By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Joseph Muniz possesses strong experience in both government and healthcare and he has a deep understanding of the need to ensure effective delivery of health services, especially for low income and at-risk populations,” Prieto said in a statement.
“He will make an excellent addition to Horizon’s Board of Directors and will aid in the company’s mission to provide affordable health insurance to millions of New Jersey residents.”
Prieto and Gov. Chris Christie (R) were involved in a very public spat over restructuring the way the state handles Horizon’s $2.4 billion reserves, which led to a three-day government shutdown before a compromise was reached.
Meanwhile, Horizon’s board of directors was recently expanded to 17 members and Muniz will receive a $25,000 stipend for the position this year, a source familiar with the latest appointment said.
“I would like to thank Speaker Vincent Prieto for this tremendous honor and for the opportunity to make a positive impact on one of our state’s most respected and essential institutions in Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield,” Muniz added in the same statement.
“I look forward to working with my fellow board members, CEO Robert Marino and the executive leadership team at Horizon to continue ensuring that millions of New Jersey policyholders receive the high level of service and and protection that they deserve.”
Muniz serves as the Board Secretary and Purchasing Agent at the Hudson County Schools of Technology, where he earns $183,942.
Also a lifelong North Bergen resident, Muniz has serves on the the North Hudson Community Action Corporation Board of Directors, a non-profit community health organization that provides medical and social services to residents of Northern New Jersey at 22 locations.
He was named to the board in 2011 before being appointed chairman in 2013.
While universally recognized as a close political ally of Sacco and Prieto, Muniz has emceed dozens of other events for Hudson County elected officials such as Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, West New York Mayor Felix Roque and Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff.
Furthermore, this isn’t the first time in recent memory an appointment to the Horizon board has raised eyebrows.
In June, Christie nominated selected Choose New Jersey President and CEO Michele Brown to the board of directors after she withdrew from a judgeship nomination (h/t The Record).
Brown earns an annual salary of $450,000 from the non-profit, where Horizon donates $150,000 a year.