Vermont Business Magazine Governor-elect Phil Scott today announced he would reappoint Michael Pieciak as commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation. The department will also retain the deputy commissioners for each of its four divisions, which include Cynthia Stuart for Banking, Kaj Samsom for Insurance, William Carrigan for Securities, and David Provost for Captive Insurance. Michael Pieciak, Commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation. VBM photoCommissioner Pieciak was first appointed to this role in July 2016, serving as the chief regulator of the state’s financial services sector. Prior to that appointment, he served as the deputy commissioner of the department’s Securities Division, where he led the investigation into the Jay Peak EB-5 projects. In 2014, the department modernized the state’s securities laws to allow Vermont businesses to raise capital through equity crowdfunding, making Vermont a leader in the local investing movement. “Michael has demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting Vermonters’ financial security – especially throughout the EB-5 investigation – while also thinking outside the box to help foster entrepreneurship by modernizing systems to help Vermont meet the demands of a new marketplace,” said Governor-elect Scott. “I’m looking for leaders in every agency and department to step up and think differently about how we can better serve Vermonters and grow our economy. Michael and his deputy commissioners have each shown that it is possible to be innovative and modernize, while also safeguarding the security of Vermonters and Vermont businesses.”Commissioner Pieciak is an observer member of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies, treasurer and board member of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). He previously practiced law in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s New York office, and at Burlington’s Downs Rachlin Martin.About Cynthia Stuart, BankingDeputy Commissioner Stuart was appointed in January 2015 and has worked in banking for nearly two decades. She oversees the division that regulates and examines financial services entities, including banks, credit unions, lenders, mortgage brokers, sales finance companies, debt adjusters and money servicers. About Kaj Samsom, InsuranceDeputy Commissioner Samsom was appointed in 2014, and has served in the department since 2006. The Insurance Division is tasked with maintaining affordability and availability of insurance for Vermonters, ensuring reasonable competition among insurers and protecting consumers against unfair and unlawful business practices.About William Carrigan, SecuritiesDeputy Commissioner Carrigan was appointed in July 2016 and has worked in the department since 2007. Carrigan is a Certified Fraud Examiner and was a member of the team that investigated the Jay Peak EB-5 matter. He oversees the division’s efforts to protect the Vermont investing public from fraud, and promote development of Vermont’s capital markets.About David Provost, Captive InsuranceDeputy Commissioner Provost was appointed in June 2008 and has been with the division since 2001. He leads the division in its mission to maintain and enforce a regulatory system that attracts quality captive insurance business to Vermont and advances the growth of this sector. Source: Governor-elect Scott 12.20.2016
The move of a polling location in Roeland Park to St. Agnes Catholic Church has prompted push back from some residents.Some Roeland Park residents are raising concerns after learning that the Johnson County Election Office had shifted a longstanding polling location ahead of November’s election.Residents of precinct 2-02 in Roeland Park had been voting at the Bishop Miege North Campus, which is home to Horizons Academy, for more than 10 years, and voted there during this summer’s primaries. But as certificates of voter registration cards began hitting mailboxes in recent days, residents noticed that the polling site location had been shifted to St. Agnes Catholic Church.The distance between the two sites isn’t particularly significant — they’re only about half a mile apart — but a couple of factors about the move had some residents balking at the change. For one, both of the candidates running for the Ward 2 seat on the Roeland Park city council, Benjamin Dickens and Leonard Tocco, had already distributed literature encouraging people to show up at the Horizons site to vote on Nov. 5. The election office didn’t give the candidates notice that it was planning to make the change before they started their campaigning.A handful of residents have also expressed concerns about St. Agnes as a polling place because one of the Ward 2 candidates has ties to the church. Tocco is a parishioner at St. Agnes, and his wife is a teacher at the school there.Tocco’s campaign issued the following statement on the matter, saying the decision was entirely that of the election office:“The decision to locate an additional precinct to St. Agnes was made by the Election Office—entirely independent of my campaign. While I fully understand the community’s concern regarding the optics of this move, I’m disappointed by the implication that there could be some kind of malfeasance where there is none. I will support any future precinct changes if the Election Office deems it necessary. Right now, I’m focused on continuing to run a positive campaign, connecting with voters and finding new ways to improve the lives of my friends, family, and neighbors here in Roeland Park.”Johnson County Election Office officials said the committee of staff members tasked with setting polling locations across the county met on August 21 to finalize sites for the general election cycle. According to county spokeswoman Lori Sand, the election office had received complaints about heating and cooling issues at the Horizons Academy site as well as a lack of sufficient electrical outlets to operate the voting equipment. Those concerns led the committee to determine St. Agnes would be a better site for voters.