We look forward to hearing from you. Please continue to visit this site for more information and to get involved.
Josh is currently State Representative of the 153rd Legislative District in PA (Abington & Upper Dublin)
Please join us for the swearing-in ceremony of the Montgomery County Commissioners and Row Officers.
When: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 10 AM
Where: Montgomery County Community College, The Physical Education Building, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA
Please RSVP Rebecca Custer at 215.886.7376 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Abington, PA (December 28, 2011) – Montgomery County Commissioners-elect Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards today announced a new organizational structure in the commissioners’ office and the senior staff that will fill the positions. The new structure and staff has been endorsed by Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr. and is the product of intense work by Shapiro, Richards and their transition team, led by Robert D. Fox
The organizational structure will be led by a Chief Clerk/Chief Operating Officer, who will be assisted by a Deputy COO for Policy and Planning and a Deputy COO for Operations. The rest of the senior staff includes a county solicitor, chief financial officer and a director of communications.
“We wanted a structure that is commonly used in business with all persons reporting to the chief clerk, who, in turn, reports to the board,” Shapiro said. Those reporting to the chief clerk are the chief financial officer, the two deputy COOs, the communications director and the solicitor. On legal matters, the solicitor will report directly to the commissioners.
“’We are excited and ready to take on the challenges that Montgomery County faces, and we believe the structure and the staff we have put in place will provide us with the operational flexibility, experience and talent that will enable us to give the people of Montgomery County the open, responsive and efficient government they deserve,” Shapiro said. “These are extremely qualified and dedicated individuals who will do great work for the people of Montgomery County,” said Shapiro.
Richards agreed and added, “we have put a great deal of thought into how we want to govern Montgomery County, and we are confident that we have in place a combination of people, processes and policy that will enable us to execute the game plan we have devised.”
Castor, the lone holdover from the previous board of commissioners was equally optimistic about the future of the county under the new administration.
“I’m excited to get about the business of restoring the public’s faith in county government with this new team,” Castor said. “’Optimistic for success’ sums up my feeling. It will be a lot of work, but we will turn things around in time.”
Robert Graf, the current chief clerk/chief operating officer, is expected to stay on for a period of time as “senior advisor” to the new board. “Bob Graf has served Montgomery County well, and we believe his 40 years of experience and his institutional knowledge will be extremely valuable during this transitional period,” Richards said.
Robert D. Fox, chairman of the transition committee, said job descriptions were developed for all of the senior positions and that the executive committee of the transition team interviewed all the candidates.
Here are the members of the new senior staff:
Chief Clerk/Chief Operating Officer – Lauren Lambrugo
Deputy COO for Policy and Planning – Lee A. Soltysiak
Deputy COO for Operations – To be announced at a later date
Solicitor – Raymond McGarry
Chief Financial Officer — Uri Monson
Director of Communications — Frank X. Custer
Senior Staff Bios
Lauren Lambrugo, Chief Clerk/Chief Operating Officer
Lauren Lambrugo has an extensive career in executive positions dating back to the Giuliani Administration in New York City. She served in several capacities in Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s administration in New York City. She played a key role in Mayor Giuliani’s second inauguration, and also served as executive assistant to the First Deputy Mayor. Finally, she served as executive director of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Appointments.
After moving to the Philadelphia area, Lambrugo spent 10 years with Planned Parenthood. The last six years of that period she served as Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania, where she was responsible for executing the organization’s communications, media, public relations, advocacy and government relations programs.
Lambrugo spent the last three years working in various capacities with Commissioner-elect Josh Shapiro. She first served as political director of Friends of Josh Shapiro, then spent two years as chief of staff of Shapiro’s legislative office. Ultimately, Lambrugo was executive director of the Shapiro Richards campaign for county commissioner where she managed a $2.1 million operation with 18 full-time employees, 40 part-time employees, several consultants and over 700 volunteers. The campaign, which has been recognized as one of the most efficient-run and successful in Montgomery County history, culminated in an historic victory with a record number of votes.
Lambrugo is a graduate of Fordham University in New York City, and attended the Fordham Graduate School of Business. She lives in Elkins Park with her husband, Todd, and their eight-year-old daughter, Alexandra.
Lee A. Soltysiak, Deputy COO for Policy and Planning
Lee Soltysiak is an experienced governmental policy expert and government affairs professional with a significant amount of entrepreneurial experience.
Soltysiak has created and operated two businesses. He was a co-founder of a public relations and government affairs consulting firm and, with his wife, owns an independent insurance agency in Elkins Park.
Most recently, Soltysiak served as Chief of Staff of the Shapiro Richards campaign for county commissioner where he managed the campaign’s field operations, which included seven field staff, 40 canvassers and six field offices. He also coordinated all the outreach efforts to local candidates and interest groups.
