Street Talk: Does loyalty trump money?


President-elect Donald Trump could end up with a familiar West Michigan name among his cabinet advisors.

Betsy DeVos has been rumored by multiple news organizations, including the Washington Post, as a potential nominee by Trump to be the U.S. Secretary of Education.

DeVos, wife of Dick DeVos, is a supporter of charter schools and school choice, as evidenced by her position on the board of the Great Lakes Education Project. She also serves as board chair for the America Federation for Children.

Reports suggest Trump plans to reposition $20 billion in federal money to school choice, with another $110 billion to come from states. When DeVos chaired the Michigan Republican Party, she was among those pushing for a failed ballot proposal to create a voucher system for tax money to pay for nonpublic schools.

DeVos will have a difficult road to the cabinet, however, as POLITICO has reported Indiana Rep. Luke Messer and Hoover Institution research fellow Williamson Evers are the favorites for the education job.

It will be interesting to see how the appointments play out, as big names — good or bad — are thrown around, such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and one time GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

As of late last week, only four had officially joined the Trump administration: RNC Chair Reince Priebus as chief of staff, controversial Breitbart CEO Stephen Bannon as chief strategist, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general and U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo from Kansas as CIA director.

Trump’s administration also could include other Michigan names, such as former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

Detroit native and one-time presidential candidate Ben Carson’s name also was thrown into the ring for education, as well as for a variety of other positions, but he declined all those roles saying he didn’t have the right qualifications.

Indigenous givers

Muskegon Community College this month received two grants to support its inaugural Native American Heritage Month celebrations on campus.

The Michigan Humanities Council awarded $22,100 to the Foundation for Muskegon Community College, and the Community Foundation for Muskegon County awarded $5,000 to Muskegon Community College.

The MHC grant was one of $650,000 to 28 cultural organizations across Michigan under the Heritage Grant Program in order “to support a variety of projects that use history and humanities approaches to shed light on present-day social issues as they relate to the intersection of ethnic identity, racial equity and cultural heritage,” the MHC said.

“Muskegon’s rich history includes Native American influences,” said Hollie Benson, an MCC faculty member and coordinator of the Heritage Month celebrations. “This is a great opportunity to learn about Native American culture while, at the same time, expanding our discussion about how we come from different cultures but share a commonality.”

Heritage Month events this month have included art exhibits, film showings, lectures and community forums.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is a co-sponsor of Heritage Month at MCC.

“The Tribal Historic Preservation Department of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians would like to thank the Community Foundation for Muskegon County in awarding $5,000 toward the Native American Heritage Month at Muskegon Community College,” said Kareen Lewis, from the Historic Preservation Office of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. “We are excited to co-sponsor these events with the college and look forward to promoting diversity, enhancing relationships among Muskegon students and residents and educating about the region’s first residents, the Anishinaabek.”

Laid-back Friday?

The vast majority of American workers will be lucky enough to be paid and have the opportunity to sleep in four days in a row over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to findings from Bloomberg BNA’s annual nationwide survey of holiday practices.

According to the survey of U.S. employers, which has been conducted annually since 1980, a full 4 in 5 employers will grant workers Thanksgiving and the following day off with pay.

“A robust economy may be the reason behind so many employers being so generous with time off during the holiday,” said Molly Huie, manager of surveys and reports for Bloomberg BNA, which provides information and guidance for legal, tax and compliance professionals. “However, as is typically the case on national holidays, some workers are required to punch the clock, and this year, 3 in 10 employers will require some employees to spend a day at the office.”

Bloomberg BNA surveyed executives and human resources professionals in 450 firms across a wide range of industries in September.

Among the survey’s other key findings:

Those who work on Thanksgiving will get a little extra stuffing in their wallets, according to Huie. More than 8 in 10 organizations (84 percent) that have employees laboring on Thanksgiving will provide some form of extra compensation, including time-and-one-half pay (36 percent), double pay (22 percent) and both extra pay and compensation time (12 percent).

Large employers are four times as likely to require some to work, according to the survey. Sixty-four percent of large organizations (those with over 1,000 employees) will require some to pull a holiday shift, as compared to only 16 percent of small organizations.

Huie said employees responsible for public safety, security, maintenance or technology support are most likely to be required to work on Thanksgiving. Security and public safety workers (16 percent), service and maintenance staff (13 percent) and technicians (10 percent) are most likely to draw holiday shifts.

Workers in manufacturing are most likely to get four paid days off, she said. More than 9 in 10 (91 percent) of manufacturers indicated they will provide a paid holiday to all or most of their employees on Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, compared with 81 percent of nonbusiness organizations — such as schools, police departments, municipalities and hospitals— and 74 percent of nonmanufacturing companies.

Manic Monday

Those resting up on Black Friday might want to exercise their fingers a bit.

With Cyber Monday fast approaching, professionals are fessing up to shopping on the sly in a new survey from staffing firm Robert Half Technology, according to Jamie Carpen, senior district public relations manager.

The survey of professionals and CIOs revealed 49 percent of professionals shop at work on Cyber Monday; 33 percent of CIOs block online shopping sites (but 17 percent of professionals say they shop at work on their phones); 64 percent of workday deal-seekers mostly use their lunch break to shop; and 43 percent cite boredom as their chief motivator for shopping during work hours.

Carpen said although 65 percent of CIOs said their company allows online shopping, many professionals (55 percent) have not been provided with company information or training around IT security or online shopping policies, which may explain why 65 percent will minimize their screens if the boss comes along!

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