Gov. Tom Wolf Friday announced Secretary Kathy Manderino is leaving the Department of Labor and Industry to join the PA Gaming Control Board, effective August 1. The Governor has named Robert O’Brien acting secretary.
“Throughout her career, from her service in the state legislature to working in the private sector or leading the Department of Labor and Industry, Kathy has always served with distinction for the people of Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said. “I thank Kathy for her tremendous contributions to the department and I have great confidence in Bob to continue leading the department forward.”
“Being chosen by Gov. Wolf to lead the Department of Labor and Industry is one of my greatest honors, and I look forward to a new chapter on the gaming board.” said Secretary Manderino. “I am especially proud to have worked side by side with the agency’s dedicated public servants. Our accomplishments are transforming L&I to better provide services to the residents of Pennsylvania.”
Under Secretary Manderino’s leadership, L&I:
-- Increased overall efficiency at the State Workers Insurance Fund through the use of continued process improvements and targeted investments in employee skill development to improve the premium to loss ratio by 22 percent;
-- Improved the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund expenses by bringing third party claims in-house and saving more than $500,000 annually;
-- Implemented a virtual phone system and internet claims filing for unemployment insurance to enhance customer service and instituted continuous process improvements to enable the unemployment compensation system to exceed federal performance benchmarks, which the state had not been achieving for many years;
-- Increased enforcement of safety provisions to protect Pennsylvania’s patients and workers through Acts 72 and 102;
-- Added 1,714 new apprentices and 66 new registered apprenticeship occupations statewide through the newly-created Apprenticeship Training Office; and
-- Increased vocational rehabilitation services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment – in 2016, Pennsylvania had 13,187 individuals with a disability enter the workforce, the largest of any state in the nation.
Prior to her appointment in 2015, Secretary Manderino was campaign manager of The Campaign for Fair Education Funding, a broad-based statewide coalition that advocates for a fair and adequate funding formula for public education in Pennsylvania.
She also served as senior vice president of Intercommunity Action Inc., and for 18 years was a Pennsylvania state representative for the 194th district in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. Prior to being elected to public office, Secretary Manderino was a private practice attorney in Philadelphia.
“It has been my honor to have worked with Secretary Manderino the past two years,” said O’Brien. “Her dedication to the department and the people of Pennsylvania has been truly inspiring. I want to thank Gov. Wolf for the opportunity to serve as Acting Secretary.”
O’Brien currently serves as L&I’s executive deputy secretary, assisting Secretary Manderino with the day-to-day operations of the department.
After graduating from Pierce College in 1974, O’Brien began a 28-year career in the construction industry as a sheet metal journeyman, foreman and general foreman. He also held elected office in Sheet Metal Workers Union Local # 19 and served as director of political education from 1998 until March 2003.
O’Brien joined L&I in 2003 as Director of the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance and was executive deputy secretary from 2008 until leaving the department in 2011 to become the principal and managing director of the North Second Street Group.
O’Brien is also a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Committee.