Earlier in his career, Soltysiak served in several positions with increasing levels of responsibility in the office of Congressman Joseph M. Hoeffel from 1999 to 2003. He started as the district representative, later became field director, and finally served as district director. Soltysiak left Congressman Hoeffel’s staff to become Director of Government and Community Affairs for Philadelphia University.
Soltysiak is a 1998 graduate of Philadelphia University. He is a board member of the Montgomery County Foundation, Creekside Co-op in Elkins Park and the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center in Philadelphia. He lives in Jenkintown with his wife, Christian, and their five-month-old son, William.
Raymond McGarry, Solicitor
Raymond McGarry is a partner in the Wynn McGarry law firm in King of Prussia and is president of the Abington School Board. He has been practicing law for more than 22 years, and has tried cases in both the state and Federal courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His practice has focused on commercial litigation, with an emphasis on contracts, real estate, construction, employment, environmental and shareholder litigation.
In addition, as President of the Abington School Board, McGarry has had primary responsibility for negotiations of collective bargaining agreements with the district’s five labor groups, and has worked closely with the school board solicitor on all legal matters impacting the school district. He has been a member of the school board since 1997, and president of the board since 2006.
Prior to founding his own law firm, McGarry was with the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll from 1991 to 2005, and before that was an attorney with Fox Rothschild from 1989 to 1991.
McGarry received his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from the University of Delaware, and his law degree from Widener University School of Law. He was admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey. He also was admitted to practice before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey. He is a member of the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Montgomery County Bar Associations.
McGarry lives in Abington with his wife, Hannah. They have three daughters – Elizabeth is a junior at Tufts University; Rebecca is a junior at Abington High School; and, Kate is in sixth grade at McKinley Elementary School.
Uri Zvi Monson, Chief Financial Officer
For the last four years, Uri Monson has served as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA). In this role, he monitored the City of Philadelphia’s revenues, expenditures, programs, management, cash flow, and economy; reviewed the assumptions and projections in the city’s annual $20 billion Five-Year Financial Plan; and, authored reports on the city’s financial and economic outlook.
He also managed the internal operations of PICA and its $1.5 million annual operating budget; managed PICA’s outstanding bond portfolio valued at over $565 million; and, served as an information resource on City finances to the media, public officials and the citizenry. Prior to his appointment, he worked as PICA’s Deputy Executive Director from October 2001, after serving as PICA’s Director of Budgetary Analysis.
Monson previously served as Assistant Budget Director for the City of Philadelphia where his primary responsibilities included analyzing proposed policies and recommending action to the Finance Director and the Mayor’s Cabinet. He also developed portions of the city’s overall spending plan and worked with city departments to improve performance and efficiency.
Prior to returning to Philadelphia, Monson worked for the US Department of Education in Washington, DC as a Congressional Liaison and as a policy analyst for the Office of Postsecondary Education.
Monson is a graduate of the Presidential Management Internship Program, a highly selective Federal internship development program for high-potential graduate-level students. While in the PMI program, he served as a program analyst at the US Department of Education, and worked in the Office of the Vice President of the United States and the NYC Office of the Superintendent for Alternative High School Programs.
Monson has a Masters Degree in Public Policy, with a concentration in education policy, from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Columbia University, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Midrash from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Monson has served as a Vice President and Treasurer of Camp Ramah in the Poconos and is the immediate past President of the Philadelphia Committee on City Policy. He was named as a person to watch in Philadelphia Magazine’s 2009 “Best of Philly” Issue, and cited as the top “Wonk” in the City. Inside Magazine named Monson as one of the top ten influential Jewish professionals in Philadelphia.
Monson is an active member of his synagogue Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El. Monson currently resides in Wynnewood with his wife Rebekah, an attorney with Pepper Hamilton, LLP, and children Shoshana, Ariel and Eitan.
Frank X. Custer, Director of Communications
For Frank X. Custer, the director of communications position is somewhat of a déjà vu moment. While his new position will have significantly more responsibilities, he served as director of communications for Montgomery County during a Republican administration in the late-1990s. He also was director of communications in Chester County under another Republican administration in the late-1970s.
In fact, Custer has served in communications roles in the public sector at the county, state and federal levels of government. While he has extensive experience in the public sector, Custer has spent half his career in the private sector.
Most recently, he was a partner in a public relations and government affairs consulting firm based in Montgomery County. His other private sector experience includes several years as a reporter and later an editor at a suburban Philadelphia daily newspaper, and 12 years as a vice president of a Valley Forge-based advertising and public relations firm, where he was an account executive for a variety of business-to-business clients.
Prior to founding his public relations and government affairs consulting firm, Custer served for six years as senior advisor and press secretary to U.S. Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel (D-PA). During that time, Custer handled all communications and media issues for Congressman Hoeffel, and advised him on issues ranging from the federal budget to national defense and from major social issues to international relations.
