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These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
February 17, 1999. All rights reserved.
Lines on the geopolitical map of New Jersey were made
by men with political and economic agendas, says Alan Karcher,
and New Jersey is the worse for that. Karcher, former state assembly
speaker, speaks at Barnes & Noble at MarketFair on Thursday, February
18, at 7 p.m. He will sign copies of "New Jersey’s Municipal Madness,"
published last November by Rutgers University Press. For information,
"While those personal agendas may have been inconsequential and
innocuous at the time, today the costs of maintaining New Jersey’s
multiple and redundant jurisdictions mounts into the billions of dollars,"
Karcher is the third generation of his family to be a member of the
state legislature. After serving as speaker of the New Jersey Assembly
in the 1980s, he left to practice law in Sayreville. Then, after four
years as chairman of the Mercer County Democratic Party, the 55-year-old
Karcher resigned last month. He had reorganized the party after the
1991 tax revolt against Governor Jim Florio so that the party
took back two legislative seats and all seven freeholder positions.
"The common themes running through each town’s genesis generally
sustain a simple proposition: every significant decision made on the
state level regarding taxes, schools, housing, transportation, preservation
of natural resources, and dozens of other issues starts with the given
that it must accommodate 566 local governments," writes Karcher.
"New Jersey solutions, when and if they are found, must come in
the single variety of one size fits all. The configurations of these
local units are the products of economic and social dynamics operating
primarily in the 19th century. Those reasons are not extant today,
yet they still dictate public policy. The municipal boundary lines
weave a web that fetters, tangles, and ultimately ensnares the governor
and legislature in their attempts to address critical contemporary
In his 238-page book, stuffed full of intriguing historical anecdotes,
he explores the motivations behind the history of "municipal multiplication"
and then turns his attention to how new lines — the location of
a railroad station, road appropriations, the regulation of alcohol
sales — are drawn. Then he focuses on the political processes
that, for instance, kept Camden, Newark, and Jersey City from broadening
their bases. Karcher offers his suggestions on how to modernize the
delivery of local services and urges that the lines redrawn.
Noting that the state adds amendments to its constitution at the average
rate of one per year, over the last 50 years, he inveighs against
the resistance to revising boundaries: "We change our constitution
as we change our clothes, but are satisfied that our municipal boundary
lines are immutable carved in stone. An electorate as ready to vote
on changes in the constitution should at least be open to the possibilities
that maybe some improvement and economy might be realized by taking
a stitch here and a tuck there on the threadbare sections of the municipal
quilt we’ve patched together."
Mention supply chain optimization and many people immediately
think of new technology and software upgrades. They would do even
better if they spent more time developing an appropriate business
process and a supportive culture within their company that facilitates
change. So argue Robert Wodarczyk, director of product supply,
and Dave Fantini, manager of supply chain systems, both at the
Planters Division of Nabisco.
These guys aren’t just talking peanuts here. The case study which
they will be presenting at a dinner meeting of the American Production
Inventory Control Society (APICS) offers a lucid, first-hand examination
of the software implementation, business process change, and cultural
factors that allowed the Planters Company to improve customer service
and increase sales while simultaneously reducing its inventory by
$10 million — all over a four-year period.
Wodarczyk and Fantini speak on Wednesday, February 17, at 6 p.m. at
the Freehold Gardens Conference Center. Cost: $25. For information,
call Tom Dickenson at 609-259-5648.
A Temple University graduate, Wodarczyk has more than 17 years of
experience in the consumer products and food industry, and has held
a variety of positions at Nabisco in both logistics and manufacturing
operations. He is a member of the Council of Logistics Management.
Fantini has his BA from Villanova University and is currently pursuing
his MBA at St. Thomas Aquinas College. He has more than 10 years experience
in the medical and food industries.
In presenting the Planters case study the pair will discuss the role
of new technology in improving the supply chain systems, but will
probably spend more time detailing some of the extensive changes implemented
in the business process and looking at some of the "tactics for
success" that were employed. They will also address issues and
dynamics Planter’s supply chain group grappled with as they revised
the groups’ defining work culture.
