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AMM are proud sponsors of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County Bowl for Kids Sake Fundraising events happening throughout the county.  This is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County’s premier fundraising event, where people get together with friends, family, and co-workers and have a fun time bowling in support of our mentoring programs in our community. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County works to help broaden children’s perspectives and help them learn how to make good choices. 

We want to encourage others to join the effort, whether you start a team, become a corporate sponsor or make a donation, its a great organization and a great feeling to help local youth on the path to fulfilling their potential and succeeding in school and life.

 

 

AMM attorney Michael Klimpl has been appointed acting County Solicitor for Bucks County following the announced retirement of the current  Bucks County Solicitor Glenn D.  Hains on January 3rd.  Michael has served as Assistant Solicitor for the County since 1984 and will serve while the County Commissioners conduct a search for Hains’ successor.

The Bucks County Solicitor’s Office serves as general counsel for the County of Bucks and  represents the Commissioners and all divisions and departments under the direction of the Commissioners.  The Solicitor’s Office defends lawsuits against the County, and initiates lawsuits brought by the County.  These include civil rights litigation and suits involving construction matters.

Solicitors prepare, review and/or supervise contractual obligations within the County. They handle state and federal compliance issues relating to the County, human resource/employee issues, real estate transactions from agreement through settlement, ADA observance and general employment law. The Solicitors advise on open space and agriculture preservation programs by evaluating properties, determining the scope and extent of easements, and reviewing appraisals.

The Office also coordinates and supervises all outside counsel and the activities of individual department solicitors. 

 

Although many employers would prefer not to spend time and energy on completing periodic written employee reviews, a recent case from federal court illustrates the importance of this process.

In a recent case, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (covering Philadelphia and its suburbs), ruled that a discharged employee failed to prove that he was terminated because of his race – African-American.

The plaintiff in this case was hired by a pharmaceutical company as a sales representative.  His performance was reviewed on a monthly and bi-annual basis.  The monthly reviews were completed by a manager and consisted of a rating from one (lowest) to four (highest) on a variety of categories.

Based on generally unsatisfactory performance ratings, plaintiff was placed on a Performance Management Plan and was given 90 days to improve in various specified areas.  With continued unsatisfactory ratings, plaintiff was terminated 73 days into the performance management plan.

Plaintiff thereupon brought a claim under federal and state law for unlawful employment discrimination.

The Court set forth the initial requirements for a plaintiff attempting to establish race discrimination (or other unlawful discrimination).  Specifically, a plaintiff must demonstrate:

(1) is a member of a protected class; (2) was qualified for his position; (3) suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) suffered the adverse action under circumstances that give rise to an inference of discrimination.

In this case, the fourth element was at issue:  whether plaintiff’s termination gave rise to an inference of discrimination on account of his race. 

The Court, after analyzing plaintiff’s performance ratings, concluded that plaintiff could not demonstrate an inference of race discrimination.  Plaintiff’s comparisons to Caucasian co-workers did not convince the Court, as these documented performance issues and employment history differed from plaintiff’s.

The Court also rejected plaintiff’s claims based on plaintiff’s beliefs that his manager spoke to him in a demeaning way.  A subjective belief of racial discrimination is insufficient, the Court held, to establish an inference of discrimination.

Although not necessary for its ruling, the Court also found that the company had a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for terminating plaintiff:  failure to successfully complete the terms of the performance management plan and uncorrected sales deficiencies identified by his managers.

Lesson learned:  the company’s continuous and contemporaneous documentation of plaintiff’s performance was the critical factor in the Court’s dismissal of this case.

Anything short of these performance reviews would have caused the case to be sent to a jury – with results only to be guessed at!

Antheil Maslow & MacMinn are proud to support the Bucks County Opportunity Council's 15th Annual Economic Self-Sufficiency Graduation and Achievement Awards Ceremony and Dinner on October 12, 2011 and encourage others to support this wonderful local organization which accomplishes real positive change in the lives of individuals, and our community.

The mission of Bucks County Opportunity Council, Inc. is to empower low-income people in Bucks County to achieve their goals for sustainable improvement in economic self-sufficiency by a personalized case management approach founded on education and partnership with the community.

The Economic Self-Sufficiency Achievement Awards and Graduation is held annually to celebrate the success of hard-working, motivated Economic Self-Sufficiency Program participants who have surpassed all of the benchmarks in the Opportunity Council's unique, research-based self-sufficiency standard. The event also inspires Economic Self-Sufficiency Program participants on the path toward graduation and pays tribute to the supporters, donors, volunteers and staff that contribute to the success of the program.

To learn more about this wonderful program, visit the BCOC website: http://bcoc.org/about/ 


 

 

 As you may be aware, the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010”, which passed on December 17, 2010, raised the Federal estate and gift tax exemption for 2011 and 2012 to $5 Million dollars per person ($10 Million for gift splitting spouses) and reduced the top tax rate to 35%. Since then, Antheil Maslow & MacMinn has been advising clients to consider taking advantage of those provisions by using estate planning techniques which involve making lifetime gifts. According to the Act, on January 1, 2013, the estate and gift tax exemptions are scheduled to revert to $1 Million per person, and the top tax rate will rise to 55%. Additionally, there is growing speculation that the Super Committee's report (due on November 23rd), or the resulting legislation, will shorten the time to act, making it important to plan now. Those who choose not to take advantage of the current legislation could pay up to $2.2 Million more in Federal estate and gift tax.

