Monday, February 15, 2010

DOL Women's Bureau and Solicitor Nominees Confirmed by Senate

On February 4 and 11, 2010, two administration nominees to Department of Labor posts were confirmed by the Senate: M. Patricia Smith, of New York, to be Solicitor for the Department of Labor and Sara Manzano-Diaz, of Pennsylvania, to be Director of the Women's Bureau, Department of Labor.

The following is information released by the White House about these two appointees:

Sara Manzano-Diaz was nominated to lead the Women's Bureau at the Department of Labor. For almost 90 years, the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau has worked to improve the status of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment. The Bureau is the only federal agency mandated to represent the needs of wage-earning women. In 1922, it launched a major investigation on the conditions facing African-American women in industry. In the 1950's, it examined the dynamic situation of older women as office workers. In the 1980's, it broke new ground on the plight of contingent workers, and in the 1990's it researched and reported on domestic violence, long before experts considered the topic relevant to the workplace.
Sara is uniquely qualified to lead the Women's Bureau. She has spent her career in public service advocating on behalf of working class families, women, and girls. She has more than 25 years of federal, state, and judicial experience including 16 years in senior management. Most recently, she was appointed by Governor Edward G. Rendell as Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs at the Pennsylvania Department of State. As Deputy Secretary, and the highest-ranking Latina in Pennsylvania state government, Ms. Manzano-Diaz is responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public by overseeing the licensure of approximately 1 million professionals. Previously, she served as Deputy General Counsel for Civil Rights and Litigation at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she enforced fair housing, civil rights, and anti-discrimination laws. She has served as Co-Chair of The Forum of Executive Women's Mentoring Committee, which mentors young professional women as they begin their careers, and also participated in Madrinas, a program that provides mentors for at-risk Latina girls to encourage them to finish high school and attend college.

M. Patricia Smith, Nominee for Solicitor, Department of LaborM. Patricia Smith is currently the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor and co-chair of New York State’s Economic Security sub-cabinet. She oversees the New York State Department of Labor with an annual budget of $4 billion, with 3,700 employees in 80 offices throughout the state and serves as advisor to Governor David Paterson on workforce and labor policy. Previously, she served for 20 years in the Labor Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the last 8 as Bureau Chief. Her responsibilities included representing the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board in all State and Federal litigation and advancing an affirmative docket enforcing New York’s Labor Laws. In 1996 and 1997, she argued and won two Employment Retirement Income Security Act cases before the United States Supreme Court. Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, she worked for a variety of Legal Services Organizations representing unemployment claimants, minimum wage workers, workers in federal job training programs and job seekers. She is an honors graduate of Trinity College in Washington, D.C. and received her law degree, cum laude, from the New York University School of Law.

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