In the case study Wodarczyk and Fantini provide details on changes
in their business process including shifting from a centralized to
a decentralized planning process; compressing supply chain reaction
time; plant flexibility; developing supplier partnerships; same-day
shipping; and use of the Internet.
Wodarczyk emphasizes that although successful resolution of the cultural
factors is probably the most critical component in optimizing supply
chain, "The culture that you’re going to do business under is
probably the most important part of this process and the hardest to
implement. Culture is hard to put your arms around, but it’s your
whole defining mentality of how you’re going to do business."
As an example of culture, he cites the supply chain group’s mission
statement: `Guaranteed profitable product supply, no excuses.’ and
explains, "It’s six words. The first word and the last words talk
about no excuses and guarantees. Money is in there, profitability,
and what it’s about which is product supply. The culture is: I’m not
going to say that the reason I didn’t do my job was because so-and-so
screwed up or because so-and-so didn’t deliver what they were supposed
to. Instead the whole approach is that I’m going to be good at this
and I’m not going to make any excuses."
To further define the supply chain group’s culture, Wodarczyk offers
several operating principals of the group:
you’re a business person first, really, your whole goal is running
a profitable organization, not the functional path that you have to
follow day in, day out. So that if you are a marketing person, for
example, though you create a marketing plan, your overriding concern
is the profitability of the business."
too seriously. It’s important to keep your focus on the business and
to not allow yourself to take yourself too seriously.
culture this way. If I’m sitting around a room with, say, 10 other
people, and I think that I’m more important than they are, especially
if, for example, I have a higher title, really what I’m going to get
out of that situation is that I’m the only one who thinks that I’m
better than everybody else. If I go in and really have the attitude
that those 10 people are more important than I am, what I’m going
to get back — if those people feel the same way — is that
I have 10 people who think that I am more important than they are.
If you really are true to this principle, the magic that’s in it is
"You’ll be surprised at how this works when everyone really gets
that each person in the group, regardless of seniority, or job title,
is equally important to the group."
Wodarczyk adds one more component of success, that "people as
individuals, and as part of a group, need to be able to take calculated
risks. Managers and supervisors need to support the risk-taking, not
hit people over the head when they take calculated chances. We want
people to take risks, because you need to be able to take a risk to
— Tricia Fagan
In the world of interactive multimedia development,
some people say a beginning script isn’t necessary. Just start developing,
they say, and everything will sort itself out once the graphics are
created and the programming done and delivered. But the short-cut
approach doesn’t always pay off.
"Writing is really key to any successful project," says David
Japka, media manager at Midi Inc., the interactive multimedia firm
located at 100 Thanet Circle.
"The interactive multimedia development process may be computer-based
in the end, and it may be very high-tech, but it begins on paper,"
says David Roth, Midi Inc.’s director of Creative Services.
Japka, an alumnus of Temple, Class of ’79, and a producer/director
of industrial films and video for over 20 years, will moderate "A
Writers’ Roundtable: An interactive exchange of ideas and viewpoints
on writing for film, video and multimedia and writing in general,"
on Wednesday, February 24, at 6:30 p.m. at Good Time Charley’s in
Kingston. Roth is scheduled to participate in the roundtable, presented
by Moving Image Professionals (MIP), the Princeton chapter of the
International Television Association (ITVA). It is free to MIP/ITVA
members, and non-members are welcome. Cost: $10. Cash bar. For information
call Japka at 609-924-4817.
The roundtable will feature several well-known industry giants: Liz
Matt of WTXF-TV’s "Good Day Philadelphia;" Alfred Glossbrenner,
whose best-selling books about the online world, with their clear
explanations of technology, have led the New York Times to call him
"the Isaac Asimov of personal computing;" the independent
documentary producer and director Robert Goodman, one of 20
documentary producers selected to participate in the 1998 International
Film Financing Conference; Marguerite Long, who has written
and produced video for corporations such as Unisys and PrimeStar Partners;
and Roth of Midi Inc., which has been dealing with interactive multimedia
for its entire 15-year history. An alumnus of Stanford, Class of ’76,
he was selected by AV Video/Multimedia Producer Magazine as one of
the Top 100 producers of 1998.
