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.