by Chris Graff Those who have written off Governor Peter Shumlin as too wounded to be effective are ignoring history and the power of a governor. As for the history lesson, consider Governor Deane C Davis: Polling showed in 1970 that the governor was one of the most unpopular politicians in the country. He was so weak that his own lieutenant governor challenged his re-election in the Republican primary. In-depth polling in 1970 showed that Vermonters thought that Davis was cold and impersonal, didn’t care about the average man and, most importantly, that he had lied to them.At the heart of the dispute was the 1968 campaign when Davis quite openly said he would support a sales tax for the state, but would only propose one as a “last resort.” After he was elected and appreciated the full extent of the state’s budget crisis, he ended up proposing a sales tax in his inaugural address – and that’s what touched off the anger and distrust.But Davis fought back in that 1970 campaign, won re-election and went on to be one of the state’s most revered governors.Sure, Peter Shumlin has been hit hard. But he is the governor and still retains the power to shape the state’s agenda in the coming two years. When he stands before the Legislature in January and delivers his inaugural and budget addresses he can count on most all of his priorities passing into law. That’s just the way it is.But another story comes to mind as well.In the 1994 Legislature the top priority of Governor Howard Dean, a doctor, was health care reform. The lawmakers and the administration had been paving the way to passage for two years. Two options had been presented to design a new health delivery system that would contain costs yet ensure access to health care for all.House Speaker Ralph Wright appointed a special health House committee to consider the measure in hopes of streamlining the process and promoting passage. The plan, though, was incredibly complex and the press had tremendous difficulties understanding the proposal, much less communicating to the public what was going on.At one point Dean said the new system would cost $37 million but others estimated the true cost would be more than $100 million and even then there was talk that healthcare costs would remain high for most families.By mid-March it was clear that the comprehensive bill would not pass the House. In his autobiography, All Politics is Personal, Speaker Wright recalls that he turned to Dean when it became evident the bill was mired in the House, hoping to develop a strategy for continuing the fight in the Senate.“What are we going to do?” Wright asked.“Nothing,” said Dean. “It’s dead.”Wright was incredulous. “That’s it. It’s dead? Two years of grinding and fighting, and it’s dead? Everything went out of my mind, as the only visual I had was the governor in a hospital room, pulling another sheet over a patient’s face, and turning back to look at the charts on the patient in the next bed.”Dean knew when to move on. The collapse of the major healthcare initiative did not deter him from continuing to work on the issue. Year after year he promoted and passed some incremental changes. By the end of his time as governor all those little changes added up to big successes.Shumlin needs to do the same: It is time to move on. Single payer health care reform may make perfect sense as a policy initiative, but it does not make sense as a political initiative – at this time.The landscape is too complicated. The financing is too overwhelming. The failures of Vermont Health Connect have raised legitimate questions about the ability of the state to implement such sweeping change. The dust-up over the remarks and attitude of MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber have further eroded the credibility of the endeavor.Like Dean, Shumlin would be best served by taking a step back from pushing single payer sooner and develop a plan to build support over the longer term. And to educate Vermonters about all of the change that is happening here – right now – in Vermont in health care delivery, health care technology and health care reform.Lost in all of the debate on how to finance a single payer health care system are the incredible successes of the Green Mountain Care Board to bend the cost curve. The board has made marked improvements in controlling hospital costs and refocusing the health care delivery system on wellness and outcomes. Vermonters need to understand what accountable care organizations are and how their creation is a huge step forward in a health care model for the future.Shumlin is impatient. But in politics timing is everything.And this is just not the time.Chris Graff, a former Vermont bureau chief of The Associated Press and host of VPT’s Vermont This Week, is now vice president for communications at National Life Group. He is author of, Dateline Vermont: Covering and uncovering the newsworthy stories that shaped a state – and influenced a nation.PHOTO: Governor Shumlin holds a press conference two days after the election. He and the Legislature must address a large budget shortfall, as tax revenues so far this fiscal year are disappointing, and wide concerns about the property tax and the impact and revenue sources for the governor’s single-payer health plan. VBM photo.RELATES STORIES:Personal Income Tax continues to struggle, $3.08 million off targetSingle payer financing likely to start with 8 percent payroll tax