Authors, multimedia developers, company executives, those responsible
to train company employees, or people interested in film, video, multimedia,
or writing in general need to understand the inherent differences
in writing for each of these media. One range of differences is shown
by two kinds of interactive training programs now available:
CBT (computer-based training) is fairly simple to develop, and it
often trains people only on information. "Quite often, computer-based
training is just text and graphics; it doesn’t include audio,"
says Roth. "It might have a few sound effects or something like
that." Much computer-based training involves simple text scenarios
followed by either true/false or multiple choice questions.
In contrast, at the high end of development, is scenario-based instruction.
"When you’re dealing with behavioral type scenarios," says
Roth, "you’re not only training people on information, but you’re
also training them behaviorally, how to go about properly behaving
in a given situation. You can actually show them a scenario and say,
‘What would you do in this situation?’ and then show them how actors
might perform in that situation. And they can learn from the actors’
mistakes and from the proper behavior of the actors as well."
Writing for different media requires different thinking processes.
While some writing requires linear thinking, a clear understanding
of how to get from point A to point B, non-linear thinking is essential
in the area of interactive multimedia development.
It can be a challenge to take one’s capabilities with
the written word and then apply these to a whole set of rules where
nothing is linear. "In non-linear thinking, you have to learn
to close your loops and not leave people dangling out in the world.
You have to learn to handle the structure of interactive multimedia,
the non-linear structure, as well as just the creative side of the
dialogue," says Roth. "What are these two people going to
say to each other? Or, when these two people are done talking to each
other, where does the program go? What are your navigational options?"
"Well, you as the writer are responsible for keeping all of that
straight, and you have to be able to flow chart out your program,"
says Roth. "You need to be able to understand how to get from
point A to point B and then the fact that somebody might not be going
from point A to point B at all, but they might be going from point
A to point D."
Special writing tasks often require special equipment, and at Midi
Inc., where non-linear thinking is used so frequently, there have
been several new "writing" tools acquired within the last
couple years: an audio suite with a booth (for recording and editing
audio), a video edit suite (for non-linear editing of video), and
a compression system (for compressing video into a variety of formats
— MPEG1, MPEG2, Quick-Time).
Two other writing tools are available to aid screenwriters, producers,
dramatists, multimedia authors, and writers in general: Movie Magic
Screenwriter and Dramatica. While Dramatica is a story generator/engine,
that is, it aids writers with overall story development, allowing
them to explore character relationships and graphically showing them
the effects on their stories and their stories’ structures when even
one dramatic element is changed, Movie Magic Screenwriter actually
provides both television and movie script formatting, in real time,
as you type.
They represent different software packages for different writing tasks
— or different aspects of a single writing task. At the upcoming
roundtable, attendees will be eligible to win one of each of these
writing tools, which are being donated by the single sponsor of the
event, the California-based Screenplay Systems.
— Catherine J. Barrier
If your business has drivers with commercial drivers’
licenses (CDL), the Federal Highway Administration requires them to
take alcohol and drug tests. The drivers must also attend two hours
of training on alcohol and drug misuse and indicators used in making
determinations for reasonable suspicion testing. Supervisors of safety-sensitive
drivers must attend at least two hours of a similar training course.
Employers are responsible for implementing and conducting the testing
program, says Scott Sechrist, executive director of the Trenton-based
Metro Employee Assistance Service, an agency that provides the federally
mandated supervisory DOT training. As an alternative to bringing in
an outsider like Sechrist, employers can do the training inhouse or
join a consortium that provides services to all member companies.
For more information on MEAS, call 609-396-5877.
The first-ever international student bioethics conference,
hosted by Princeton University, starts Friday, February 26, and brings
together an array of leading experts in this emerging field. The two-day
conference includes lectures, panel discussions, and policy forums
led by Princeton students and speakers. For information call 609-258-3371.
