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Workers' Compensation Board

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Biographies of the Chair and Board Members

Robert E. Beloten is Chair of the Workers' Compensation Board. He has been a law judge at the New York State Workers' Compensation Board from 1988-1996 and 2000-2009. From 1996-2000, he was a Senior Law Associate at the law firm of Keating and Klein of Syosset, New York a firm specializing in health care law.

In addition between 1996-2000 , Mr. Beloten, also served as a part-time hearing officer in the New York Supreme Court in Mineola, New York conducting hearings on property assessments on residential properties in Nassau County and was an arbitrator and mediator for the Workers' Compensation Alternative Resolution Panel for the Construction Trade in Albany, New York.

From 1985-1988, was an assistant counsel For the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. He instituted Administrative proceedings to ascertain violations of statues, rules and regulations governing racing and pari-mutuel wagering which include the administering of controlled and/or prohibited substances to horses, as well as the failure of employers to provide their employees with required workers' compensation insurance.

Mr. Beloten clerked for New York Civil Court Judges Herbert A. Posner and Pearle Appelman from 1981-1984, in Kew Gardens. He has lectured extensively throughout New York on medical law and workers' compensation.

He earned his law degree from the Hofstra University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, College Park with concentrations in History, Government and Politics and Zoology. (Term expires 2015)

Richard A. Bell – Prior to his appointment as Commissioner, Mr. Bell was Executive Director of the Workers' Compensation Board, acting as the principal assistant to the Chair.

Mr. Bell brings to the Board a strong background of workers' compensation expertise. Prior to state service, Mr. Bell had almost 25 years of claims management experience in the workers' compensation field.

Mr. Bell is a graduate of Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Arts – Economics and is a graduate of the State University of Albany with a Masters of Science – Educational Administration. (Term Expires 2012)

Candace K. Finnegan brings a wealth of experience in Human Resources management to the Workers' Compensation Board. She began New York State service in 1977 and has served as Personnel Administrator and Deputy Director of Labor Relations for the Department of Labor, Higher Education Services Corp., and OMH's Rockland Children's Psychiatric Center where she conducted special investigations, mediated employee grievances and served as the State's advocate in employee disciplinary arbitrations.

Mrs. Finnegan is a graduate of Skidmore College and attended SUNY Albany's MBA program in Human Resources Administration. (Term expires 2010)

Freida Foster brings over 15 years of varied professional experience in the areas of education, public relations and government/civic service. Serving as a Trustee for the City University of New York (CUNY), she helps to oversee the management of CUNY campuses city-wide and serves as Vice Chair for the Student Affairs Committee; and serving on the Harlem Community Development Corporation's Board of Directors, she assists in the guidance of the organization to make the best development decisions for the growth of the Harlem Community.

Ms. Foster-Tolbert worked as a PR professional with one of the largest PR firms in the world and served as Director for Governor Pataki's Office of Community Affairs; Assistant to the Governor for African American Affairs; a Residential Life Professional where she developed and administered policy and provided enforcement and guidance to thousands of students on campus. In addition, she served as the NYC Human Resources Administration Liaison and Recruiter for BMCC's College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment Program where she primarily worked with hundreds of students and helped to solve difficult benefit cases which ultimately enabled the students to continue their academic careers.

A lifelong Harlem resident, Ms. Foster-Tolbert holds a BA from Hofstra University and an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin. (Term expires 2014)

Mark D. Higgins – Mr. Higgins came to the board after serving over 30 years as a staff representative with the Civil Service Employees Association, Inc. where he negotiated collective bargaining agreements and represented workers in all workplace issues including workers' compensation. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from SUNY College at Buffalo. He is a lifelong resident of Greater Buffalo. (Term Expires 2014)

Linda Hull – A 30-year specialist in workers' compensation, in 1994 Linda Hull founded Upstate WorkComp Inc., where she consulted on behalf of self-insured and insured employers, occupational health groups, vocational specialists and insurance agents. Earlier in her career, she worked as an outside field adjustor, hearing representative and a claims supervisor for insurance carriers.

A frequent speaker on workers' compensation topics to prominent industry groups, Ms. Hull received the New York State Workers Compensation Board's Chairman's Award for Excellence for her contribution to the self-insurance community in 2001. In 2011, was elected to the AMCOMP Board of Managers and in 2012, she participated on the Workers' Compensation Board Medical Treatment Guidelines Payer Committee. Ms. Hull was a 20-year member of the NYS Business Council's Workers Compensation committee, the NY State Self- Insured Association, and the Rochester Business Alliance Workers Compensation Committee.

Ms. Hull holds a dual Bachelor of Science in Economics and Political Science from the State University of New York College at Brockport. She is a native of Rochester. (Term expires 2020)

Loren Lobban of Buffalo has many years of experience as a practicing attorney, representing individuals, business and government.

