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About the Board Biographies of the Chair and Board Members

About the Board

Clarissa M. Rodriguez

Clarissa M. Rodriguez, Esq. of Orange County is the Chair & Commissioner of the New York State Workers' Compensation Board and a member of New York Governor Kathy Hochul's Executive Cabinet. Mrs. Rodriguez was confirmed as a Board member by the NYS Senate in 2016 and later elevated to head of the agency in 2017. She has since been reappointed by the Governor to serve another term through 2029.

The Workers' Compensation Board administers several insurance laws, including workers' compensation, disability benefits, and Paid Family Leave insurance. During her time at the Board, Mrs. Rodriguez has led the agency through several important legislative reforms and implementations, including the launch of New York's landmark Paid Family Leave, while also working to make significant improvements to the workers' compensation system.

Before joining the Board in 2016, Mrs. Rodriguez worked as a litigator for the Legal Aid Society of New York in their Foreclosure Prevention and Predatory Lending units. Mrs. Rodriguez also worked in the Civil and Matrimonial Parts of the Nassau County Supreme Court and the Integrated Domestic Violence Part of Queens County Criminal Court. She served with the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, the City University of New York's (CUNY) Office of General Counsel, the Municipal Employees Legal Services at District Council 37, and the Urban Justice Center prior to joining the Bar.

Earlier in her career, Mrs. Rodriguez was the project editor/legislative liaison of the National PTA in Washington D.C. In addition, she was a community organizer with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition in Bronx, NY and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation in Brooklyn, NY before serving on their Board of Directors. She also worked as a social services counselor at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger in New York City. She currently chairs the New York Self-Insured Association's (NYSIA) Board of Managers, regularly providing the keynote address for their bi-annual legislative conference. Mrs. Rodriguez has also delivered keynote addresses for the Upstate Latino Summit and the La Liga 50th Anniversary Gala Benefit, in Syracuse, NY. She is a member of the Women's Bar Association of Orange & Sullivan County, the Dominican Bar Association of NY, the Hudson Valley Hispanic Bar Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Association, Region II.

Mrs. Rodriguez has received professional recognitions from the City & State NY publication, Law Power 100 list, the SOMOS Conference - Entre Nosotras Inc. luncheon, the NYS Senate, and from the Latino Lawyers of Queens County Bar Association, among others. Most recently, she received recognition from the NYS Assembly at the "Dominicans in Albany 2023" event and was nominated for the Schneps Media Leaders of Labor award in both 2022 and 2023. Mrs. Rodriguez is also the recipient of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Fellowship of the American Bar Association, and El Diario/La Prensa's 9th Annual NYC Outstanding Latina Award. She is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and holds a BA in Political Science and Women's Studies from the State University of New York, Purchase College.

Term expires December 2029

Freida Foster

Freida Foster of New York County is Vice Chair of the Workers' Compensation Board. A Board member since 2009, Ms. Foster has decades of professional experience in the areas of education, government/civic service and public relations. Ms. Foster is also a member of the Harlem Community Development Corporation Board of Directors and also sits on the Board for Channel Thirteen/WLIW's Community Advisory Board.

Ms. Foster served as a Trustee for the City University of New York (2006-2016), helping oversee campus management. Prior to joining the Workers' Compensation Board, Ms. Foster was a Public Relations Manager in the Public Affairs practice of the Burson-Marsteller public relations firm. Prior to that, she served as Director of the Governor's Office of Community Affairs, Director of Partnerships for Harlem Armory, Speechwriter and Assistant to the Governor for African American Affairs. She has held membership on a number of boards, all with a focus on community and/or civic service as well as student leadership. A lifelong Harlem resident, Ms. Foster holds an MS in Corporate Communications from the University of Wisconsin and a BA in Communications from Hofstra University.

