The Board of Directors of the Fund are appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be chosen upon nomination of the president of the senate; one of whom shall be chosen upon nomination of the speaker of the assembly; one of whom shall be chosen upon nomination of the chair of the workers' compensation board; one of whom shall be chosen on nomination of the superintendent of insurance; one of whom shall be chosen on nomination of the AFL-CIO; and four of whom shall be chosen without prior nomination, at least two of which shall be a livery registrant or owner, officer or director of a livery base or livery registrant.
The Board of Directors
Dr. Avik Kabessa (Chairman)
Dr. Avik Kabessa is the pre-eminent leader of the New York City livery industry. His tireless efforts to ensure that the livery industry has thrived through both good and bad economic times has lead Dr. Kabessa to become to voice of the most important sector of the private transportation network in the City of New York. He was confirmed by Governor David Paterson to serve on the Livery Fund Board and elected by the Board of Directors to be its Chairman. Dr. Kabessa has over 25 years of hands on experience in the for-hire transportation business. He was instrumental convincing the New York State Legislature of the need to solve the decades old dilemma of whether to provide livery drivers with workers compensation benefits and was a key figure in drafting the legislation that ultimately became Article 6-G of the Executive Law (the "Livery Fund Law"). In addition to serving as Chairman of the NYILDBF, Dr. Kabessa is also the CEO of Carmel Car and Limousine Service. