By Donald WittkowskiWhat had been a quiet election campaign in Ocean City erupted into accusations Tuesday that Mayor Jay Gillian is using the construction of taxpayer-funded public bathrooms on the Boardwalk for the benefit of his private amusement park business.Gillian immediately denounced the allegations by his mayoral opponent, former City Councilman John Flood, as “toilet politics.”“I’ve heard of gutter politics, but never toilet politics,” Gillian said in a statement.The controversy began when Flood issued a press release Tuesday claiming that the mayor’s Boardwalk amusement park, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, will directly benefit from a large new public restroom facility under construction next door at Sixth Street.“It makes sense the mayor would want more restrooms at Sixth Street. Amusement park customers waiting in line for the restrooms aren’t buying and spending tickets on rides,” Flood said in the release.Gillian, however, said the city-funded restrooms will serve an area that is crowded with people from the Boardwalk, the beaches, the Ocean City High School complex and Carey Stadium.“The bathrooms at the end of Sixth Street are a small part of a $100 million capital plan, and they serve an area that is busy with traffic from the beach, Boardwalk, school complex, Carey Stadium, and many events throughout the year,” Gillian said in his statement.The restroom facility is expected to open in mid-April, according to construction workers at the site. It replaces an old public bathroom that was at the same location and has since been demolished.Improvements to the Boardwalk, including the new bathrooms at Sixth Street, are part of Ocean City’s $100 million, five-year capital plan. The capital plan is a sweeping blueprint for the city’s critical infrastructure needs.Mayoral candidate John Flood is accusing Mayor Jay Gillian of using the city-funded new restrooms on the Boardwalk to boost business at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.Flood said the new restroom project and related improvements will cost more than $1 million by the time they are completed. The low construction bid for the restroom was $690,537, far more than the city engineer’s estimate of $400,000, he said.An additional $426,000 for street improvements related to the restroom’s construction will boost the total price tag to more than $1 million, according to Flood.The bathroom facility will include 21 stalls for women, 10 stalls and six urinals for men and two family-style bathrooms. It will also have three showers to allow beachgoers to wash off sand.Flood said he supports the idea of having more bathrooms on the Boardwalk, but alleged that the new restroom project was done by the mayor “under the cloak of darkness” and violated the public trust.“The Sixth Street restroom project is an example of self-serving backroom deals that are deliberately hidden from the public and cost the taxpayers greatly,” Flood said.In his statement, Gillian called the restroom facility an example of the important public projects he has pursued during his eight years as mayor.“For eight years I have tackled long-neglected projects that benefit the entire community, and I will continue to do so,” Gillian said.Mayor Jay Gillian says the restroom project is needed in a busy part of town.The bathroom project is expected to be a focal point of a public debate between Gillian and Flood scheduled for April 27 at 7 p.m. at the Ocean City Public Library. The debate, the only one scheduled so far before the May 8 municipal election, will be hosted by the community watchdog group Fairness In Taxes and moderated by the League of Women Voters.Until Flood leveled his accusations at Gillian on Tuesday, the mayoral race had been a relatively low-key affair. The election for Ocean City’s top office features a clash between two experienced, high-profile politicians whose families are deeply rooted in the local business community.Gillian is seeking his third, four-year term. He easily won election in 2010 and 2014. He followed his father, former Ocean City Mayor Roy Gillian, into politics. His family’s Boardwalk amusement business, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, which was started by his grandfather, David, in 1929.Flood served on Council from 1988 to 1996 and briefly returned to the governing body in 2011, when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Councilwoman Susan Sheppard after she won a seat on the Cape May County Board of Freeholders. Sheppard now serves as a Superior Court judge.Flood is a lifelong Ocean City resident. His grandparents came to the resort about 100 years ago. His grandfather, Emil Palmer, founded the former local Chevrolet dealership in 1933. The dealership, which was later sold to other owners, was in business for decades before closing in January. The Ferris wheel at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier towers above the new public restroom facility under construction on the Boardwalk at Sixth Street.
A newly launched seaweed and black pepper oatcake is going down well in the Highlands – and beyond.The oatcake is the brainchild of Lewis MacLean, a former Scotch Pie world champion, who runs MacLean’s Highland Bakery in Forres, which supplies a range of oatcakes to Harvey Nichols, House of Bruar and Baxters.”We’re just a small biscuit producer,” said MacLean, “so we’re always looking for something different. Seaweed has been described as ’the Scottish superfood’, so I thought we’d give it a go.”The new oatcake is high in iodine and calcium, is low in calories and fat and also contains Omega 3 and soluble fibre. It was launched at the Scottish Food Fair in Glasgow and was well received, said MacLean.”The feedback from our own customers and those at the show was positive. They were very keen to taste it. I fully expect us to be making it in a year’s time. It’ll be a good seller.”
How do you grow in a recession? That was one of the interesting topics discussed at the recent British Confectioners’ Association meeting in Gloucester.Most of the 60 members are retail bakers as well as confectioners and the word ’grow’ is certainly a different angle to ’cope’ – a word we hear far more often at the moment. All the members run retail shops and some provide wholesale locally and even nationally.Russell Jenkins of Llanelli-based Jenkins Bakery, which has 24 shops, revealed that he is a strong advocate of using mystery shoppers to keep standards up in shops and increase takings. The structured programme involves three visits a year to the 24 shops. The visits take into account: window displays, clean counters, in-shop displays and uniforms. In addition, shop staff have to make eye contact, smile, offer additional products and point out any special offers.Since its inception, average scores have risen from 85% to 91% across the chain and customer spend has increased 18% from £2.14 to £2.52. A £25 bonus is given to staff if the shop scores 90% or over. Every shop manager receives a full report and action points. The forms are also used for formal appraisals and shop audits. Each visit costs £41 and is described as ’well worth it’. Bakers were also advised to offer a ’bread of the week’ and ’sandwich of the week’ – neither reduced.The next speaker at the meeting – Robert Ditty of Ditty’s Home Bakery in Northern Ireland – talked about the value of communicating really well with staff, and the importance of detailed attention to the product, which had helped him secure a national order with Waitrose. With regard to his retail business, he said: “Look at what you serve and how you serve it. Shoppers will pay more for quality food in a recession. But they look for total cost, not cost per item.”The third speaker, Robin Jones of The Village Bakery (Coedpoeth), who runs a retail and wholesale business, suggested: “Consolidate. You cannot grow if your foundations are not good. Are you trying to grow bottom line or turnover? The bottom line must come first and turnover will follow.”Also, try to reduce credit terms from 28 days to seven. Customers who really value you will do their best to help.”Other ideas included improving provenance by sourcing locally – an initiative that had helped him pick up an order from Marks & Spencer. “Make environmental awareness a ’plus’ point of your business. And hire a local PR agency to keep your name out there,” he said. But he also advised: “Resist pressure on margins,” giving an example of how he recently walked away from a £2m contract.Members also heard from Commercial Utility Brokers (CUB) of March, near Peterborough. They gave examples of how they had saved bakers significant costs on their utility bills – including energy, water, drainage and mobile communications. CUB is happy to quote and Louis Fairfax can be contacted on 01354 606845.Host for the meeting in Gloucester was Neville Morse, MD of Janes Pantry, with 10 shops around Gloucester. Two of the well-stocked shops with cafés were visited. Three speakers from Janes outlined how the business had grown from a straightforward retail and small wholesale business to now also running nine Jiffy vans, making buffets (27 buffets on the day of the meeting, with 35 planned for the next day) and also running a chocolate shop.BCA members then spoke about how successful van operations had been for them. In five years, BCA members had gone from running nine vans to 78. Some ran them from their main bakery, others stocked them from the shops.The meeting concluded with an early morning visit to Janes Pantry’s bakery to see the manufacturing of goods and the loading of the Jiffy vans, with drivers keeping 10% of sales.
