Rice Bill Looks To Expand Umdnj Board Members

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, which would enhance oversight by increasing the members of the board of trustees at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, was approved by the Senate Education Committee today.

“UMDNJ has come under intense media scrutiny after a series of scandals involving the university came to light,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “UMDNJ should focus on providing health care and teaching services to the residents of New Jersey. These changes will help to regain the public’s trust in the university by not only expanding membership, but also providing stricter guidelines for choosing members.”

The bill, S-1221, would increase the number of voting members to the UMDNJ board from 11 to 23.

“The current board of trustees of UMDNJ consists of the Commissioner of Health, who does not vote, and 11 voting members,” said Senator Rice. “I want the number of both voting and non voting members be increased so that we can have a more diverse range of experts involved in making decision for UMDNJ.”

The bill also would deny membership, to the board of trustees, to anyone that has any employment ties or official links to the facility or its affiliates.

“In hopes of avoiding any conflict of interest, a section of this legislation specifically prohibits voting member from being employees of UMDNJ or any hospital affiliated with the University,” said Senator Rice. “Membership on the UMDNJ board needs to reflect the best interest of the University. The board is no place for members to advance their own personal agendas.”

According to Senator Rice, the bill would also authorize the Governor to appoint up to three members to the UMDNJ board that live outside New Jersey.

Senator Rice stated that the measure would require that members from each region of the State be represented on the board.

“When choosing members, it is important to keep the board diverse, with people in several different fields, different ethnic backgrounds and races and different sections of the State who can bring their experiences to the table,” said Senator Rice. “I hope that in these coming months the Legislature and Governor Corzine will get behind this measure because it is important that we restore the public’s confidence in UMDNJ.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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