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Published: Wednesday, 8/1/2007

Board of directors named for BWC


COLUMBUS Gov. Ted Strickland yesterday put his brand on the state s scandal-plagued insurance fund for injured workers by appointing his own board of directors.

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, he said. The new board will ensure greater professional expertise and strengthened fiscal management of BWC funds.

Just one person from northwest Ohio will serve on the11-member board. The governor selected Alison Falls of Port Clinton to fill one of two seats reserved for investment and securities experts.

A managing director for Banc of America Securities Inc. on Wall Street from 1994 to 2002, Ms. Falls currently operates out of her home a private practice serving financial services institutions, midcap corporations, and nonprofits. She also serves as board chairman of the United Way of Greater Toledo.

As an investment expert, she said she felt that bureau decisions to pursue alternative investments in rare coins and offshore hedge funds were out of the norm.

When I saw what the governor and legislature were intending to do in really restructuring the board and creating an independent board, I felt very strongly they were on the right track, she said. It was a combination of wanting to do some public service and also lending my expertise of 20 to 30 years in the securities research and investment area.

A review of campaign finance records filed with the secretary of state s office showed Ms. Falls did not make any campaign contributions to the Democratic governor, although six of the 11 appointees did.

The governor selected the 11 from a list of 43 names recommended by a BWC nominating council, the same body that recommended prior appointees to the oversight commission the board is replacing.

The other 10 board members and whom they represent are:

• Self-insured employers: William Lhota of Worthington, president of the Central Ohio Transit Authority.

• Larger employers: James Hummel of Dover, vice president of human resources for Lauren International.

• Smaller employers: Jim Matesich of Granville, president of Matesich Distributing Co. Campaign finance records show he contributed $1,250 to Mr. Strickland s gubernatorial campaign.

• Employee organizations: James Harris of Gahanna, of the United Auto Workers. He contributed $400 to Mr. Strickland s campaign.

• Employee organizations: David Caldwell of Pataskala, of the United Steelworkers of America. He contributed $100 to Mr. Strickland.

• Employees: Philip Fulton, Columbus workers compensation attorney. He has contributed $10,100 to Mr. Strickland.

• General public: Former Democratic state Rep. Larry Price of Columbus. He contributed $1,100 to Mr. Strickland.

• Actuary: Charles Bryan of Columbus, president of CAB Consulting.

• Certified public accountant: Kenneth Haffey of Chester Township, a partner in Skoda, Minotti, and Co. in Mayfield Village. He gave $2,000 to Mr. Strickland s campaign.

• Investment expert: Robert Smith of Beachwood, president of Spero-Smith Investment Advisors Inc. in Cleveland.

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