Weed made her Broadway debut in Lysistrata Jones and has starred off-Broadway in Bare, Heathers and—most recently—Found. Taylor has appeared on Broadway in Rock of Ages and The Addams Family and off-Broadway in Little Miss Sunshine. View Comments The classic John Kander and Fred Ebb musical, which features a book by Joe Masteroff, follows American writer Cliff, who, upon traveling Berlin in the 1930s, encounters Sally Bowles (Weed), an English nightclub performer at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, led by the a zealous Emcee (Taylor). The two are thrown into a tumultuous affair amidst the Nazi rise to power. The Broadway production, set to play its final performance on March 29, currently stars Alan Cumming and Sienna Miller. Broadway and off-Broadway favorites Barrett Wilbert Weed and Wesley Taylor will star in the Signature Theatre’s summer production of Cabaret. Performances will begin in Arlington, Virginia’s MAX Theatre on May 12 and run through June 28. Signature’s artistic director Matthew Gardiner will direct and choreograph. Additional cast members include Rick Foucheaux as Herr Schultz, Naomi Jacobson as Fraulein Schneider, Bobby Smith as Ernst, Maria Rizzo as Fraulein Kost and Gregory Wooddell as Cliff. The ensemble will feature Shayna Blass, Kurt Boehm, Mark Chandler, Jordan DeBona, Jamie Eacker, Colleen Hayes, Rachel Schur, Jessica Thorne and Joseph Tudor.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 23-year-old Northport man has admitted to his role in a carjacking with his uncle who drove into two Suffolk County police officers trying to stop them last year.Nicholas Franzone pleaded guilty to charges of robbery, criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle, petty larceny and unlicensed operation of a vehicle Tuesday at Suffolk County court.The plea came two weeks after his uncle, 35-year-old Chad Moriszan, also of Northport, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for pleading guilty to similar charges plus assault, assault on a police officer and leaving the scene.Authorities said Moriszan stole a Ford Explorer from Commack. When two police officers pulled him over in Huntington, he drove into the officers with the SUV as he fled the scene in September 2014.Morizsan and Franzone then carjacked another vehicle and stole credit cards from its 87-year-old owner in Commack. They were arrested at a Central Islip store hours later when they tried to buy a TV with the woman’s stolen cards, according to investigators.The two Suffolk officers who were struck, Nicholas Guerrero and Heriberto Lugo, were hospitalized for treatment of their injuries. Officer Guerrero suffered severe head injuries, underwent surgery and required physical therapy during his recovery.Judge Fernando Camacho is expected to sentence Franzone to 3 ½ years in prison on Sept. 9.
July 30, 2019 Governor Wolf: Amazon Expansion to Bring 800 Jobs to Allegheny County Infrastructure, Jobs That Pay, Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Amazon will expand its presence in Pennsylvania and create more than 800 full-time jobs in Allegheny County.“It’s a great win any time a business comes in and pledges to create 800 new jobs,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “This is a significant investment for Pennsylvania and I applaud Amazon for selecting our commonwealth as the location for this facility.”Amazon will open a non-sortable fulfillment center in Findlay Township. The company will move into a new 1,000,000-square-foot distribution facility which will be constructed by the Hillwood Group and Chapman Properties. Amazon has committed to investing more than $30 million into the project, which is expected to create 800 new, full-time jobs offering a starting wage of $15 per hour.“Pennsylvania is a great state for business and Amazon is excited to continue its growth and investment with our newest fulfillment center in Allegheny County,” said Alicia Boler Davis, vice president of global customer fulfillment, Amazon. “For nearly a decade, the Keystone state has been key to Amazon’s ability to serve our incredible customers and provide great selection and super-fast shipping speeds across the Northeast and Midwest regions of the U.S. We are excited to create more than 800 new full-time jobs, in addition to the 10,000 current employees across the state, who receive industry-leading pay of $15 and up and comprehensive benefits starting on day one.”Amazon received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for $1.6 million in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed after the creation of new jobs. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania, with additional coordination through the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and Allegheny County.“We appreciate the ongoing partnership with Amazon that was begun years ago. Their continued expansion in this region is more evidence that the ecodistrict of logistics, warehousing, and manufacturing in the airport corridor is starting to gain momentum,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Amazon’s decision also reflects their continued confidence in this county’s, this region’s, and this state’s economy. The county, Port Authority, and Airport Authority are proud to continue working with so many partners to show that this region is a good place to do business. This is great news for our region.”“Today’s announcement underscores that Amazon has never taken its eyes off Pittsburgh. A new, from-the-ground-up fulfillment center will increase the count of several local Amazon facilities that are providing thousands of well-paying jobs in the region,” said Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) President Mark A. Thomas. “The PRA was happy to bring together a number of partners to showcase the Pittsburgh assets that support the company’s expansion plans. These include proven strength in distribution and logistics, pad-ready parcels with nearby interstate and highway access and a workforce pipeline that meets the hiring demands of enterprises, like Amazon, on the leading edge of innovation.”Amazon currently employs nearly 10,000 full-time employees across Pennsylvania. Its main investments in the state include 14 fulfillment and sortation centers, and one tech hub. Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than $8.5 billion in the state, including customer fulfillment and cloud infrastructure, research facilities and compensation to its employees.For more information about the Governor’s Action Team or DCED, visit dced.pa.gov. SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Willis Towers Watson has strongly criticised the value of many Diversified Growth Funds (DGFs), a staple investment for many UK pension schemes and now “a huge market”, saying many managers displayed “low skill” and “destroyed alpha”.The comments were made in a report urging investors to consider alternatives to DGFs.Sara Rejal, senior investment consultant at Willis Towers Watson, said DGFs had grown from “an improved one-stop-shop solution over traditional balanced portfolios to what is now a huge market.”Asset managers in this market “are just capitalising on the popularity of this strategy by growing assets under management and launching more similar products”, she added. The consultancy set out to analyse whether DGFs delivered on what they promised, and made some strong conclusions.It said many DGFs provided benefits and that investors had experienced “a good ride” with the funds since 2008, but it also made some strong criticisms.“Not only have the managers of most (not all) funds exhibited low skill in tactical asset allocation, many have also destroyed value in their attempts to deliver alpha through idiosyncratic trading,” said WTW.“In a world of more moderate returns, which we expect for the medium term, we fear many DGF managers will be shown to have limited skill.”Other “limitations”, according to the consultancy, include that many DGFs have “high fees and significant expenses, making them poor value and even less likely to give investors good returns”.WTW recommended investors consider alternatives to the traditional DGF model, such as a focus on strategic asset allocation with index-tracking implementation, “high-quality alternative smart betas” or “genuinely differentiated and diverse manager skill across the spectrum of alternative asset classes”.It said these options were particularly suited for investors with investment or implementation constraints, as is the case for UK defined contribution schemes.DGFs evolved from traditional so-called balanced equity/bond funds and met with strong demand, particularly in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, according to WTW.Assets under management in multi-asset funds grew sixfold in the 10 years up to 2015, according to figures cited from a Henderson 2015 global investors report.“In the UK, at least,” the WTW report says, “we have observed a growing demand coming predominantly from DC pension schemes, which are relatively more constrained in terms of the level of illiquidity and charges they can accept.”In September, a report from research firm Spence Johnson predicted the DGF market would grow by 75% by 2019, as UK defined contribution schemes grew and allocated more to the products. See IPE magazine’s December issue for a special report on DGFs
They encouraged “a sincere search for authenticity in ESG integration”. Source: Danske BankDanske Bank’s group headquarters in CopenhagenMany approaches to ESG integration were potentially not very helpful to asset managers or asset owners, the paper said.A nascent culture of naming and shaming asset managers was counterproductive, the authors argued, leading to “meaningless” disclosure, such as about the number of engagements a manager had carried out.“It is forcing them to give too much consideration to themselves and how they will be scored,” the asset managers said. “Fund managers’ priority should always be to meet the needs of clients.” Asset managers, asset owners and academics have lost control of the responsible investment agenda, with the investment industry having been “hijacked” by an excess of questionnaires, initiatives, and frameworks, it has been suggested. Investment professionals from Danske Bank and Invesco Asset Management argued in a newly published paper that the widespread and varied use of the term ‘ESG integration’ was making it increasingly difficult to know what that term really meant.The only people who could deliver a genuine answer, they wrote, were the asset managers tasked with buying and selling securities. Incorporating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) matters into an investment process should always be about investing, they said.“When ‘ESG integration’ is disconnected from the investment process – when it is hijacked by screening, scoring, overlaying, filtering or any other form of framework or tool – something vital is lost in translation,” the authors said. Bonnie Saynay, global head of responsible investment, Invesco Asset Management“With these assessments conducted in isolation and without knowledge about investments, the situation also calls for asset managers to take charge of their agenda and to be clear in their definition of responsible and sustainable investment and their interpretation of ESG integration.”The investment industry had the power to effect enormous change through ESG integration, but it needed to be supported by meaningful information and data, and required engagement in the form of active ownership and investment stewardship.“It also means the establishment of standardised, core, non-financial ESG ratios that relate to long-term systematic risk,” the authors continued. “If asset managers, asset owners and academia could collaborate to develop such metrics, thereby firmly cementing the significance of sustainability alongside financial factors, it would go a long way towards them reclaiming control of the responsible investing agenda.”The paper was written by Ulrika Hasselgren, head of sustainability and impact at Danske Bank, Bonnie Saynay, global head of responsible investment at Invesco, and Henning Stein, global head of thought leadership at Invesco and fellow at University of Cambridge Judge Business School.The paper can be found here.
