READING, PA – The next installment of Berks County Community Foundation’s “Consider It” community discussion series has added two panelists to an event in Reading on April 3.
The new panelists are Robert Orzechowski, an expert on human resources, and Karmella Sams, business agent with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 668.
State Sen. Judy Schwank and Berks County Commissioners Chairman Christian Leinbach are co-chairs of the nonpartisan program, which is designed to promote thoughtful discussion of divisive local and national issues while maintaining a level of civility among participants.
Right-to-Work laws were chosen as the focus of the next discussion to coincide with the U.S. Supreme Court taking up a landmark organized labor case (Janus vs. AFSCME) that could have far-reaching implications for public sector workers.
The next event will take place Tuesday, April 3, at 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pa.
Tickets are available at https://berksrighttowork.eventbrite.com
Each $10 ticket includes a plated dinner.
One of the new panelists, Orzechowski, has more than 40 years of experience in high-tech contracting and health care. For the past 27 years, he has worked in all aspects of medical practice management and in consulting for various private groups, primarily as Chief Operating Officer for private hematology and medical oncology practices. Currently, he is COO for Lancaster Cancer Center, Ltd.
Orzechowski has authored numerous articles and presented to audiences nationally and internationally on business, human resources and management topics. He is the founder and past president of both state and national hematology-oncology management organizations. He has been a member of the Berks County chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management for more than 30 years, held all officer positions multiple times, including serving as president twice, and instructs in the chapter’s professional certification study groups.
Karmella Sams grew up in a house with parents who were in unions – her father as a Philadelphia Police Detective and her mother for the City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services. Sams worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services for nine years as an Income Maintenance Caseworker. She previously worked for Corrections, the Philadelphia Shelter System, helping those with drug and alcohol dependency. Prior to that, she was employed by the IRS and the U.S. Navy. Over the years, Sams has held numerous leadership positions in unions. In 2016, she was hired by the SEIU.
Panelists previously announced:
Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director, Keystone Research Center, a Pennsylvania-based, independent, nonpartisan economic research and policy organization, which also houses the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. Dr. Herzenberg holds a Ph.D. in economics from MIT. His research has focused on the U.S. and global auto industry, the rise of the service-dominated new economy, the challenges unions face adapting to the new economy, workforce development, and economic development.Stanley T. Greer, Senior Research Associate, National Institute for Labor Relations Research. Greer holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Karin Mallett, a WFMZ TV anchor and reporter, will return as the moderator for the fifth installment in the series.
Four previous “Consider It” events tackled marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania, immigration reform, school choice, and the greater Reading area’s economy and revitalization. The sold-out events were perceived favorably by attendees, with 83 to 93 percent stating that differing sides of the issue were represented adequately and 86 to 92 percent stating they had gained insight into the issue.
“Consider It” is based on the American Public Square in Kansas City. To adapt the initiative for use in Berks County, the Community Foundation worked closely with Allan Katz, founder of American Public Square and former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal.
For the discussion format, “Consider It” uses concepts pioneered by American Public Square. For instance, Schwank and Leinbach ring a “civility bell” if the discussion becomes negative or overly partisan. In addition, applause is forbidden. If the audience begins clapping, the co-chairs ring the bell so that all viewpoints can be heard without seeming to favor one over another. Questions will be collected from the audience and passed on to the panel.
“Consider It” is supported by a committee of community residents who have differing political views and backgrounds. Committee members are Steve Elmarzouky, Bill Gage, Mary Kargbo, Joan London, Karen Miller, Art Grim, Kevin Murphy, Michael Rivera, and Marilu Rodriguez-Bauer.