Before officially taking office today, Governor-elect Ed Rendell tied up some loose ends with eleven more cabinet appointments over the long weekend. Bringing together both political and first-hand experience, the nominees represent a wide cross-section of leaders -- including a former aid to President Bill Clinton, a Columbia County dairy farmer and a lawyer. These new announcements come on the heels of several others Rendell has made over the last month, including the appointment of Penn Vice President for Budget and Management Analysis Mike Masch as budget secretary. Among others, he also named Benjamin Ramos secretary of state, making him the first Latino to serve in a state office at the cabinet level. In addition to looking to people of varying backgrounds, Rendell has also appointed more women and minorities to high-level positions than men. Rendell appointed Katie McGinty, the former Clinton aid and chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, as secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection. Dennis Wolff, formerly a dairy farmer and a member of the World Trade Organization's Agricultural Technical Committee, was nominated as secretary of agriculture. Rendell said in a Sunday press release that he hopes Wolff will bring his personal experience to help oversee the large agricultural industry in the state. Four experienced leaders in the areas of banking, finance, economic development and labor were appointed to help control a $2 billion projected budget deficit and revitalize Pennsylvania's sluggish economy. Stephen Schmerin is an attorney who was chosen to head the Department of Labor and Industry. Formerly the arbitrator for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mediation, Schmerin has worked with many of the industries in the department that he will now lead. "The quality that most attracted me about Stephen is that he balances an intense commitment to justice for workers with a valuable understanding of the needs of employers to stay competitive," Rendell wrote. "After all, without the business -- there is no work force to protect." Rendell turned to another veteran in choosing William Schenck to head the Department of Banking. Schenck has more than 31 years of banking experience and is a former chairman and CEO of Fleet Mortgage. "Words cannot express how pleased I am to have found a person with Bill's depth of experience and success to serve as Secretary of Banking," Rendell wrote. "He knows that on each savings and checking account there is a name and behind it a family that depends on it being safe and strong." Dennis Yablonsky and Gregory Fajt, who were appointed secretary for the Department of Community and Economic Development and secretary for the Department of Revenue respectively, round out the economic team. Several appointees have ties to Philadelphia, including new secretary for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Michael DiBerardinis. DiBerardinis was the former Philadelphia recreation commissioner. Another recent cabinet appointee is current Bethlehem Mayor Don Cunningham as secretary of General Services. Cunningham is known for his revitalization efforts in Bethlehem.Comments powered by Disqus
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