“We routinely receive feedback from voters and election workers on the conditions of polling places after elections,” Sand said. “For Bishop Miege North Campus we received comments about the heating and cooling as well as the lack of enough electrical outlets to meet our needs. Again, we appreciate the donation of space, however, we were able to provide another polling place for this Ward that better met the needs of our office and the voters.”Sand noted that it’s not uncommon for polling locations to change. Five additional precincts had their polling sites shift ahead of the fall cycle, she said.Still, some in the city have been lobbying for the office to consider an alternate location for the precinct in question, noting that St. Agnes doesn’t even sit in Ward 2. Jen Hill, a member of the Roeland Park city council, has been in contact with the election office about the issue and suggested alternates to St. Agnes as a site to election officials. (She notes that she made those contacts as a citizen, not a representative of the city). She said election officials told her there was nothing that could be done at this point because the registration cards have already been mailed.For his part, Dickens said that while he wasn’t thrilled with the idea of the election being held on the “home turf” of his opponent, his primary concern by far was the thought of pressed-for-time voters showing up at the wrong site on election day.“A lot of working class folks in Roeland Park, they may only have a ten or fifteen minute window at the start or the end of their day to try to get in and cast their ballots,” he said. “If they show up at Horizons and are told they need to go to a different location, that might be enough that they don’t end up voting that day.”Of the decision to change sites, Tocco said he was “comfortable trusting the Election Office to do what’s in the best interest of voters, and I will support any future precinct changes if the Election Office deems it necessary.”Sand said the county will be sending out information about advance voting options to all voters in the coming weeks as well, and that those postcards will have another notice of voters’ polling sites.“They will receive a neon green postcard next week informing them of the advance voting locations and hours, with another reminder of their new voting location,” Sand said.
Evolutionary science stresses the contributions biology makes to our behavior. Some anthropologists try to understand how societies and histories construct our identities, and others ask about how genes and the environment do the same thing. Which is the better approach? Both are needed, argues Agustin Fuentes, University of Notre Dame biological anthropologist.“Seeing bodies and evolutionary histories as things that can be measured separate from the human cultural experience is a poor approach and bad science,” Fuentes said. “Seeing cultural perceptions and the human experience as unconnected to biology and evolutionary history is equally misguided. Data from a vast array of sources tell us that we need an integrative approach to best understand what it means to become and be human.”In a forthcoming paper in the journal Current Anthropology, Fuentes builds on the extended evolutionary synthesis of biologist Kevin Laland of the University of St. Andrews and colleagues. “The extended evolutionary synthesis is basically an update of what we know about how evolution works,” Fuentes said. “Most people think ‘survival of the fittest’ is all that happens in evolution and that DNA and genes are all that really matters. Both counts are wrong. Evolution is an awesome mix of bodies, ecologies, behaviors, chemistry and history. We know more about how life works, and the range of systems that impact it, than ever before. Organisms are constructed in development, not simply ‘programmed’ to develop by genes. Things don’t ‘evolve’ to fit into environments. They co-construct and co-evolve with their environments.”Fuentes argues in the paper that anthropologists can, and should, combine evolutionary science, cultural analysis and ethnographic research.“In the extended evolutionary synthesis, what we think, feel and do can be as relevant as our DNA, the shape of our bones and the density of muscles … Many of those things are connected,” he said. “This makes evolution approaches to why humans do what they do more exciting and more accessible to a wide range of researchers, but it also makes our jobs a lot harder.“We need more collaboration across areas in anthropology, more interaction with those outside anthropology and the development of more complex, but much better, answers about being human.” Email Pinterest Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share LinkedIn
Magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has put nearly 200 personal assistant roles into review with many being offered voluntary redundancy.Under the terms of the review, all PAs have been offered the chance to apply for an executive assistant role – a position that would involve fewer administrative tasks and working with fewer partners.A firm spokesperson told the Gazette 180 roles will be affected by the review.Current PAs who unsuccessfully apply for an EA role are able to choose between taking a voluntary redundancy package or staying in their current roles, the spokesperson said. Those who do not apply for the executive assistant role will choose between a voluntary redundancy pay-out or staying in their current role.The news follows speculation over Freshfields’ new London headquarters. In November last year, the Gazette reported that the firm was set to relocate its headquarters from Fleet Street to 100 Bishopsgate.The firm’s lease in Fleet Street reportedly expires in 2021 but new skyscraper accommodation is said to be being prepared for occupation next year.