For clients who could have Federal estate tax exposure, the present uncertainty provides an additional incentive to take advantage of the current $5 Million exemption by planning now rather than risk losing the benefit. In addition to the favorable current estate and gift tax laws, low interest rates and depressed asset values (real estate in particular) have made a lifetime gifting strategy even more appealing.

We do not know who may become subject to a Federal Estate Tax in the future. It is possible that will include a single person with a net worth above $1,000,000 or a couple above $2,000,000, but taking advantage of the current $5 Million lifetime exemption before it expires offers an unprecedented opportunity. If you have not considered making gifts this year, or have decided to give but have not implemented your plan, you are encouraged to contact your regular AMM attorney, or either Alan G. Wandalowski, Esq. or Timothy M. White, Esq., from our estate planning department, to discuss how implementing gifting strategies in 2011 may enhance your estate plan.

 

 

Alan Wandalowski, Esquire is participating in the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Leader Advancement Program, designed for entrepreneurs, business and non-profit professionals. This dynamic nine-month, thirteen session program offers a select group of Chamber members rare, in-depth access to Central Bucks County’s most influential non-profit, corporate and government leaders.

Participants engage in interactive panel discussions featuring top leaders in a variety of fields, and gain an expanded knowledge of Central Buck’s County’s history, quality of life, cultural benefits, and issues facing today’s leaders.

Alan is really enjoying the program, and comments: “I feel very fortunate to participate in such a rich and comprehensive program. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of the culture, government, history and community of Bucks County. I am confident that the experiences and relationships I gain from my participation will allow me to do this and in turn, enrich my professional life significantly.”

Visit Alan’s Linkedin Profile for updates on the special events Alan participates in during the course of the program, at: btn_liprofile_blue_80x15

October 17-23 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week

 This week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week, and Antheil Maslow & MacMinn encourages you to use this as an opportunity to discuss estate planning with your family and your attorney.  For those without a plan, you should create and implement one immediately.  For those whose circumstances have changed (birth of a child, divorce, death of a beneficiary, relocation, etc.)  since their plan was last updated, its a good time to review the plan now.  And, for those fortunate enough to have significant assets (in excess of $5 Million), you really should learn about tax planning strategies that could reduce your estate, gift, and GST tax exposure allowing you to pass more wealth on to your family. In fact, this fall there are some unprecedented opportunities for lifetime giving to reduce federal transfer taxes.   

 If you have questions about estate planning in general, and would like to meet with us about creating, changing, or just updating your estate plan, or are interested in learning about transfer tax planning, please contact one of our estate planning attorneys to schedule a courtesy consultation.

 

Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, LLP   is proud to sponsor Big Brother Big Sisters of Bucks County's An Evening for Kids Sake, Celebrating the Accomplishments of the Youth of Bucks County.  Tickets are now on sale for the 9th Annual Signature Event on Friday,  October 28th, 2011 from 7-11 at Spring Mill Manor.  This is a fun event which benefits a great local charity.  For full event details and sponsorship information: click here.

October 3, 2011:  Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, LLP is proud to support the 11th Annual Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Bucks Fever FilmFest.  This is a wonderful local celebration of emerging filmmakers, so if you are a film buff, please come to Doylestown to participate in an evening of stimulating discussion, networking and the screening of the winning films.

On Sunday, October 16th, 2011 there will be three exciting events in Doylestown which are open to the public:

Filmakers Seminar - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Oscar Martin Room, Moose Lodge "Bringing History to Film" by Robert Child

FilmFest Networking - 6:00 - 6:45 p.m.
FilmFest Screening of Winning Films - 7:00 - 9:15 p.m. 
The County Theater, 20 E. State Street, Doylestown, PA

For more infomation: 2011 CBCC Bucks Fever FilmFest

The Bucks Fever FilmFest is an annual, juried festival. Winning short films submitted by high school, college and emerging filmmakers are screened at the County Theater in Doylestown, Pa.

Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, LLP is proud to join Davidson Trust Company and Judith A. Algeo, Esquire in sponsoring the Bucks County Bar Association's Women's Power Summit on Thursday, October 6th, 2011.  The event is at the Cock N' Bull Restaurant in Peddler's Village, Lahaska from 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm.

The program features Keynote speaker Carol Tracy, Esquire and Panelists: Judge Rochelle Friedman, Judge Cynthia Rufe, Judge Susan Devlin Scott, Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia, State Representative Marguerite Quinn and Team Capital Bank Regional President Patricia Markel.

This promises to be a lively and though-provoking discussion exploring the topic of "Women and Power".  The program is open to all women, so please spread the word to your friends, colleagues and business network.