News & Politics

Yet another former Bronx lawmaker joins Montefiore

The borough’s hospital system is staffing up with well-connected politicos.

Former Assembly Member Latoya Joyner

Former Assembly Member Latoya Joyner Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

When former Assembly Member Latoya Joyner made a surprise announcement in January that she would be leaving office for the private sector, it initially was unclear where she would be working. Now after four months, Politico reported that Joyner took a job at Montefiore Medical Center, making her the latest in a series of Bronx politicians who have gone on to work for the borough’s health care giant. 

The trend began with former Assembly Member Marcos Crespo when he joined the hospital as senior vice president of community affairs in 2020. Crespo represented Assembly District 85 in the South Bronx. Former Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. followed in Crespo’s footsteps when he joined Montefiore as senior vice president of strategic initiatives in 2022. In February, Joyner left her influential position as chair of the Assembly’s Labor Committee to work as the senior labor adviser for Montefiore. She represented Assembly District 77 in the Bronx. 

Montefiore is one of the Bronx’s primary employers and a major recipient of government funding. While of course former elected officials are not legally barred from taking a job in the private sector, the revolving door between government and the powerful hospital system has raised some concerns about the implications of former public servants putting their knowledge and relationships to work for large and influential private institutions. 

“Montefiore reports spending about $1.5 million a year on lobbying, and it makes sense they hire former elected officials to maximize their political clout,” said Rachael Fauss, senior policy adviser at Reinvent Albany. “Of course it's a concern when you have a mega-employer that hires former insiders to lobby their old pals in government for billions in public funds."

Leaving office for lucrative private positions is not exclusive to Bronx politicians. Former minority leader of the state Senate John Flanagan left his Long Island seat in 2020 and began a new job lobbying for Northwell Health a few months later. Former state Sen. Todd Kaminsky went to work with the influential lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig. Rep. Tom Suozzi worked for the global consulting firm Actum as co-chair in 2023 after losing his gubernatorial run against Kathy Hochul and before winning his congressional seat back earlier this year. The list goes on and on.

Montefiore provides health care to thousands of locals in the Bronx. The hospital also had 22,000 individuals on the payroll as of 2022, and it spent over $2.3 billion in wages and employee benefits that year according to the organization's most recently available nonprofit disclosure 990 form

Montefiore received almost $150 million in grants in 2022. Additionally, 75% of individuals treated at Montefiore paid their bills through Medicare or Medicaid, which made up 68% of revenue for Montefiore and its affiliates in 2018 according to budget testimony from the former CEO of Montefiore Dr. Steven Safyer. Government payer revenue for New York state hospitals averaged 50% of total revenue at the time. 

All of this public money helps support the hospital’s yearly budget of over $4.6 billion and the seven figure salaries of Montefiore’s leadership. A total of nearly $30 million was paid across nine members of the hospital’s top brass in 2022. The salaries of Crespo, Díaz and Joyner are not included in those nine, and they’re not publicly accessible, but the three of them hold positions in Montefiore’s executive leadership. 

“These are three individuals with one thing in common; a career dedicated to public service, a deep respect and personal connection to the communities they’ve served, and a commitment to health equity,” said Joe Solmonese, the senior vice president of government relations and strategic communications at Montefiore. “It should surprise no one that these were essential qualities in building a leadership team that would help us double down on our investment in the Bronx - a key pillar in our strategic plan.”