Opening remarks by Harold T. Shapiro, chairman of the National
Bioethics Advisory Commission and president of Princeton University,
will be followed by keynote lectures by Francis Collins, director
of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health.
Ian Wilmut, scientist at the Roslin Institute in Scotland and
cloner of the sheep, Dolly, speaks at 8 p.m Friday.
Discussions will focus on "Genetic Engineering and Cloning"
— the different aspects of genetic engineering such as the role
of the press in science reporting, genetic testing, fetal diagnosis,
and the role of the scientist in responsible application of technology.
Gina Kolata, Princeton-based author and science reporter for
the New York Times, will lead one of the precepts.
On Saturday, February 27, Roy Vagelos, chairman of the University
of Pennsylvania board of trustees and former chairman of Merck and
Co., and Steve Fodor, president and CEO of Affymetrix Inc.,
the company that developed the GeneChip system, will be the keynote
speakers. The topic for discussion on the second day, "Bioethics
and International Health," will focus on different aspects of
international health such as clinical trials, standards of care, role
of the FDA, and the responsibilities of physicians.
Other speakers include professors Leon Rosenberg, Lee Silver, Burton
Singer, and Shirley Tilghman from Princeton University; John
Arras and James Childress, from University of Virginia; Daniel
W. Brock, Brown University; Robert M. Donaldson Jr., Yale
Medical School; Norm Fost, University of Wisconsin-Madison;
Rebecca Holmes-Farley, Boston University; Allen Keller,
New York University; Daniel Kevles, California Institute of
Technology; Donald Light, University of Pennsylvania; Ruth
Macklin, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Greg Pence,
University of Alabama; Lainie Ross, University of Chicago; Mark
Sagoff, University of Maryland; and Bonnie Steinbock, State
University of New York.
Judy Chambers, Monsanto Corporation; Carl Feldbaum, Biotechnology
Industry Organization; Audiey C. Kao, American Medical Association;
and Lois Wingerson, author and editor of HMS Beagle, will also
present their views on the subject.
The New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners,
Mercer Chapter, presents two workshops, "Fix-It Smart for Cars"
on Wednesday, February 24, at 5:45 p.m. at Lawrence Lincoln-Mercury,
Route One North; and "Fix-It Smart for Plumbing/Electrical"
on Thursday, March 25, at 5:45 p.m. at the Home Depot in Nassau Park.
Have all your automotive questions answered and learn how cars run,
how to maintain them, how to diagnose trouble, how to check tires
for wear, and how to drive in ice and snow. The Plumbing/Electrical
workshop will teach you how to rewire a lamp, change a light switch,
unstop a drain, fix a running toilet, and fix a leaky faucet.
The cost for attending one workshop is $15; both workshops, $25. Call
Mary Davis at 609-716-8281 for more information.
The Department of Banking and Insurance’s annual Commissioner’s
Symposium, entitled "Financial Services in the New Millennium,"
will be held on Friday, February 19, at 7:30 a.m. at the Hyatt. A
welcome address by Jaynee LaVecchia, commissioner, and opening
remarks by John M. Traier, deputy commissioner will be followed
by a panel discussion on "The Future of Financial Services."
For information and reservations, call 609-292-5064.
Panelists include Peter C. Hagan, Merrill Lynch; Dominic
Mazzagetti, New Jersey Manufacturer’s Bank (now being formed);
Lawrence W. Cohn, of Ryan Beck; and T. Joseph Semrod,
of Summit Bank. Also participating will be regulators from the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Bank, the
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift
Supervision. A conference of State Bank Supervisors John "Buz"
Gorman and John Ryan on "The Role of the States in Financial
Modernization," will follow the panels.
Christie Sciacca, assistant director for policy for the Division
of Supervision of the FDIC, will be the keynote luncheon speaker.
More than 95 percent of American workers park free on
the job because their employers own or lease spaces. This hidden benefit
encourages solo driving and contributes to traffic congestion and
Keep Middlesex Moving (KMM), Middlesex County’s transportation management
association, has undertaken a study of how employers in Middlesex
County manage parking on behalf of the Route 1 Corridor Collaborative.
