Ohio Governor Names 11 to New Board of Workers’ Comp Bureau

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland named 11 new non-legislative directors to oversee the state’s scandal-marred Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the state’s insurance fund for injured workers that has been mired in controversy.

The independent board was created after an investment scandal that resulted in the convictions on ethics violations of former Gov. Bob Taft and others.

The independent, external board of directors will serve as the primary fiduciary entity of BWC funds and be held accountable for the bureau’s operations.

“The establishment of an independent board of directors brings us a step closer to restoring confidence and accountability in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation,” Strickland said in a statement. “The new board will ensure greater professional expertise and strengthened fiscal management of BWC funds.”

William Lhota, president and chief executive of the Central Ohio Transit Authority, will chair the panel. A former executive of American Electric Power, Lhota has experience as a compliance officer and a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rounding out the panel will be representatives of business and labor, and experts in accounting, investments, economics and law.

Strickland selected the 11 non-legislative members of the board from 43 names submitted by the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee, chaired by Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.

Once convened, the members will form three subcommittees to provide independent advice and verification of BWC financial and operational performance: an audit committee, an investment committee and an actuarial committee.

The following individuals have been selected to serve on the BWC board of directors:

William Lhota, Chair and Representative of Employers (for self-insuring employers)
William Lhota, of Worthington, has been president and CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) since 2004. Lhota previously spent 37 years at American Electric Power, where he served in various management positions. Lhota also created and managed AEP’s corporate compliance program in the early 1990s and served as chief compliance officer until his retirement in 2001. Lhota received a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in 1964 and master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978.

James Hummel, Representative of Employers (for state-fund employers with over 100 employees)
James Hummel, of Dover, is the vice president of human resources for Lauren International, a manufacturer that employs more than 500 people in Ohio. Since 1993, Hummel’s responsibilities have been to protect the company’s assets and employees, which includes safety and workers’ compensation. Under Hummel’s supervision, Lauren International created a wellness program that successfully reduced health and workers’ compensation related expenses among employees. Hummel received a bachelor’s degree from Malone College in 1998.

Jim Matesich, Representative of Employers (for state-fund employers with fewer than 100 employees)
Jim Matesich, of Granville, has worked for Matesich Distributing Company, a family owned wholesale beverage distribution business in Newark, for nearly 32 years. He currently serves as president and CEO, and oversees the company’s administration, accounting procedures, investment account and operations. Matesich serves on the boards of directors for the Wholesale Beer and Wine Association of Ohio and Hospice of Central Ohio. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in 1977 and received an MBA from Ohio University in 1987.

James Harris, Representative of Employee Organizations
James Harris, of Gahanna, currently works part-time for the United Auto Workers on workers’ compensation legislation. He retired in 2003 after more than 20 years of experience on the UAW international staff. Harris also served as the director of the Ohio Department of Industrial Relations from 1983-1991. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in 1980.

David Caldwell, Representative of Employee Organizations
David Caldwell, of Pataskala, is a 37-year member of the United Steelworkers of America. Caldwell has held several positions in the United Steelworkers State of Ohio District 1; he presently serves as legislative coordinator and assistant director. He has also held various local union offices, including president of USW Local 2342 and chairman of the workers’ compensation committee. Caldwell is currently the president of the Central Ohio AFL-CIO and a member of the Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Committee.

Philip Fulton, Representative of Employees
Philip Fulton, of Columbus, is the owner of Philip J. Fulton Law Office, a firm that represents victims of workplace injuries in matters of workers’ compensation and social security disability. He has served in several capacities at Capital University Law School, including as an adjunct professor for workers’ compensation law. Fulton has received several recognitions for his legal work, including the Workers’ Compensation Outstanding Service Award from the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2005. Fulton received a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in 1977 and a law degree from Capital University in 1980.

Larry Price, Member of the Public
Larry Price, of Columbus, was a state representative for the 26th House District from 2003-2004. Price is currently the president and chief consultant for L. Price and Associates Consulting in Columbus. He previously served as an assistant to Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and worked in the Ohio Senate for nearly 20 years as a message clerk and assistant sergeant at arms. Price received a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.

Charles Bryan, Actuary
Charles Bryan, of Columbus, has 35 years of experience as a casualty actuary. His actuarial career spans several companies including Nationwide Insurance, Ernst and Young, United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and Allstate Insurance. He is the founder and current president of CAB Consulting, a property-casualty insurance consulting company. Bryan serves on the boards of Medical Mutual of Ohio, Safe Auto and Tower Insurance Group. He received a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University in 1968, a master’s degree in mathematics from Purdue University in 1969 and an MBA from Golden Gate University in 1976.

Kenneth Haffey, Certified Public Accountant
Kenneth Haffey, of Chester Township, has been a licensed CPA in Ohio since 1986. He is currently a partner in CPA firm of Skoda, Minotti and Co. in Mayfield Village and served previously as a managing partner and vice president for Century Business Services, Inc., a Cleveland CPA firm. Haffey has also worked as a vice president for banks in Cleveland and Chicago and has served as an adjunct accounting professor at Case Western Reserve University since 1990. Haffey received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1978 and an MBA from DePaul University in 1982.

Robert Smith, Investment and Security Expert
Robert Smith, of Beachwood, has nearly 30 years of experience in investing, finance, accounting, management and marketing, and is currently serving as president and CEO of Spero-Smith Investment Advisers, Inc., in Cleveland. Smith is a member of several boards of directors, including the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority, Motorists Insurance Group and Ohio Gratings, Inc. He is also on the board of trustees for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. Smith received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Northern University in 1975 and an MBA from Duquesne University in 1982.

Alison Falls, Investment and Security Expert
Alison Falls, of Port Clinton, operates a local practice in Port Clinton that serves financial services institutions, mid-cap corporations and non-profits. She previously served as a managing director for Banc of America Securities, Inc., on Wall Street from 1994-2002. Falls is currently the board chair for the United Way of Greater Toledo. She received a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Binghamton in 1970 and a master’s degree in economics from The Ohio State University in 1972.

Source: Gov. Strickland’s Office