Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey has a new job lined up when he leaves office May 1st.
He says one surprising thing he learned during his 12 years in office is that as mayor, he was in the health care business. And that’s where he’s going in his post-political career. Morrissey will be vice president for government relations at Marathon Health – that’s the Vermont-based company that provides health services for City of Rockford employees. He says the job speaks to his desire to help create healthy communities, because “when we still have high costs and not ideal results, it’s about connecting individuals and families to community based solutions that are sometimes outside the hospital, outside the clinic. That’s what I’m going to bring to the table.”
Morrissey says the job is a “great fit” for him because he sees the company as pursuing the same results he wanted for Rockford: to raise the bar on quality of life and the health of the community. And that means supporting healthy habits in creative ways, including providing families with higher quality food. He says some hospitals are already taking steps in that direction by turning parts of their campuses into gardens, supplying produce for their own cafeterias, which means healthier options for both patients and employees.
As an employee of the city of Rockford, Morrissey says he uses Marathon’s wellness center near city hall: Two of his children were there earlier this week. Employees and their families don’t have to pay co-pays to visit the clinic. In fact, they’re encouraged to use it frequently because the city is paying a fixed price for the service. Morrissey says that’s an investment that pays off down the road, with healthier employees and serious illnesses that are caught earlier.
Morrissey will be traveling a lot in his new position, but “I’m still going to be a Rockfordian, still very committed to improving our community, supporting the new administration, frankly, and offering whatever support and advice I can.”
Marathon Health provides governments and businesses health care, including onsite health clinics. Morrissey says his new job isn’t a conflict of interest because he doesn’t start until after his term ends. Also, he delayed negotiations on a new contract with the company until the new city administration takes over.