The study, to improve mobility in the Route 1 Corridor between New
Brunswick and Woodbridge, will help identify true costs of parking
and introduce a concept called Parking Cash Out.
A nationwide study conducted by Donald Shoup, the director of
the Institute of Transportation at UCLA, concluded that American firms
provide 84.4 million free parking spaces to employees. Companies with
fewer than 50 employees, like many firms in Middlesex County, rent
83 percent of their parking spaces.
Parking Cash Out allows employers to give employees eligible for free
parking the option of using the parking spaces or take the parking
subsidy in cash. Employers save money by providing fewer spaces and
employees can use the money for any purpose but must select another
means of getting to work.
Shoup’s study in California shows that the percentage of employees
who drove alone to work dropped from 76 to 63 percent, and carpooling
rose from 14 to 23 percent. Transit use increased three percent and
more people turned to walking and biking to work. For more information
about Parking Cash Out, contact KMM at 732-745-4490.
Most volunteer organizations run their business without
paying much attention to the official rules of parliamentary procedure.
Why get bogged down in the minutiae when everybody is getting along
well with each other and you are trying to get things done?
It’s when everybody isn’t getting along with each other that you need
to bring out the rule book, so the majority can squash the unruly
minority in a dignified manner. Millions of Americans learned how
this works during the impeachment hearings. But by then it is usually
too late for your organization to start insisting on the classic 700-page
book "Robert’s Rules of Order," the standard — and just
about only — text on the fine points of conducting a meeting.
Even attorneys respect Robert’s Rules.
It’s better to use parliamentary procedure from the get-go. Robert
McConnell of Muncie, Indiana, is the latest rules expert to rewrite
the famed Roberts’ book.
McConnell used to be a college professor of telecommunications but,
five years ago, got embroiled in faculty politics and had to leave.
Rather than find another faculty position somewhere else, he founded
a parliamentarian-based publishing house, to produce books and videos.
His $64.50 video has sold 9,000 copies to libraries, schools, churches,
and school boards. His book, published by Macmillan in the Webster’s
New World series, is "Robert’s Rules of Order: Simplified and
Applied" (1998, $8.95, 800-532-4017), and it has been widely accepted.His
website (http://www.parli.com) has a list of frequently asked
McConnell has struck a good balance between being clear and including
enough detail. "If it gets too simple then pretty soon it doesn’t
have enough information," says McConnell.
The recording secretary often makes the most egregious errors, he
says. "They don’t know exactly what to put in the minutes, which
are an important legal document. Sometimes they put too much in."
In the event of a lawsuit, the minutes and the bylaws must be turned
over to the court. They should contain a record of what is done, not
what is said.
Treasurer’s reports can never be accepted as read. "The treasurer’s
report has to be audited by somebody qualified before it is accepted;
it is presented and filed until it is audited," says McConnell.
Of course small meetings (groups of under 12) can be conducted less
formally. But if you are going to be the chairman of a large meeting,
you can prepare your "script" in advance, using one of McConnell’s
It may sound pompous to conduct a meeting in the third person ("the
chair rules the motion out of order") but this custom has a purpose.
"Sometimes people arrogate too much power to themselves,"
he says. "It is meant to keep emotions and personalities out of
it, if hot issues come up." To prevent personal attacks, one member
should ask the chair to review whether the other member is making
a mistake. That’s how the congresspeople sound polite when they are
angry. They use such phrases as "if the member would look at the
evidence perhaps the member would reach another conclusion."
FMC Corporation and Ching Yuan Volpp of Princeton have
established a $10,000 endowment for students at Rutgers’ School of
Communication, Information, and Library Studies. The award, in honor
of Volpp’s parents, Tung-Li and Hui-Hsi Yuan, will benefit
students who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the field
of library and information science in China. Volpp’s brother, Cheng
Yuan also contributed toward the award.
Tung-Li Yuan, largely responsible for establishing the National Library
of Beijing, moved to the U.S. in the 1940s and held positions at the
Stanford Research Institute and the Library of Congress.
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