Term expires December 2028

Pam Caggianelli

Pamela Caggianelli of Ontario County joined the Workers' Compensation Board in 2019. She is a certified occupational health/legal nurse specialist with a strong background in workers' compensation, disability, medical, family leave and vocational & return to work programs. Prior to joining the Board, Ms. Caggianelli was the Manager of Occupational Health at the University of Rochester Long Term Care Affiliates: Highlands at Brighton, Highlands at Pittsford and Highland Living Center. She has also served in corporate health management and global privacy compliance roles for Bausch & Lomb and Unity Hospital and their affiliates. Ms. Caggianelli has been a member of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce for more than 35 years; served on the Workers' Compensation Committee and chaired the National Certification for Disability Management Commission. She's also a member of several nursing associations and business groups.

Ms. Caggianelli holds a BS in Nursing from SUNY Polytechnic Institute at Utica-Rome and an AAS degree from SUNY Canton.

Term expires December 2024

Steven A. Crain

Steven A. Crain of Saratoga County worked more than 27 years for the Civil Service Employees Association, most recently as general counsel. He also served as staff attorney for the Legal Services Plan of Teamsters Local 237, as assistant county attorney for Orange County, and as special counsel to the Village of Hempstead. Mr. Crain has been an instructor in Special Academic Programs at Marist College and the Labor Studies Program of Cornell University's Industrial Labor Relations School, and has worked in claims for the Prudential Insurance Company. He is a graduate of New York Law School and holds a BA in Economics from the State University of New York College at Cortland.

Term expires December 2026

Renee L. Delgado

Renee L. Delgado is from Albany County and has devoted much of her career to advocating for workers' rights, including her work at the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, a labor federation with one million members, which represents workers in the public sector, private sector, and building trades unions. She did this while working on a master's degree, then attended law school, graduating in 2006. Ms. Delgado was admitted to the New York State Bar the following year and in 2008, began a career with the New York State Public Employees Federation, AFL-CIO (PEF).

During her 14 years at PEF, Ms. Delgado held various titles, including Associate Counsel, Director of Contract Administration and General Counsel. She has worked as a Special Assistant in the Counsel's Office at the New York State Department of Labor, served as Assistant Director of Legal Services at the SUNY Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, as an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County and Albany County, and was a legislative aide in the New York State Assembly.

Ms. Delgado holds a juris doctorate from the CUNY School of Law at Queens College, a master's degree in criminal justice from John Jay College in Manhattan, and a bachelor's degree from SUNY Albany.

Term expires December 2025

Martin Dilan

Martin M. Dilan of Kings County joined the Workers' Compensation Board in 2019 after serving in elective office for 40 years. Mr. Dilan spent 16 years in the New York State Senate representing the 18th (formerly 17th) Senatorial District. During his time in the NYS Senate, Mr. Dilan served as Chairman of the Minority Conference, Senior Assistant Majority Leader and Assistant Minority Leader for Policy and Administration for the Senate's Democratic Conference.

Prior to his election to the NYS Senate, Mr. Dilan served as a New York City Council Member for 10 years and a Community School Board Member for 14 years. He is also a former legislative assistant for the U.S. House of Representatives and has served as a Democratic District Leader and Democratic State Committeeman from the 54th Assembly District.

Mr. Dilan attended Brooklyn College where he participated in the Special Baccalaureate Degree Program. He has a BS from Excelsior college, Albany, N.Y.

Term expires December 2025

Mark Higgins

Mark Higgins of Erie County joined the Workers' Compensation Board in 2008 after serving for over 30 years with the Civil Service Employees Association, Inc. in leadership roles throughout New York State. He was a staff director and chief spokesman in collective bargaining on behalf of hundreds of bargaining units within CSEA in the public and private sectors. Mr. Higgins applied workers' compensation law and the Family and Medical Leave Act among other labor laws in collective bargaining and general union member advocacy in the workplace. He also served on the board of directors at HealthNow, Inc. for 12 years.

Mr. Higgins holds a MA and BA in Human Service Management from SUNY Buffalo State College.

Term expires December 2028

Linda Hull

Linda Hull of Monroe County is a 30-year specialist in workers' compensation. Ms. Hull began her career working for carriers as a field adjuster, supervisor, and hearing representative, with the last employer being Chubb Insurance Company. Licensed by the Board, she became an officer of SH Gow & Company, developing a Third-Party Administration service on their behalf. She founded Upstate WorkComp Inc. in 1994, where she consulted on behalf of self-insured and insured employers, occupational health groups, vocational specialists, and insurance agents. Some of Ms. Hull's clients included the University of Rochester, Unity (Parkridge) Hospital, Cornell University, Eastman Kodak, Doyle Detective, and Rochester Manpower. The services comprised of workers' compensation audits, performance measures, vendor management, and staff educational sessions. She also served as the Risk Manager for the Rochester City School District.

