In addition, Theodore Garelick, vice chair of the board, decided not to seek re-election, but will continue as a trustee.
In accepting Brockman's resignation, the board voted to elect Ruth Dugan - wife of former state Senator James Dugan - to serve as chair in Brockman's place.
Anthony Ward was elected vice chair, and Robert Cavanaugh - a former councilman in Jersey City - was elected treasurer. Robert Mill was re-elected board secretary.
Brockman leaves at a time when some of the hospital creditors have raised complaints about some of the refinancing at the hospital. Earlier this year, BMC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving creditors to whom the hospital owes money, at risk of not being paid. Two weeks ago, some of these creditors claimed that Pamrapo Bank - to whom the hospital also owes money - might have benefited from the fact that Brockman also sat as a board member of the bank to restructure a $3 million loan, giving the bank priority for repayment. A committee of unsecured creditors has asked the bankruptcy court to review the matter.
Comment from coalition
Members of the Coalition to Save Bayonne Medical Center, which formed in August 2006 in reaction to problems at the hospital, asked last year for Brockman to leave.
"This change in leadership at BMC is long overdue," said Jeanne Otersen, a representative from the HPAE, which represents most of the workers at BMC. "As caregivers at BMC, HPAE members have always been willing to support and advocate for our hospital, but we have long been concerned about possible conflicts of interest in the board leadership. We believe and hope that the new leadership will be more accountable to the community it serves, and look forward to working with the board to ensure a secure future for BMC."
Brockman, along with former BMC president and CEO Robert Evans, played a significant role in the development of several high profile new programs at the hospital since 2000, trying to create a revenue stream that could help make up for loss of patients to other healthcare providers and unpredictable repayment from insurance providers - including the founding of the hospital vascular unit, participation in angioplasty procedures, and the purchase of St. Vincent's Hospital in Staten Island.
Evans, who left in December, has since come under fire for "painting an over optimistic picture" of hospital finances. A review done partly as the result of Evans' leaving and partly because of the pressure put on the hospital by the Coalition to Save Bayonne Hospital showed that hospital finances were in far worse shape than anyone imagined. Daniel Kane, serving as interim CEO, was brought on to develop a refinancing plan. In April, faced with serious set backs to financing, Kane announced the bankruptcy filing.
The Coalition to Save Bayonne Hospital has frequently asked for Brockman to step down.
In stepping into the new role as chairperson for the board, Dugan thanked Brockman for his many years of service and acknowledged his role in the accomplishments at the hospital.
"Herman will be remembered for his role in accomplishing the growth of high quality services as well as the increased side of the physical plant," Dugan said.
Public officials, such as City Council President Vincent Lo Re, have expressed great concern about the finances at the hospital.
"We need Bayonne Medical Center in our community," Lo Re said. "Bayonne is a peninsula and we cannot afford to lose our hospital."
But city officials like Lo Re are also faced with their own fiscal problems and do not see "a rescue" or "takeover" by the city as recently done in Hoboken if the hospital should fail.
"We have our own problems at this point," Lo Re said.
Dugan, however, seemed optimistic even in the face of ongoing changes.
"My colleagues and I realize that we are facing difficult times as an organization, but we are committed to preserving the high quality of services our community has been accustomed to and deserve from our dedicated physicians and staff."