Wes Hataway, Director of the state Office of Workers’ Compensation for the last four years, has resigned effective Friday, January 30th, 2015.
In a letter to the Governor’s Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council, Hataway praised the staff of the Louisiana Workforce Commission and stated his desire for a smooth transition. Hataway wrote: “The last four years as Director of OWCA have been the most rewarding and satisfying of my career…what we have accomplished over the last several years has fundamentally improved our state’s workers’ compensation system.”
Hataway confirmed his resignation publicly to Louisiana Comp Blog on Wednesday explaining that he will pursue another career opportunity and that he has “truly enjoyed my tenure as Director.”
The workers’ comp community has reacted with regret for the loss but with nothing but positive notes to make for Hataway’s commitment to fairness and outreach.
Troy Prevot, Administrator of LCTA and Advisory Council member said, “There is now a big hole in the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Director Hataway served with distinction and operated his office in a fair and impartial way with a lot to show for it. His intelligence and humility made him the perfect ringleader in a difficult arena. I know he will bring that same level of leadership to his new destination. LCTA and I wish him all the best!”
Greg Hubachek, another Council member, echoed Prevot’s positive thoughts, “Wes was dedicated and worked hard as chairman of the governor’s Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC).”
Like many members of the Louisiana workers’ comp industry though, Hubachek lamented the division between the two “sides” of the system: employer/carrier and claimant, but opined that Hataway pushed the discussion in the right direction. “Unfortunately, it is difficult in today’s political climate to foster an environment of cooperation among the various stakeholders in the workers’ compensation system. For his part, Wes achieved a forum in the WCAC where all voices could be heard,” Hubachek said.
“As one of the minority who spoke out in defense of the injured citizen-employees of Louisiana,” Hubachek continued. “I appreciated Wes’s consistent recognition of the minority perspective. The past four years has been a particularly difficult period within which to be the helm of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration. Wes acquitted himself well and met all of the challenges presented to him.”
Baton Rouge-based defense attorney and frequent attendee of WCAC meetings, Kirk Landry, said simply, “Wes excelled in an often thankless job. His even handed and steady approach will be missed.”