Ms. Hull is a frequent speaker on workers' compensation topics, addressing groups such as the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, NY State Chiropractor Association, Rochester Business Alliance, and the NY State Self-Insured Association. 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, she was elected to the American Society of Workers' Compensation Professionals (AMCOMP) Board of Managers and in 2012, she participated on the Workers' Compensation Board's 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. She is also involved with Moms Demand Action, and autism advocacy. She 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 expired December 2020

Loren Lobban

Loren Lobban of Erie County 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 expired December 2020

Gloribelle Perez

Gloribelle Perez of New York County is a triple barred attorney with a distinguished legal career marked by a steadfast commitment to public service. She joined the Workers' Compensation Board in 2023.

Having worked as a commercial litigation associate at a Manhattan law firm, Ms. Perez honed her exceptional legal research skills and sharpened her ability to navigate complex legal landscapes. Subsequently, she served as a court attorney in the New York County Surrogate's Court, where she conducted extensive research on intricate legal matters and drafted judicial opinions. More recently, Ms. Perez served as an administrative law judge at the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals. In that role, her responsibilities included presiding over hearings and drafting decisions concerning the reasonableness of rules, regulations, and orders issued by the New York State Commissioner of Labor concerning various wage provisions of the NYS Labor Law.

Ms. Perez's impact extends far beyond her legal endeavors. Recognizing the importance of access to quality legal services, she has spearheaded efforts to address the widening gap in legal support for marginalized communities. Through her involvement with various bar associations, she has organized "Know Your Rights" events, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs, and volunteer opportunities, all aimed at increasing access to justice for all individuals.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Ms. Perez immigrated to the United States at a young age and grew up in Manhattan. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a J.D. from Pace Law School, where she served as the Executive Editor of the International Law Review.

Term expires 12/31/24

Mark R. Stasko

Mark R. Stasko of Onondaga County brings a strong background of workers' compensation expertise with over 35 years of experience in the Workers' Compensation field. He was Director of Risk Management for Onondaga County, responsible for all insurance including workers' compensation. He was previously Risk and Claims Manager for several large corporations including Chrysler Corp. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. He is also the former chairman and treasurer of the NY Self-Insurers Association. In 2001, Mr. Stasko received the NYS Workers' Compensation Board Chairman's Award for Excellence. He is a NYS Department of Labor certified specialist in safety, employee assistance and return to work. He holds a BS in Business Management from St. John Fisher College.

Term expired December 2022

Arelis Tavares

Arelis Tavares of New York County joined the Worker's Compensation Board in 2019. She was most recently the Community Outreach Director for the New York State AFL-CIO, working with labor and community groups statewide on economic and social justice issues and legislation. Ms. Tavares began her community advocacy career when she joined Bill Lynch Associates in 2003. During her time there, she managed some of the firm's corporate and labor union clients and organized various political and issue-based campaigns. Ms. Tavares was born and raised in New York City and continues to volunteer with local organizations advocating for worker rights and issues affecting low-income communities.

Term expires December 2023

Samuel G. Williams

Samuel G. Williams of Niagara County started his union career as a sheet metal apprentice. He was a journeyman for Sheet Metal Workers Local 71 until 1976 when he joined the former Harrison Radiator division of General Motors Corp. 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 developing the "Transitional Work Center" concept within General Motors, which allowed and encouraged UAW members injured at work to return early in non-traditional jobs until they could resume their normal work duty. It is still in place today, greatly reducing workers' compensation costs throughout the industry.

Mr. Williams served on the International Staff of the UAW Region 9 as a servicing representative, negotiating collective bargaining agreements, handled arbitration issues and PERB hearings for numerous UAW locals throughout Western New York. He was also director of education for UAW Region 9, encompassing New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the director of the Community Action Program Region 9 UAW New York State. 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 December 2023