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Coffee with the Lake Commissioners

We started the day on Friday, December 1st, by driving to the Holiday Inn on Reynolds Road in Mentor in order to attend a special "Coffee with the Lake Commissioners" program organized by the Mentor Chamber of Commerce. 

While we were there we invited Mr. Jerry Cirino, Mr. Daniel Troy (an old friend of Ms. Margaret W. Wong's), and Mr. John R. Hammercheck, all three of the commissioners, to our Holiday Party on December 2nd. We also gave them our contact information and told them to contact "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" if they should ever need counsel on an immigration matter facing the county.

In addition to connecting with the commissioners, we conversed with Mr. Tony Fulgenzio who was recently hired as the Vice President for Advancement at "Lake Erie College". Mr. Fulgenzio told us that not too many international students attend "Lake Erie College" at this time but he would like to explore increasing their enrollment.

We also met a nice person who used to work for a travel agency and had turned to our office on a few occasions when there were questions on visas. She also recalled that years ago Ms. Wong had helped some people that she knew immigrate to the United States from Scotland.

After a few other stops we found ourselves at the City Club of Cleveland (where else?) where we attended a luncheon discussion titled "What Form will Tax Reform Take?" Due to the intensive debate taking place in Washington, D.C. at this time, our friend Ms. Stephanie Jansky, Director of Programming at the City Club, hit a bullseye when she said, as she introduced the program, that in her years at the City Club it would tough to recall a less timely subject.

The discussion was moderated by Mr. Stephen Koff,'s Washington Bureau Chief, and the panelists were Ms. Marna Ricker, Central Region Tax Managing Partner at "Ernest & Young"; Mr. Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the "Center on Budget and Policy Priorities" and former Chief Economist and Economic Advisor to Vice President Biden; and Mr. Grover Norquist, President of "Americans for Tax Reform".

All that we can say is that what ensued was a lively if not semi-heated exchange along partisan lines between Mr. Norquist and Mr. Bernstein; Mr. Norquist believed that overall the proposed tax overhaul bill (being fine-tuned at this time in D.C.) would largely help the United States, its economy, and its people while Mr. Bernstein thought it would be overall destructive. Both of them cited statistics and examples that enhanced their point-of- view.

To her credit, Ms. Ricker succeeded in avoiding the political fray and stuck to addressing the issues from an accountants point-of-view largely focusing on the effect of taxes on such matters as offshoring.

One of the people who we sat with was Mr. Michael Flickinger, a CPA who is a Research Administrator at "Cleveland Clinic Children's" who was also present at the City Club Program that took place earlier in the week with U.S. Congressperson James Renacci to whom he asked a pointed question about tax policy. On this day, he put to the panelists another well-studied question about how the proposed tax overhaul would affect Cleveland.

But at the end of the discussion (actually it was more of a debate), most of the people that we talked to who were confused about the tax overhaul before they arrived at the City Club were just as confused when they left. 


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC



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