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Good morning. It may soon get easier to hire teenagers in Pennsylvania. On a vote yesterday of 198 to 1, the state House passed a bill that would ease requirements for issuing work permits for minors. The bill allows officials to rely on video-conferencing when issuing permits, a practice instituted on a temporary basis during the Covid-19 pandemic. The bill now heads to the Senate.
 
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Tom Baldrige is retiring after more than 20 years leading the Lancaster Chamber (photo/submitted).

Lancaster chamber chief to step down



Tom Baldrige, the long-serving chief of the Lancaster Chamber, is planning to retire in June 2022.
  • Baldrige, who has headed the chamber since January 2000, is the second regional chamber head to step down over the last year.
  • Dave Black retired earlier this year after nearly 20 years leading the Harrisburg Regional Chamber.
  • Baldrige will turn 62 next week, according to chamber spokesperson Tony Gorick.

The highlights: Baldrige led the Lancaster business community through a series of shocks, from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to the financial crisis of 2008 to the Covid-19 pandemic that began in March 2020.
  • The chamber, for example, helped to organize financial relief and other support for county businesses hurt by the pandemic.
  • Baldrige and the chamber also spoke out following the murder last year of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which triggered nationwide protests for racial justice.
  • "Only when our workforce -- and quite frankly, our community -- reflects a more inclusive and equitable place, can Lancaster County truly thrive," the chamber said in a statement at the time. "We pledge to do our part to advance these principles -- within our own organization and throughout the entire business community. And we pledge to be part of the dedicated, intentional process to create sustainable change in Lancaster County."

What's next: The Lancaster Chamber has hired Wayne-based executive search firm Waverly Partners XXCQXX to assist with the search for a new leader. 
  • The chamber's search committee is headed by Michelle Rondinelli, president of retail destination Kitchen Kettle and John Serosky, president of High Concrete
  • The rest of the committee includes Scott Fiore, president of TriStarr Staffing; Jennifer Craighead-Carey, a partner at law firm Barley Snyder; Bob Macina, an executive at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health; Craig Kauffman, president and CEO of Codorus Valley Bancorp; Mary Kohler, CEO of The H&H Group, a printing and fulfillment company; and Vanessa Philbert, CEO of the Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County.
  • The search is expected to begin officially in November, according to a press release from the chamber.
 


Quick takes



WHO'S SETTLING: Rite Aid. The company has agreed to settle two lawsuits in California for a combined total of $20 million, according to the company's most recent quarterly earnings report. A company spokesperson declined to comment. But in its regulatory filing and in court documents, the company denied the claims and challenged the merits of the lawsuits.
  • One of the two recent settlements involves an unspecified single-action plaintiff. The proposed settlement, which requires court approval, is for $8 million, according to the earnings report. 
  • The second settlement involves a group of California store employees who claim they were required to buy uniforms in violation of labor laws.
  • Rite Aid has about 550 stores in the state and more than 10,000 employees, according to the plaintiffs' complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
  • The proposed settlement, which also requires court approval, is for $12 million.
  • Randall Aiman-Smith, an attorney for the plaintiffs in that case, declined to comment.

The background: The agreements follow earlier settlements totaling $10.75 million in lawsuits filed by employees seeking payment for their time spent waiting for security checks.
  • Rite Aid is based in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County. But it is planning to move its headquarters to Philadelphia.
 


WHO'S MAKING PROMOTIONS: Keystone Agency Investors. The insurance distribution firm based in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County, has named Jeff Turner as its CEO. The company's former COO, he replaces David E. Boedker Sr. Boedker is moving into a new role for the firm, executive vice chair of its board.
  • Keystone Agency Investors is a joint venture created in July 2020 by affiliates of private equity firm Bain Capital and Keystone Insurers Group, a Northumberland County-based network for independent insurance agencies.
  • At the time, the partners said they planned to invest $500 million in Keystone Agency Investors over a period of years so it could grow, in part through buying other insurance agencies.
  • Boedker was the venture's inaugural CEO. He also is CEO of Keystone Insurers Group, a role he is keeping, according to a press release.
  • Turner, who worked previously for international brokerage firm Willis Towers Watson, joined as COO in September 2020.
  • Keystone Agency Investors currently has a headquarters staff of about 25 people, according to firm spokesperson Jennifer MacLaren. 

What's next: The company said it is conducting a national search for its next COO.

 


WHO'S TURNING HEADS: State Sen. Mike Regan, who represents parts of Cumberland and York Counties. The Republican lawmaker plans to introduce legislation that would legalize the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes, becoming one of a handful of Republicans to back the idea.
  • In a memo seeking co-sponsors for a bill, Regan said he wanted to build on the success of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program, make the drug's usage safer and refocus the attention of law enforcement.
  • "Police and prosecutors need to focus on protecting our residents from the violent criminals and large-scale drug importers that are also dealing in heroin and fentanyl, which kill thousands of Pennsylvanians each year," wrote Regan, a former U.S. marshal.
  • Legalization also could bring in up to $1 billion a year in state revenue, Regan added.
  • Gov. Tom Wolf and other Democrats have been pushing for legalization.

 
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Compiled and written by Joel Berg

 
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