southern Union Company. Prior to Southern Union, he was the president and CEO of Pennsylvania Enterprises, Inc. (PEI) and PE Energy, Inc. PEI was a NYSE-listed company which owned gas and water utility operations in Pennsylvania. While at Southern Union, Thomas successfully completed $4.25 billion in midstream acquisitions and implemented strategies incrementally increasing earnings by approximately 13% annually. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania and The Commonwealth Medical Education Corporation. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of CrossCountry Energy, LLC, Southern Union Company, American Gas Association, the Board of Trustees of the University of Scranton and also served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Team Pennsylvania. Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Scranton. Mr. Karam serves as the Treasurer of TCMC.
Linda Thomas, MD, is a practicing, academic primary care provider, dually board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. Her practice is successfully engaged in the PA Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform’s Practice Transformation Initiative and provides a thriving inter-professional, medical home learning environment for primary care workforce development. Dr. Thomas-Hemak directs the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and led the 2011 HRSA designation for Primary Care GME Teaching Health Center federal funding. A graduate of Baylor College of Medicine, she completed Harvard’s Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency at Mass General Hospital, Boston. She is a founding TCMC board member, Secretary of the Board and Strategic Planning Committee Chair. She holds a volunteer faculty appointment at TCMC.
Denise Cesare is CEO of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and has supported the concept of a medical school for NEPA from the beginning. She serves on the boards of the Foundation Board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania, John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Wilkes University’s Board of Trustees, and is active with the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton Chambers of Commerce.
James Hallock, MD, is retired and the former president and chief executive officer of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates in Philadelphia and currently Senior Scholar in FAIMER. He served as vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the Medical School at East Carolina University (1988-2001) and spent many years in leadership positions at the University of South Florida. Dr. Hallock has been an accreditation site reviewer and member of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, member of the National Board of Medical Examiners and its Executive Board, as Board Chair for the Foundation for Advancement of Medical Education and Research and has served as chair of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.
John Moses is an attorney in Wilkes-Barre and former CEO of ALSAC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Active in the Wilkes-Barre community, Mr. Moses is also chair of the Board of Blue Cross of NEPA, a board member for Villanova University School of Law, Chairman of First Priority Health and a Director of First National Community Bank. He is presently of counsel with the law firm of Cozen O'Connor. Mr. Moses chairs the Audit Committee.
Murray Ufberg is a partner in the law firm of Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, L.L.P., in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is active in the community, serving on the Boards of Directors for Misericordia University, the Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley, the Jewish Federation of Greater Wilkes-Barre and WVIA Public Television. He also serves on the Keystone College President's Advisory Council. He has served as a commissioner on the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission and on the Executive Committee of Governor Edward Rendell’s Transition Team. Mr. Ufberg chairs the Compensation Committee.
Robert Wright, MD, began the Scranton Temple Residency Program in internal medicine and directed the program for many years. He was integral in the development of The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) and creating community support and understanding for the endeavor. Dr. Wright is a graduate of the Temple School of Medicine and did his residency at Temple and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a Professor of Medicine in the Temple University School of Medicine. He holds a volunteer faculty appointment at TCMC.


If you are a Blue Cross subscriber in LuLac land or the multi county area of Blue Cross coverage, and feel that a portion of your premiums (you pay premiums so the insurance company can pay your medical claims, that’s where your money primarily goes) that are converted to a surplus should not be paid for bonuses….you can voice that concern by calling these toll free numbers.




If you are a constituent of the 22nd Senatorial district or a voter in the state of Pennsylvania, this bonus issue needs to be addressed to the Senate of Pennsylvania. Senator Robert Mellow was instrumental in getting the funding for this worthy project that has been bastardized by greedy stewards of the institution. There has to be some accountability for the spending of this tax payer money. Here is a number for State Senator John Blake who succeeded Robert Mellow.
Scranton, PA 18503
(570) 207-2881 • Fax: (570) 207-2897
Archbald, PA 18403
(570) 876-5322
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3022
(717) 787-6481
Toll free: 1-877-346-5721.
If you choose to contact any of these entities, you need to ask these questions:
1. What exactly did these people do to get these bonuses?
2. What specific heroic beyond the call of duty action did they perform to merit such an increase?
3. Will the public that essentially has funded the Medical College get the answers to questions 1 and 2?
Make your voice heard if you care about this incredible abuse of public and private money. `


At 4:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonk, looks like this smacked you on the nose harder than most public fiscal abuses. You are right on and the public has a right to know how this silliness came about. I for one would love to know what these people did to deserve cash bonuses. But, consider how many on the school's board of directors also serve on the board of BC. Nothing ever changes in LuLac land.

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the problem, this area and its leaders seem to be tone deaf when it comes to things like this. BCNEPA gave the school millions of dollars out of its surplus. But yet the people hired, most likely rubber stamped by the board because they were a friend of a friend abused their position. No way in hell a Human Resources person should get a $40,000 bonus. Yonk is correct, did he recruit a fundraiser to make the school solvent? NOPE!
Did he bring on board a research team that would put Scranton on the map? NOPE! With the CityVest problem with Hotel Sterling, the corrupt Judges, Munchak and Cordaro, it is evident you can't give any public or private money to anyone in this area because something like this will happen. And the only thing that it does is retard our progress.

