Tracking down companies that go out of business to make sure employees receive the benefits from their retirement and pension plans is one of the biggest challenges for Francis Le, Senior Benefits Advisor with the United States Department of Labor.
Le, whose agency assists employees with pension and health benefit claims, was the featured speaker today, Thursday, June 4, 2015, at the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Government Affairs Forum sponsored by Keystone 365 Sponsor Singpoli in the Chamber’s conference room sponsored by Foothill Credit Union, was filled with a lot of important information regarding employee benefits, pensions and the Affordable Care Act.
Co-Chair Jack Orswell from Orswell & Kasman, Inc. Environmental Assessments & Consulting, was moderator of the Forum that also included reports from the offices of Congresswoman Judy Chu, Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, Assemblymember Ed Chau, the AQMD and Supervisor Michael Antonovich, City of Arcadia officials, among others. Co-Chair Peter Ulrich was unable to attend the forum.
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Francis reports that within the Department of Labor she works for the Employee Benefits Security Administration. They are guided by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and have 15 field offices across the United States including two in California – Los Angeles and San Francisco. They have an enforcement unit with investigators that conduct among other things financial audits. They also have an outreach unit that handles education and is partially made up of Benefits Advisors.
In terms of of disputes regarding health insurance plans she and her team look at evidence of coverage. They can assist participants and insure that there is compliance with the plan. They also deal with situations in which a company goes out of business and there is a pension plan that might be terminated affecting employees. Francis works out an office located in Pasadena.
United State Congresswoman Judy Chu
- Viola Van from Congresswoman Judy Chu’s office gave the audience a recap of the Congresswoman’s 6th Annual Artistic Discovery Congressional Art Competition. Peggy Luk from Arcadia High School won First Place for her artwork titled “A Question of Self Worth”. Peggy and a guest will be flown to Washington, D.C. where her art will be on display in the Capitol. She will also receive a $1000 scholarship.
Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez
- Clayton Arick from Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez’s office indicates that this is the last week for legislation. Most bills must be out of the Assembly this week. Clayton indicates that on July 31 the Senator will be hosting his quarterly health industry stakeholder meeting. If you are interested in participating please contact the Senator’s office.
Assemblymember Ed Chau
Adam Hsu representing Assemblymember Ed Chau indicates that the Assemblymember has introduced the following bills:
- AB 161 – bill to standardize people using title of athletic trainer – some who use this title have no education or background.
- AB 195 – prevents unauthorized access to computer systems – makes it a crime to hire someone to do malicious hacking for you.
- AB 758 – a bill regarding accrediting institutions that teach acupuncture.
- AB 826 – Encourages EB-5 immigrant investors to invest in CA.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich
- Brian Mejia with Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office reports that the Supervisor’s Veterans event was a huge success on Memorial Day weekend. This past Sunday the Supervisor hosted a trail ride at Tejon Ranch with over 200 horse riders participating in the ride! Currently, Brian reports that the County is undergoing a needs assessment to get good input from the community about recreation facilities and trails. Go to www.lacountyparkneeds.org for more information. Also, Brian states that the Board of Supervisors passed a yard sales ordinance in which every last weekend of the month folks living in the unincorporated areas of L.A. County can hold a yard sale. If someone wants to hold a yard sale on any other weekend they will need a permit. This is to prevent individuals from conducting businesses out of their homes turning residences into commercial operations.
Mayor Gary Kovacic – City of Arcadia
- The Mayor reports that the City Council passed another balanced budget. The budget includes funding for two dedicated police officers who will be assigned to Westfield Santa Anita mall. He also noted other Council decisions included a decision to revisit in open session on June 16 a decision made in closed session to halt many initiatives involving an updating of citywide zoning codes and a historical survey in the Highlands due to a lawsuit filed by residents in the Highlands regarding the Council’s split vote approval of the building of two large homes. The Council decided to reconsider the matter in public out of an abundance of caution.
- The Mayor also let everyone know that the Council approved a July 3rd Patriotic event to take place at the Arcadia Transit Center adjacent to the new Gold Line station. This will be a concert featuring patriotic music and food booths. The Council also approved — on a trial basis — a weekly street fair on Friday nights coordinated by the Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association. The festival operation is moving from its current home in Monrovia to First Avenue and will feature a combination of crafts, food entertainment and a farmers market. Former City Councilman Peter Amundson, in attendance at the forum, spearheaded the group wanting a July 3rd event and weekly street fair. Peter and his group have been working for five years to do this and it is a great opportunity to bring the best to Arcadia and see something happen in the downtown area. The street festival will take place every Friday night from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
- The Mayor also indicates that the city is letting the medians go brown in compliance with the Governor’s mandate due to the drought. Jason Kruckeberg, Assistant City Manager and also an attendee at the forum states that there has been a 15% drop in water use in Arcadia. The Mayor and Jason indicate that although the medians will go brown the trees will still be watered. Jason indicates that the sales tax numbers were good for Christmas – 5% above the prior year — full Arcadia sales tax report here. These numbers typically are not reported for five months until after they occur so hence the reason we are just now hearing about Christmas.
Monrovia, Arcadia, Duarte Town Council
- Linda Sells representing the Monrovia, Arcadia, Duarte Town Council reports that they will be having Benjamin Lewis from Golden State Water speak at their next meeting on June 17. At recent community gathering 200 area residents showed up to learn about water rationing and steps they can take to save water.
Air Quality Management District (AQMD)
- Rainbow Yeung from the Air Quality Management District reports they will be hosting a two day Control Strategy Symposium on June 10-11, 2015 at the Southern California Air Quality Management District Auditorium located at 28165 Copley Drive in Diamond Bar. Panels of experts will discuss specific technologies and control concepts. The symposium is free of charge and open to all interested attendees. RSVP is not required. Visit www.aqmd.gov for more info.
Arcadia Police Department
- Police Community Services Officer Mike Vercillo discussed the Hide It! Lock It! Keep It! program to prevent vehicle burglaries and thefts. He also asks everyone to Save the Date – Sunday September 27 for a Safety Expo at the Arcadia Community Center from 1 p.m. till 5 p.m. It should be a big event with possibly 1,000 in attendance.
Special Olympics World Games Host Town Arcadia
- Jack Orswell reminded attendees that Arcadia is host city for 100 athletes for three nights prior to their two-week competition against thousands of other athletes in the upcoming Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. The next Arcadia Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast on June 18 will feature a presentation about the city’s plans for these days in July. The breakfast will take place at Dave and Buster’s located at Westfield Santa Anita from 7:30 a.m. till 9 a.m. Jack also indicates that there will be a lot of activities for the participants staying in Arcadia, including functions at Matt Denny’s and other venues.
Arcadia Chamber of Commerce
- CEO Scott Hettrick reports that there are a lot of upcoming events including a Ribbon Cutting on June 11 at Two Men and A Truck, the networking breakfast on June 18 at Dave and Buster’s, the Ribbon Cutting/Mixer on June 23 at the Elks Lodge and the Taste of Arcadia taking place on Monday, September 28 from 5:30 p.m. till 9 p.m. at the Arboretum. Click on the link to access the Chamber calendar: https://arcadiacachamber.org/calendar/
The public is invited at 8 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month to hear informative presentations at the monthly Government Affairs Forum sponsored by Singpoli and led by Chairman Jack Orswell from Orswell & Kasman, Inc. Environmental Assessments & Consulting, and co-chairman Pete Ulrich, former Arcadia City Councilman. RSVPs to the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce office are appreciated – (626) 447-2159 or info@ArcadiaCaChamber.org.