MEAG – Andree Moschner will take over as CEO of Munich Re’s and ERGO’s asset manager from the beginning of November, replacing Philipp Waldstein Wartenberg , who the €254bn investment firm said was leaving to pursue other opportunities. He will stay until the end of the year to assist with the handover of responsibilities. Nicholas Gartside, CIO of Munich Re and board member responsible for MEAG, said Moschner was well placed to guide the asset manager through financial markets that “have rarely been as unpredictable and volatile as they are today”.He added: “On behalf of Munich Re Group, I would like to thank Philipp Waldstein Wartenberg for his leadership and strong contributions to developing the portfolio management capabilities, in particular the illiquid asset and credit competences of MEAG, over the past seven years.”Moschner joined MEAG’s management in 2016 from Allianz Deutschland, where he was a member of the boad of management with responsibility for the banking, sales and IT divisions.Trium Capital – The London-based alternatives manager has hired Patrick Mang for the newly created role of chief operating officer. Mang joins from HSBC , where he was most recently head of innovation for global markets. His appointment comes after Trium bought quantitative investment group Sabre Fund Management in September , incorporating two of its hedge funds into the multi-boutique structure. Ashburton Investments – Sizwe Nxedlana is the new CEO of the asset management arm of FirstRand Group. He replaces Boshoff Grobler , who last month moved to a new role in FirstRand Group Treasury.Nxedlana has been with FirstRand Group for more than 10 years, previously as First National Bank’s chief economist and most recently as CEO of FNB’s wealth and investment activities, a position he will keep. Helaba Invest – The €132bn German asset manager has promoted Olaf Tecklenburg to the position of chief representative in connection with upcoming changes on the management board. Tecklenburg is due to succeed Hans-Ulrich Templin, who is due to take over as CEO from Uwe Trautmann when the latter retires at the end of August next year. Tecklenburg joined Helaba Invest in 2001 and has been head of liquid securities portfolio management since 2018. Amundi – Monica Defend has been promoted to global head of research, taking over from Philippe Ithurbide , who has become senior economic adviser to the asset manager’s general management. Defend was previously deputy head of group research and member of the global investment committee of Amundi since 2017. Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) – Candida de Silva , BlackRock ’s former head of UK charities and endowments, has joined MSIM as a senior portfolio specialist. Before joining BlackRock she was executive director at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. MSIM has also hired Helena Miles as a generalist research analyst from Capital Group . Man GLG – The discretionary investment management arm of listed asset manager Man Group has hired Paul Chambers as head of quantitative investment and research, a newly-created role. Man GLG has increased its use of alternative data and advanced analytics over recent years. Chambers joins Man GLG from Balyasny , where he was a quantitative equity portfolio manager over the past 18 months. He worked at Man Group for nine years before that, most latterly as partner and head of equities at Man AHL, where he was responsible for systematic strategies trading equity index futures, cash equities and ETFs. Osmosis Investment Management – Fredrik Werneman has been hired as head of European distribution for the $1.5bn (€1.4bn) sustainable investment specialist. The company said he has held senior distribution roles at asset managers including the former Barclays Global Investors, Legal and General Investment Management, and Insight Investment. Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) – Helena Morrissey is leaving the UK’s largest asset manager, which she joined in 2017 to lead its personal investing business. LGIM said she was leaving after “having built strong foundations” for the growth of the business.Morrissey, who was previously chair of the UK’s asset management trade body, said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at LGIM, but I see a changing Britain and have a lot of ideas and other things that I want to achieve. I am looking forward to the next phase of my career at a time of great change and opportunity.”LGIM said its personal investing business efforts would be lead by Honor Solomon, head of retail for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, working closely with Emma Douglas, the €1.1trn asset manager’s head of defined contribution.A high-profile investment industry figure, Morrissey joined LGIM from Newton, where she had been chief executive for 15 years. She is the founder of the 30% Club, an initiative to campaign for more women on company boards, and chairs the Diversity Project, which was launched to encourage a more inclusive culture in the investment and saving industry.According to UK media reports, Morrissey was last month interviewed to succeed Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England. Aargauische Pensionskasse, arithmetica, MEAG, Trium Capital, Ashburton Investments, Helaba Invest, Amundi, MSIM, Man GLG, Osmosis Investment Management, Legal & General Investment Management Aargauische Pensionskasse (APK) – Susanne Jäger-Rey , the managing director of APK, the CHF10.6bn (€9.4bn) pension fund for the Swiss canton of Aargau, will step down at the end of August 2020 after 20 years of service. She said the advance notice was intended to facilitate a smooth transition. arithmetica – Christoph Krischanitz , head of the Austrian actuarial consultancy, has left the firm, saying that after 17 years it was time for a change. Alexander Pichler has taken over his role.