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always worried about what others get and you didnt. Jealousy and envy reign supreme in heyna land.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was waiting for this, envy has nothing to do with it. It's all about fairness. I suppose you think it's okay for one Human Resources person to get a big bonus while others don't? What about those medical students paying tuition for this place? You might think it's fine and dandy for a very few to get a lot of money for doing nothing. But it is morally wrong. I'm a Republican but think this is a slap in the face to Bob Mellow (who I never voted for in my life) and the Senate that funded this project. Yonki has brought up a well thought out piece and expanded on what the Scranton Times reported on. I envy his talent and passion, but I don't envy your complacent attitude as far as this issue. I dare you to tell me how many people you know get $40,000 or $100,000 dollar bonuses on top of their $100,000 salary.

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:27........ it is people such as you who cause these things to happen. You remove the "wrong" from it and reduce it to common jealously. Where is your head? You remind me very much of the part of the 99% who don't realize that we the people are getting screwed and you defend the right of the 1% to screw us. The world could use a thousand Yonks and a hell of a lot less of people who think s you do.

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "President" didnt even graduate
a class! GREED!!!
These people saw a new cash cow and decided to rape it immediately!
Sad-Sad-Sad! Envy has nothing to do with it. Common Sense does!

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tell you what, I’d feel a hell of a lot better if that “bonus” money for the knucke dragging human resources people went to the students instead.

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Medical College had staff cuts. Departments that were staffed were cut because of the fiscal incompetence of people put in charge. And some of them get bonuses while others were put out on the street? That’s envy?

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole thing came to light because of a lawsuit that was put in play by a Ms. Mangan. I say she should be regarded as a true hero in exposing this chicanery. And I never, ever thought in my wildest dreams I’d be saying this…..but I feel sorry for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. They were duped by a bunch of people they obviously trusted to do the right thing.
Like Mr. Yonki indicated, that “surplus” exists to pay member’s medical claims and BC has taken a beating in the press for how high it has gotten. To use part of that rainy day fund to support a worthy endeavor and to have a portion of that money spent on outrageous bonuses is sad, pathetic and bordering on criminal.

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, I've been a fan of your TV show with L.A. Tarone on WYLN TV. Once more you prove what a savvy commentator of the news you are. I was not aware that this abuse existed. Congrats to the Times for reporting on it and you for detailing this behavior in terms that an average joe or jane can understand.

At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Envy? How can one envy an employee that knowingly takes a big pay day while those around them are getting pink slips in a bad economy? That’s not envy 12:27PM, that’s what the Republicans have been doing to the middle class for the last ten years.
I’ll stop being envious when like the Yonk said, “Tell me what they did for those huge bonuses”!!! Did they save a life? Did they make the school better financially? Did they improve the situation so the institution got kudos instead of a suspension? Give me those answers and I’ll stop the envy.

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This area takes the cake. We start out with a great idea. A guy like Bob Mellow puts himself on the line to get the money for his home area. He persuades Blue Cross, or maybe Blue Cross thinks on their own that this is a good idea and puts money into it. A normal line of procedure. Then because this is Northeastern Pennsylvania, or because of the influence of David’s web site, Luac land, things go south. Second tier people who either impressed the local yokuls with their out of town tap dance or had some kind of connection are put in charge. We seem to attract people to run our institutions who reach their level of incompetence once they land here. Maybe the answer is to hire local people to run our stuff. Local people who won’t let a guy like Cortese get $40,000 just for showing up. Our failure here in this area is we start out doing the right thing, then drop the ball. These bonuses are a major fumble.

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:09 said it well. The president was overpaid in the first place!
A Human Resources Bonus is absurd. Let the others slide. They took bogus bonuses while others got fired. That will catch up with them one day and it will catch up to the "school without accreditation" as well! Broke already and handing out obscene bonuses! Re the Pres, he gives back every bogus bonus penny now! Mission not even close to accomplished, hardly begun. Make an example of this crook. Investigate now and nip this shit in the bud or it will go on forever.
Another good thing destroyed by arrogant assinine GREED!!!and I'll bet there is more corruption under that new dome.
Stay on this one, Yonks.
We are and should be outraged!!

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at the list of the medical college board, 3 of them were involved in the mysterious heist of the NEPA's watershed lands back in the 90's. Things never seem to change in heyna land.

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure, the local people who have rank and file jobs at the school aren’t getting bonuses. These are the people who run the place. And I have to speak to David’s point about bonuses for doctors. There are none. These men and women save lives, eliminate pain. Oh one might get a sign on bonus but that’s different than a start up institution on the ropes financially giving this money out. One more plaque on the NEPA Wall of Shame.