Community College of Vermont,Vermont Business Magazine The Community College of Vermont (CCV) held its graduation ceremony Saturday at Norwich University’s Shapiro Field House. More than 550 students from across the state received associate degrees at the event. Students representing all 14 Vermont counties graduated along with students from 12 other states and 18 countries worldwide. The youngest graduate was 17 and the eldest was 66. Also among the graduates were 41 veterans and active duty military personnel.Spectrum Youth and Family Services Executive Director Mark Redmond and Governor Peter Shumlin addressed the Class of 2016. CCV President Joyce Judy officiated the event.Redmond, spoke about the importance of grit and perseverance in achieving one’s goals.“I can only imagine the challenges and difficulties some of you have overcome while in school: around transportation, around child care, around finances, finding the time to study while you are also working one or maybe even two jobs,” said Redmond. “Maybe your family wasn’t even supportive of you obtaining a college degree. But you did it. You didn’t give up. You got your college degree, and you know, very few people make it to the point you have.”LEFT, All smiles from CCV-Winooski graduates. ABOVE, A CCV-Montpelier graduate hugs her advisor after receiving her diploma. CCV photos.He also told the story of a young refugee whom he and his wife hosted when she first arrived in Vermont with her family from Kenya. She went on to graduate from CCV and is now an education student at the University of Vermont.“She surrounded herself with responsible people and listened to their advice,” he said. “She surrounded herself with people who were role models for her, who could help her and coach her and mentor her. She recognized her dignity and what she deserved in life.”CCV-Upper Valley student Ashley Andreas addressed the attendees as the student speaker. She spoke of her transformative experiences at CCV and the desire to create change in the world around her.“CCV is not only an academic center; it is a community where everyone is included and valued regardless of socioeconomic standing, family history, past experiences or learning styles,” said Andreas. “It is the diversity of students that makes us unique, that makes us better prepared to cope with the real world, and that teaches us tolerance.”Andreas passionately encouraged her fellow graduates to engage with their communities, citing public figures ranging from Florence Kelley to Bernie Sanders.“While our individual successes are valuable and something to be proud of, I believe we sell ourselves short if we don’t give back to our communities and empower every person we come in contact with,” she said. “I believe my impact on others defines who I am. I have always been inspired by people who put the greater good of others before their own personal gains.”In her speech to the graduates, President Judy spoke on the diverse backgrounds of the graduating class, and the experiences at CCV that united them.“While you come from different towns and diverse backgrounds, there are common qualities and beliefs all of our graduates possess,” said Judy. “You share the determination that has been required to overcome many challenges and complete your degrees. You share the belief that education is the foundation of success. You share the experience of waving away any last doubts and walking through the front doors of the Community College of Vermont on your first day of class.”Governor Peter Shumlin also addressed the graduates, congratulating them on their accomplishments.“I’m here just to say congratulations. You will be the best Vermonters, because you know how to fight, you know how to overcome obstacles, you know how to make it work, you know how to use your imagination and your courage and your determination and your incredible intellect to get where you are right now. And I see in front of me huge successes ahead in each and every one of you.”He also made a point of encouraging them to keep their talents in Vermont.“You have made it. Many of you [will] go farther and that’s great. But just this huge accomplishment is going to lift your life and I’m just going to beg you to do it here in Vermont. You know there are 50 governors in America, but this I’m convinced of. There is nothing better than the Green Mountain State, to live, to work, to raise a family.”Several individuals were recognized during the ceremony for both academic accomplishments and community service.Tom Stearns, founder of High Mowing Seeds, received a community service award for his work advocating for Vermont’s agricultural community and healthy food systems.CCV-Springfield faculty member Brad Houk received the faculty community service award for his dedication to inspiring students to become good citizens and active community members through innovative mapping.CCV-Rutland student Amy McClure and CCV-Winooski student Luke Fountain were awarded CCV alumni scholarships.CCV is Vermont’s second largest college, serving over 7,000 students each semester. With 12 locations and extensive online learning options, our students don’t have to travel far from their communities to access our degree and certificate programs, workforce, secondary and continuing education opportunities, and academic and veterans support services.Graduate procession from Kreitzberg Arena to Shapiro Field House