Prior to joining the Board, Mr. Lobban maintained a private law practice where he specialized in litigation. He was the principle of his own firm and also counsel to the Erie County Legislature. He also volunteered his time representing clients for the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project.

Mr. Lobban earned law degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Norman Manley Law School. He also holds an MBA from Medaille College in Buffalo. Mr. Lobban earned a BA in history and psychology from the University of Northern Michigan.(Term expires 2013)

Conrad W. Lower practiced labor and employment law for over 25 years. As Senior Counsel with the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) he represented public employees and their local unions before administrative agencies such as the Public Employment Relations Board and the State Education Department, and in New York's state and federal courts. As a Labor Relations Specialist for NYSUT he was responsible for negotiating and enforcing collective bargaining agreements, and advising local union officers and members on workers' compensation and other employment issues. Mr. Lower's significant cases include a jury verdict in favor of seven teachers and aides who suffered carpal tunnel and emotional distress injuries from a school district's unconstitutional actions, and an order of reinstatement and back pay for school bus drivers and mechanics whose jobs were unlawfully outsourced.

He began his legal career in private practice in Indiana representing unions before the National Labor Relations Board and in the courts, and litigating workers' compensation, social security disability and personal injury actions on behalf of injured workers.

Mr. Lower graduated with a B.A. in economics from Antioch College in 1976, and received his law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 1983. (Term expires 2015)

Kenneth J. Munnelly is the Vice Chair of the Board. He was the former general counsel of the New York State Workers' Compensation Board from 2008 to 2013, responsible for the day-to-day legal operations of the Board and a staff of approximately 150 attorneys including all law judges, the Administrative Review Division and the Legal Affairs Division, which reviews full board applications, as well as the Litigation Unit.

Mr. Munnelly also worked in the New York State Assembly for 21 legislative sessions. He served as counsel to the Assembly Local Governments committee as well as the Speaker's counsel to the Judiciary Committee from 1986 to 1993. In 1994, Mr. Munnelly was named First Deputy Attorney General by Attorney General Oliver Koppell.

In 1998, Mr. Munnelly was elected Town Justice in the Town of Bethlehem, presiding over felony arraignments, misdemeanors, traffic infractions and small claims court. In 2005, Mr. Munnelly returned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, serving as counsel to the chair. While working for the Assembly, Mr. Munnelly maintained a private law practice where he specialized in litigation, family and criminal law.

Mr. Munnelly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a Masters in Public Administration (concentration in public finance) from the Rockefeller School of Public Affairs in Albany. In 1984, he graduated from Albany Law School, receiving the Senior Trial prize at graduation. (Term expires 2018)

Ellen O. Paprocki brings a varied background to the Workers' Compensation Board. Prior to joining the Board she served as Assistant Director of the New York State Fair in Syracuse where she provided management and program/policy development for the annual State Fair and more than two hundred events throughout the year. She spent many years in Washington, DC working with the U.S. Department of Labor as a Field Office Coordinator, Labor-Management Liaison, and investigative trainer as well as serving as a Congressional Liaison for the Agency for International Development.

Ms. Paprocki spent time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the early 1980's. She is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. (Term expires 2018)

Samuel G. Williams was born in Niagara Falls, New York. Mr. Williams graduated from high school in 1970 and started his union career as a sheet metal apprentice. He served as a journeyman for Sheet Metal Workers Local 71 until 1976 when he was hired at the former Harrison Radiator division of General Motors Corporation and became a member of the UAW Local 686.

Mr. Williams rose through the union ranks as alternate, district, and shop committeeman. In 1996, he took part in the development of the "Transitional Work Center" concept within General Motors, which allowed and encouraged UAW members collecting Worker's Compensation to return to work early. The program allowed injured workers to return to work in non-traditional jobs until they were able to return to their normal work duty. This program is still in place today, greatly reducing the Worker's Compensation costs throughout the industry.

Mr. Williams was appointed to the International Staff of the UAW Region 9 as a Servicing Representative. In this capacity he negotiated collective bargaining agreements, handled arbitration issues and PERB hearings for numerous UAW locals throughout the Western New York area. In 1998, he was appointed Director of Education for UAW Region 9, encompassing New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And in August of 2004 he was appointed Director of the CAP (Community Action Program) Region 9 UAW New York State.

Throughout the years, Mr. Williams has received many awards and honors for his tireless dedication to causes he believes in. He was honored in 1994 with the UAW Citizenship Award and in 1999 as Labor Citizen of the Year from the Niagara/Orleans Labor Council AFL-CIO. In 2009 he received the Norm Harper Labor Award from the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ), and the Buffalo Central Labor Council "Labor Person of the Year" award for his commitment to labor and community partnership through legislative and electoral solutions. In January 2010 he received the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award. (Term expires 2016)