Tuesday, August 15, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today named Mark Liotta as chairman of the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. Liotta, a former state representative from Tulsa, succeeds Robert Gilliland, whose term on the commission expires Aug. 25.
Liotta’s appointment as chairman takes effect Aug. 26. He has completed two years of a six-year term; he was appointed by the governor on the recommendation of former House Speaker Jeff Hickman.
“Mark is aware of the critical role the Workers’ Compensation Commission has in our state,” said Fallin. “During his time on the commission, he has worked hard so our system is saving businesses hundreds of millions of dollars, and injured workers are being treated fairly, getting help, and getting back to work quickly.
“In his professional career, Mark has shown a remarkable ability to bring order, effectiveness and harmony to complicated systems,” she said. “His efforts at the Workers’ Compensation Commission have steadied the management of a new state agency, and he has been instrumental in improving the administrative structure and work product of the commission. He has also shown restraint and strict adherence to statutory guidelines in his decisions in the appellate work of the commission.”
Liotta, of Sapulpa, was serving as chief deputy to the Tulsa County Board of County Commissioners and as chairman of the Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board, which used to be known as OSEEGIB, the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board, when the governor appointed him to the Workers’ Compensation Commission in April 2015.
Liotta owns a 40-acre cow/calf operation in Creek County. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Nazarene University in Tulsa. He is chairman of the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council, and is a board member of the Oklahoma Israel Exchange (OKIE).
“I am fortunate to have the governor’s confidence, and I intend to continue the commission in the direction we have taken over the last two years,” Liotta said. “Our goal is to provide unbiased, nonpolitical decisions based solely on the law and the evidence presented, while completing efficient and predictable docketing and adjudication of cases.”
During 2016, the Workers’ Compensation Commission continued to see a drastic reduction in the number of claims, compared with 2012, the last year its predecessor, the Workers’ Compensation Court, reported its number of cases. The commission in 2016 also saw an increase in the percentage of cases being handled without costly trials.
From 2008 to 2012, Oklahoma’s net five-year premium level ranked as worst in the country with a 19.8 percent increase, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). However, from 2012 to 2016, Oklahoma led the nation with a 34.3 percent decrease in net five-year premium rates, according to the NCCI.
Additionally, Oklahoma businesses since 2013 have seen a reduction of 30 percent in their premium costs.
Liotta served seven years as an infantry officer in Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry Brigade, where he commanded mortar and rifle platoons. From 1996 to 2006, he was elected to five terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he served as chairman of the House Republican caucus, appropriations chairman for general government and transportation, and a presiding officer of the House floor.
He gained his workers’ compensation experience working 18 years for MESA Products and MESA Corrosion Control, a Tulsa-based construction/manufacturing/technical services firm serving the pipeline and petroleum storage industry. Liotta worked in all aspects of the business, and managed the workers’ compensation and safety programs as its human resources manager.
Legislation that established the Workers’ Compensation Commission calls for the governor to appoint all three members, with one appointment recommended by the speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
The Oklahoma Worker’s Compensation Commission was created in 2013, and started operations Feb. 1, 2014. The legislation also changed the name of the former state’s workers’ compensation court to the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims, which deals with cases filed before Feb. 1, 2014.