Chair Column: CBA WORKERS' COMPENSATION SECTION ANNUAL REPORT - 2013-14 (and a quick flash forward to the 2014-15 bar year)

The 2013-14 bar year was a challenging and yet incredibly productive one for the Section. Truly historic events highlighted this year's campaign by our Section and its loyal members. In October, our Section celebrated the 100th year of the enactment of the Workers' Compensation Act by organizing and presenting the 14 substantive programs for the Workers' Compensation Commission's Symposium. The event, put together by the Chairman of the Commission, John A. Mastropietro, his staff, and a multidisciplinary planning committee, raised over $122,000.00 for the Disabled Workers' Scholarship Fund as a result of the contributions of sponsors with a nexus to the workers' compensation arena in Connecticut. This Fund will award ten scholarships to the children of injured workers unable to provide financial assistance due to their injuries and resultant loss of income. The event was a reflection of the dynamic ability of our Section members and will be remembered as one of the most defining moments in our proud history.

Our Bar year started with a historic event and also ended with a historic achievement. In May, the Section, after nearly three years of preparation and revision, was able to secure a favorable vote to accept new Bylaws. The previous Bylaws were installed in 1995. This effort spanned three terms and involved the hard work of the Bylaws Committee - chaired by Attorney Robert Bystrowski. Following an initial draft of our prior version and a subsequent meld with the CBA's own model Bylaws, the Executive Committee ultimately voted to approve the final version for submission to the Section for an approval vote. The Section responded by approving the final version by an overwhelming majority in favor of adoption.

The final version has key distinct elements that make it the best working document for our Section. One change from our prior version is that the Section will now require four (4) Section and four (4) Executive Committee meetings per year consistent with the CBA model version. While the Section will have no problem achieving this on a yearly basis given the programs we currently provide, the nomenclature will allow us to highlight the many meetings we already hold without formal designation. Also, the Executive Committee ultimately decided that our "Emeritus" members - past chairs and Executive Committee members that have served for 20 years or more, will be designated as voting members on the Executive Committee. This will provide our Section with great balance of newly appointed members with those who have served for a significant period and maintain a desire to remain active on the Executive Committee.

Our last hurdle will be to have the newly minted version adopted by the House of Delegates at the last meeting of the bar year (Connecticut Legal Conference - June 16, 2014). Once approved, the new Bylaws will also be on our Section web page for your review.

While these momentous achievements are highlight worthy, the Section has also done yeoman's work throughout the year that will be recognized in the Annual Report. You can find it (along with those snazzy new Bylaws) on the CBA's website and on our Workers' Compensation Section page.

As we flash forward, 2014-15 promises to be an exciting one as we have several substantive programs already in the works thanks to the efforts of our CLE Committee Chair, Attorney Joseph Passaretti. The Section is also prepared to launch a medical/legal cooperative to assist physicians and their staffs who treat workers' compensation patients. The Committee, co-chaired by Attorney Colette Griffin and Attorney Mike Kerin, will arrange for meetings throughout the state to educate physicians and staff members on relevant topics.

On behalf of my fellow Officers, I thank you for your contributions throughout the year and look forward to some rest over the summer...and then another great year for our Section in 2014-15.

Now off to coach baseball/softball. You know what they say...there is no offseason.