At the state level, Custer served in the Florida Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, as assistant bureau chief of tourism publicity, and later as director of group sales
A graduate of Temple University, Custer has two grown children and lives with his wife, Martha, in Lansdale (Upper Gwynedd Township), PA.
Abington, PA (December 16, 2011) – When Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards were elected Montgomery County Commissioners on November 8th, they promised a smooth, yet active transition of governmental administrations. They also promised that the Shapiro-Richards transition team would include a broad range of talented and experienced professionals that would not only prepare for the change of government on January 3, but would also begin the 100-day review of county government that the Democratic candidates had promised during the campaign.
That process has begun.
On November 15th, Shapiro and Richards announced that Lower Merion attorney Robert Fox of the firm Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP would head the transition team. Since then, Fox, Shapiro and Richards have assembled a talented and experienced transition team comprised of an executive committee and five additional committees that will look into how various aspects of county government are structured, with an eye towards finding ways to make county government more open, accountable, and efficient.
“I am proud to be heading this talented, bipartisan group of individuals,” Fox said. “I believe county residents will be well-served.”
Members of the transition executive committee are:
• Gail Weilheimer (transition co-counsel) – attorney, Wisler Pearlstine, LLP
• Karl Myers (transition co-counsel) – attorney, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP
• Darren Check – attorney, Kessler, Topaz, Meltzer and Check, LLP
• Mary Jo Daly – senior financial officer, University of Pennsylvania Lab Animal Resource; and outgoing president of Narberth Borough Council
• Jim Shacklett – CEO, National Label Company
• Dan Woodall – Business Manager, Laborers Local 135
“These individuals have provided tremendous leadership,” Fox said, “and I would especially like to thank Gail Weilheimer and Karl Myers for doing a great deal of the heavy lifting in the early going.”
The following is a list of the committees that will look into the various aspects of county government and the members of those committees:
• Mimi Desouza, MBA, PhD (co-chair) – Early Development Project Leader, Merck Research Labs; member of Norristown Council
• Dave Schaaf (co-chair) – Business Manager and Financial Secretary, IBEW Local 180
• Dave Gannon – Business Agent, Carpenters Local 1595
• David Newman – Principal, Newman Development
• Ed Mullin – Partner, Hamburg, Rubin, Maxwell, Mullin and Lupin
• John Meyerson – Director of Legislative and Political Action, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776
• Sam Goldstein, CFO, The Galman Group
• Linda Rubin – President, Linda’s Loft
• Judith Kratka – Corporate Director for Facilities Planning and Sustainability, Abington Memorial Hospital
• Kim Sheppard (co-chair) – Executive Director, Whitemarsh Foundation
• Ken Lawrence (co-chair) – Senior VP of Government, Community and Public Affairs, Temple University
• Ron Rosen – Managing Partner, Tabas & Rosen, P.C.
• Melissa Gilbert – Associate Professor of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University; member of Lower Merion School Board
• Matt McTish – President, McTish, Kunkel & Associates
• David Cohen, AICP – Senior Manager of Program Analysis and Development, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
• Jill Blumhardt – Senior Project Manager, AMEC Earth and Environment, Inc.
• Michael Kolodner—Community Organizer
Social and Human Services
• Valerie Arkoosh (co-chair) – President, National Physicians Alliance
• Renee Amoore (co-chair) – President and CEO, Amoore Group
• Pastor Charles Quann – Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church
• Ruth Damsker – former Montgomery County Commissioner
• Maryann Roche – former county MH/MR official
• Dan Litman, J.D., M.F.S. – Litman Law Group
• Peter Cornog – social worker
• Gary Simpson – Member, Norristown Borough Council
• David Nasatir (co-chair) – Partner, Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, LLP
• Ed Wurster (co-chair) — Chief, Roslyn Fire Co.
• Michael Drossner – Principal, Drossner Law
• Will Holt – retired Abington police officer with 42 years experience; former candidate for county sheriff
• Ken Roos – Partner, Wisler Pearlstine
• Jamie Haddon — Executive Director, Second Alarmers
• Leslee Silverman Tabas – Attorney, Law Office of Leslee Silverman Tabas
• Missy Sterling – Attorney, Naulty, Scaricamazza & McDevitt
• Brian Regli (co-chair) – CEO, Dakotas, LLC
• Ellen Toplin (co-chair) – strategic business and marketing consultant
• Barry Cohen – Partner, Cohen Partners, LLC
• Dottie Miller – President, Merck Independent Union
• Marc Brownstein – President and CEO, The Brownstein Group
• Joe Kluge – Principal, Wolf Brown
• Sheri Riser, CPA – Professor of Accounting Practice, Temple University
Karen Heller, Philadelphia Inquirer Consultant, writes:
Montgomery County’s commissioners have enjoyed a Republican majority since anyone can remember, and they remember it wrong anyway, thinking the GOP came into power in 1875. But the first two three-official administrations were controlled by Democrats, I learned from the county historical society’s Jeff McGranahan. In 1881, Republicans James Burnett and Hiram Burdan took charge, and there was no turning back.