August 15, 2012 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Navigating the tech minefield Navigating the tech minefield Committees examine cloud computing, e-filing, and the use of metatags Senior EditorIt’s one thing to store your downloaded digital music or e-books “in the cloud,” but is it a safe place to stash confidential client information? Likewise, if the Internet guru you hired to manage your firm website wants to add some “invisible” words, could that be a problem? What about delegating e-filing duties for the state courts’ new electronic filing system to your nonlawyer aides?The Bar Board of Governors, at its July 27 meeting, approved drafting advisory opinions on those three subjects to help lawyers avoid unexpected ethical detonations in the technology minefields.The three requests to issue proposed opinions were presented by the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics. BRCPE Chair Carl Schwait said the committee voted unanimously in all three instances to recommend the advisory opinions be drafted.The cloud computing issue came to the board from the Professional Ethics Committee (see story in the August 1 Bar News ), which asked the board to draft an advisory opinion on that topic. (Under Bar policies, the committee can only draft opinions on questions brought by lawyers or at the direction of the Board of Governors.)Cloud computing is when companies offer offsite storage for digital information, which users can access with a variety of computers, smart phones, tablets, and similar devices anywhere they have Internet access. It can also relieve users of the need to buy and maintain more computer memory capability as well as provide offsite backup for critical information.But, as Schwait told the board, questions have arisen on how secure such stored information is.“The use of cloud computing. . . presents confidentiality concerns and becomes a very big topic on issues of what happens in the cloud, is there confidentiality, and things such as that,” he said. “Having gotten so many questions, the Professional Ethics Committee has come forward, and they would like to have you issue a directive that they look at it, come for a formal determination about it, and send it back to us.”Metatags involve efforts to make websites get higher placements in the results of Internet search engines. Metatags are typically words or phrases that are invisible to viewers of the site, but are picked up by the search engines. Words are made invisible by setting the font size at zero or making the type the same color as the website background.Search engine companies typically discourage the use of metatags, including the blacklisting of practitioners from any search results, but the practice has continued. There have been cases where one company has used a rival’s name and copyrighted product name in metatags to boost its search engine visibility. There has been at least one Florida Bar grievance case in which a lawyer claimed another lawyer used the first lawyer’s name and website address in metatags on the second lawyer’s website.(The second lawyer claimed the information had been added unbeknownst to him by a “search engine optimization” company he had hired and that he had discovered the problem and was having the offending information removed before the grievance was filed.)“There is now an issue on whether in fact the use of metatags and hidden text can end up being a device, which is misleading and manipulative, and the Standing Committee on Advertising has asked if the Board of Governors would allow them to do a formal opinion addressing a lawyer’s use of metatags and hidden text in their websites in order to optimize the website’s position in search engine results,” Schwait said.The e-filing matter also will be handled by the ethics committee.“There’s been an ongoing discussion on whether lawyers’ nonlawyer staff can use your login number or password,” Schwait told the board.Backup materials to the board noted that the Supreme Court clerk’s office has been receiving inquiries on the issue, particularly since those filing documents may be required to certify that sensitive or confidential information has been identified or removed as required by Rules of Judicial Administration 2.420 and 2.425.The Florida Courts E-filing Authority, which oversees the Internet portal through which court filings are made, for the moment is issuing IDs and passwords to lawyers, but not their nonlawyer staff. Last year, the authority adopted a policy that lawyers could allow nonlawyer staff to use their credentials to file documents, but later retracted that policy and currently has no position.The Florida Courts Technology Commission last year voted to require that those e-filing certify they had complied with Rules 2.420 and 2.425. Last May, the commission changed that slightly to require that the attorney responsible for filing the document — not necessarily the person actually doing the filing — certifies compliance.The issue also could be impacted by Ethics Opinion 87-11, which held that under no circumstances may a lawyer allow a nonlawyer employee to sign the attorney’s name and/or initials to notices of hearings or other pleadings.Both committees are soliciting written comments from lawyers on what should be included in the advisory opinions. See the official notice, here.
JOHN M. ROLL U.S. COURTHOUSEDeveloper: General Services AdministrationGeneral contractor: Sundt ConstructionArchitect: Ehrlich ArchitectsLocation: YumaSize: 57,000 SFThe $25M courthouse will sit on a 2.3-acre lot with secure detention areas, administrative offices and courtroom spaces. Among the sustainable features are photovoltaic panels and a living wall. The courthouse is named after U.S. District Judge John Roll, one of six people killed in the January shooting in Tucson in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Tucson) and 12 others were wounded.
ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. – Tony Costa recently joined Penray as the company’s senior director of installed markets for the automotive division. In this position, Costa is responsible for growing Penray’s products in the installer marketplace. He reports to Randy Fowler, vice president of sales and marketing. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement Prior to Penray, Costa spent 32 years in the sales and marketing department with Honeywell CPG, working with brands such as Fram, Autolite, Bendix and Prestone. For the last 10 years, Costa concentrated on the professional installer side of the business, handling private label filters. Costa holds an associate’s degree in business management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. He currently resides in Uxbridge, Mass.,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement DeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business. With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit. DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. LSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisement
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By PAUL GESSINGRio Grande FoundationWith New Mexico still in the throes of COVID-19 it is easy to forget about other major public policy issues affecting the State and its economy.Just over two years ago, in the Janus v. AFSCME decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that working for state or local government should not come with a requirement that those employees hand over a portion of their hard-earned money to unions with whom they often disagree.In the time since the decision, many government workers in New Mexico have exercised these rights by leaving their unions in droves.In a series of public records requests, the Rio Grande Foundation has found that that more than half of state employees – 54 percent – have left their union. Our survey of schools, cities and counties around New Mexico show that thousands of other public workers have decided to leave their unions as well.In working with the national advocacy effort My Pay, My Say, which is working across a large number of states (nearly half of states saw public employees receive the freedom to opt-out), New Mexico’s drop among state employees is the largest we have seen. Our campaign telling New Mexicans about their first amendment right to leave their unions has reached tens of thousands of public employees all across the state with thousands of them engaging with the advertising and many ultimately choosing to stop paying dues.The Rio Grande Foundation has long supported worker freedom in New Mexico. We share President Franklin Roosevelt’s contention that, “the process of collective bargaining as usually understood cannot be transplanted into the public service.” And we were thrilled when the court upheld the First Amendment rights for workers to choose – or choose not – to belong to labor unions.Public sector bargaining is problematic. Unlike in the private sector, taxpayers are ultimately subsidizing both sides of the bargaining table – the government employer and the government union.Recently, many on the left have come to realize these issues as well – at least when it comes to police unions. Many of the protections given to unionized police officers are not in the best interests of accountable policing and equitable criminal justice policies. We welcome them to the newfound realization that government employee unions often stand in the way of holding “public servants” accountable for their actions.But this new skepticism of unions – over their political advocacy and problematic contracts – should apply across all areas of government, including at the state, local and in K-12 education.In fact, problems with government employee unions in the education bureaucracy, like unionized law enforcement bureaucracies, have disproportionate, negative impacts on poor and minority populations.Allowing government employees to opt out of their unions is a good step towards holding unions accountable. It forces them to be more accountable to those they “represent” and it takes away one of the special favors typically granted to unions by state and local government.Once Janus v. AFSCME gave workers the choice, large numbers of them decided that unions didn’t do a good job representing their interests. Some opt out for broader political reasons; others simply don’t feel the dues are worth it and still more are perhaps concerned by the lack of accountability in government that has been driven by the unions for decades. Whatever the reason, we’ll continue making sure government employees know their rights.Paul Gessing is president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. “The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility.”
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The Raising Superheroes support group explores families’ strengths and weaknesses. A Heideveld family centre has received a R100 000 donation from a big chain store.Arise, a non-profit organisation, helps strengthen families and place children in loving homes. It provides counselling as well as family- and adoption-support programmes. In one case, director Danielle Moosajie explained, the organisation had helped a grandmother and her grandson, who was misbehaving and failing at school.“The boy had no relationship with his father and mother who were in and out of prison. Arise placed them within a group support six-week programme where they learnt about the strength that they hold.”The support group takes its lead from the strengths and weaknesses of superheroes.“In that way kids can identify because they are the experts in superheroes,” Ms Moosajie said. She said the grandson was now motivated to go to school, and the family realised what changes it needed to make. “That relationship really grew stronger,” she said.In another case, a mother, who had suffered abuse, had struggled to give her child physical attention, but after therapy, she had hugged her 10-year-old son for the first time.Ms Moosajie said Arise helped families enjoy family time and not just watch television. Parents discovered things about their children they hadn’t known such as their favourite colour or what they loved most about them.She said it was hard asking Cape Flats parents to look at life positively as they were often just trying to make ends meet and felt added stress when a child started acting out or didn’t want to go to school.“Parents learn to stop just living according to survival mode and actually live a nurturing meaningful life with their children. As parents, you need to put effort into your child’s life and not just depend on doctors and therapists,” she said. Call 021 633 4058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.