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We’ll never learn in this area. We are our own worst enemy. And then we wonder why we become the laughing stock of the state. You cannot tell me that any human resource person is worth $40,000. And the point about the President is well taken. What did he do to earn a bonus? The school is in arrears, there is an accreditation problem and now thanks to the misguided administration of a payroll gone wild, public confidence and trust is at a low ebb. Occupy Wall Street? How about occupying the Medical College!!!!

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading this site. You have taken your work to a new level especially during this last year. And I bet Google doesn’t give you a bonus either!

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m a young student leaving LCCC’s Medical Assistant program. How do I transition from that to a Human Resources Person? Recently I read where an MVP in baseball or football gets a bonus if they win the award. What award or bench mark did these people get for their bonuses? That’s what I’d like someone to tell me.

At 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonki, good article. Finally glad to see a local blogger with a set who calls it like it is. This lawsuit should trigger some type of investigation into how people are hired there and why. The students coming in deserve that. The city of Scranton deserves that. The people who put so much hard work and energy into this…..deserve this. The parasites that got the bonuses…deserve nothing.

At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonk, when you were out of action, your buddy Tarone was shaking his fist at this scam. Can't wait to see you guys back together again on TV and give 'em all hell.

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonk, you just never know what’s going to set people off don’t you? I hope people in private business as well as the public sector realize that this crap is not going to stand anymore. We have working people on food stamps, parents paying a quarter of their salary for day care and two local Chambers of Commerce that haven’t produced living wage jobs in thirty ****ing (edited) years. This is a disgrace. The Medical College is a disgrace. And it is a slap in the face to Senator Mellow, the Blue Cross company and anyone who has supported any fundraising event the college put on. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a loser trying to get by on $27,5 a year with no bonus in sight.

At 3:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feel bad vor Blue Cross? Are you nuts? Don't you realize that there are hevy hitters on both Boards? It is the people who verve on the school Board who also serve on the BC Board who allowd this to happen. It is a disgrace and the BS people should resign from the school board post haste.

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Yonk!!!!
Tks very much for post:
I like it and hope that you continue posting.

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

TOday I would like to cover in my lecture the subject of bonuses. For those of you who do not know, or more likely will have no "need" to know, a bonus is an addition to you working income. It can be granted either monetarily or tangibly.
What most of your generation fail to understand is that a bonus is not a right, it is a privelige deemed by one's employer.
Looking at the Occupy Wall Street protesters it has become quite clear that the generation born in the mid eighties to early nineties is one of the most selfish generations to ever see the light of day.
Whereas the World War II generation laid down their young lives or if lucky, survived to return stateside to contribute to society the majority of your generation prefers to discuss the latest I phone or Internet porn sensation. The average 18 year old in 1942 was likely to be heard yelling "Charge, let's show those damn Nazis what good ol' American grit is all about!!!" TOday the average 18 year old can be usually heard crying "Daddy, Daddy, gimme something!"
And we wonder why our nation is going under faster than a ton of bricks.
IN short, class, you are NOT entitled to receive bonuses and in fact you should be happy to take what your employer deems to grant you in return for a paycheck.
What I have said in the past regarding this classroom also applies to those in the workaday world: IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, GET UP AND LEAVE! And to the more sophisticated amongst us I heed you to not worry about the Occupy movement. Once Winter rears her cold/ugly head all of these pampered youngsters will head home to the warm house that Mommy and Daddy are working their tails off to pay for.
Something to think about this morning.
CLass Dismissed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lulacers are clearly outraged over the TCMC Bonus Gate! Lets get our teeth into this and not let go. We are off to a good start, hang on. This Medical School is such a positive for the area and the students. Lets not blow it. Get all the dirt out and clean up the mess and make sure this is not allowed to continue. Keep us posted and dont let up one bit!
Even though you were out of action when it hit, you nailed this one.
Keep Hammerin"!


At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professor who ever you are, please, please go away.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BONUSES to the already well-paid from OUR BLUE CROSS PREMIUMS???
Is this why my family is paying nearly $1400.00 PER MONTH, yes, PER MONTH, for basic coverage with a deductible and without vision and dental coverage? We are self-employed and get gouged for healthcare coverage because we are not part of a "group" which, btw, is ludicrous because the "self-employed" could easily be called a group.

Why not give us the money back that we didn't use in healthcare premiums if there is a SURPLUS? Over the years we've been OVERCHARGED again and again and the money given out to fat cats as bonuses, for advertising money for local sports clubs, etc. BLUE CROSS should be ASHAMED of themselves.

At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Blue Cross is a non-profit then they can't have that kind of money lying around or lose the status. Notice that the bonus doesn't go to the drones but upper management.

Trouble is: where do you take your money? Your choice is very limited. If the health care insurance industry was unshackled and could sell/provide their service across state lines then we may get a better product. Right now we are stuck in the name of protection aka our federal govt regulations.

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 5:56

If you want to have some weight in your comments at least refute what the Professor says. How about some examples that show him in error.

This "go away" stuff is weary and tiresome and only shows how close the Professor is to being correct.

What say? Game on?


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