Pennsvlvania Governor Rendell Announces Resignation of Labor And Industry Secretary

                               Harrisburg, PA  (CompNewsNetwork) - Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced the resignation of State Labor and Industry Secretary Stephen M. Schmerin, effective Jan. 31. Schmerin was appointed in January 2003.
 
"When I appointed Steve, I challenged him to help me build a better Pennsylvania," Governor Rendell said. "Over the past five years, he has met that challenge by helping to ensure that the state's workers, employers and insurers have the resources they need to operate and succeed in today's global economy. His experience and passion will be greatly missed."
 
As secretary, Schmerin oversaw the commonwealth's fifth-largest agency with more than 6,000 employees in 200 statewide offices serving workers and businesses. Through programs such as workers' compensation, job retraining, and vocational rehabilitation, along with its numerous enforcement and regulatory responsibilities, the department directly affects the daily lives of millions of workers and employers.
 
Under the Governor's direction, Schmerin's accomplishments include: increasing the enforcement of  labor law, resulting in more money for Pennsylvania's workers; reducing the number of labor disputes to 28 in 2006, the lowest amount on record; significantly reducing the time it takes to process workers' compensation and unemployment compensation claims; placing more people with disabilities into employment; increasing the enrollment and graduation rates at the Hiram G. Andrews Center in Johnstown; increasing the number of workers covered by state-certified workplace safety committees to more than one million; changing the unemployment and workers' compensation systems to allow claimants to receive benefits faster through a debit card program.
 
Prior to his appointment, Schmerin was a private-practice attorney for more than 20 years, representing working families and businesses.
 
Schmerin, who lives in McCandless Township, Allegheny County, said his plans include enjoying the reduced weekly commute; spending more time with his wife, Sandy, and children, Maggie and Ben, and returning to the practice of law.
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