Neronha’s denial of the hospital merger offers an important lesson.

Whether or not one agrees with Attorney General Peter Neronha’s decision to block a major merger of Rhode Island hospital companies, the fact that it wasn’t really a typical Rhode Island decision-making process cannot be denied.  From that fact we can learn an important lesson.

Personal integrity probably played a role, of course, but one reason he was able to buck expectations was that Neronha was tasked with answering a specific question based on a clear set of standards (i.e., the law).  That is how we should strive to structure all administrative and judicial (as opposed to legislative) decisions in government.  Unfortunately, we’ve become too accustomed to elected officials and judges simply imposing their best judgment (I’m being charitable) regardless of what law or regulation might say.

People who do that have to be removed from office.  Of course, political insiders will always prefer that decisions be made behind closed doors for political reasons, with justification pieced together after the fact as a disguise for the corruption.

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