Until now. Montgomery County, long a bedrock of the state GOP, is going blue. In January, Democrats Leslie Richards and State Rep. Josh Shapiro will assume the majority, the latter becoming chairman. Eminently quotable Republican Bruce Castor, the former swaggering county D.A., will be the lone holdover from the current three-ring circus, which has provided continuous entertainment for four years but less effective governance. Read the rest of this entry »
Montgomery County Commissioners-elect Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards have named attorney Robert D. Fox to lead its transition team as they prepare to take over the reins of county government.
“We are ecstatic to have someone of Robb’s caliber leading our preparations to assume the responsibility of governing the third-largest county in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said. “Robb is universally respected for his knowledge, integrity and ability to relate to people.”
Richards, who has already undergone a governmental transition in Whitemarsh Township, which included a change in political parties, said Fox was “uniquely qualified to lead this transition team. No matter how cooperative the parties may be, there will be at least a few rough spots, and I know Robb will handle those with his usual professional aplomb.”
Both Shapiro and Richards said that the current administration of Jim Matthews, Joe Hoeffel and Bruce Castor have been extremely cooperative since last Tuesday’s election, which produced the first Democratic majority in over 140 years in Montgomery County. “Commissioner Matthews and his colleagues have gone out of their way to be cooperative,” Richards said, “and that is so important since there is a lot of work to be done and preparations to be made.”
Fox is the managing partner of Manko, Gold, Katcher, Fox, a law firm specializing in environmental and energy law.
Fox has over twenty-five years of experience providing compliance counseling for business and industry regarding hazardous and municipal waste regulations, Superfund matters, water regulation, and storage tank issues He also has experience in assisting with the environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions and real property development, including brownfield redevelopment and wetlands, storm water, and sewer capacity permitting.
Fox is the chairman of the Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board, and the former chairman of the Lower Merion Planning Commission.
“I am honored to have been chosen to lead this historic transition,” Fox said. “I have great respect for Josh and Leslie, as well as the incumbent commissioners, and I look forward to making this a smooth, seamless transition and one of which the people of Montgomery County can be proud.”
Fox said additional members of the transition team would be appointed in the coming days and would represent the county’s diverse electorate and would have an equally diverse interest in various segments of county government.
Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, the Democratic candidates for Montgomery County commissioner, have received the endorsement of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania.
This is the second major environmental organization to endorse Shapiro and Richards in the campaign. Earlier, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Group of the Sierra Club endorsed the pair.
Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania is an organization that works to elect leaders who understand the importance and urgency of protecting our environment.
“The citizens of Montgomery County deserve clean water, safe air and green open spaces that protect their quality of life,” said CVPA Executive Director Josh McNeil. “Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards have the experience and the commitment to keep Montgomery County and its families healthy.”
In announcing its endorsement, CVPA said, “with the right commissioners in charge, the Montgomery County Commission has the potential to significantly improve the health of the environment for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. As supervisor of Whitemarsh Township, Leslie Richards has led important efforts to improve stormwater management and to preserve the Erdenheim Farm – one of the great open space successes in recent years. As a state legislator, Josh Shapiro maintained an excellent environmental voting record and championed important conservation legislation like Growing Greener 2.”
“It is an honor to receive the endorsement of the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania,” said Richards. “The preservation of Erdenheim Farm is the signature accomplishment of my time as a Whitemarsh supervisor, and I look forward to being able to do similar projects as a Montgomery County commissioner.”
“Protection of the environment has been an important part of my work in the legislature and the endorsement by the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania is a distinct honor,” Shapiro said. “As a Montgomery County commissioner I will work hard to continue the county’s open space program and continue to develop the planned trail program throughout the county.”
Dave Davies of WHYY writes:
While political trends in much of the country are tilting toward Republican candidates, Democrats in suburban Montgomery County are poised for what they hope is a historic victory on Nov. 8—control of the three-member commission which manages county government.
Montgomery County is the third most populous in Pennsylvania; for decades, it’s been a rich source of Republican votes and fundraising.
“It would be a big win for Democrats if they could capture the commission.” said Republican strategist Jeff Jubelirer.
Montgomery County isn’t the Republican bastion it used to be. Many liberals and moderates have moved in, and Democratic registration now exceeds Republican by 36,000 votes.
While Democrats are running a rising star of the party, state Rep. Josh Shapiro, Republicans have struggled to overcome internal divisions. Read the rest of this entry »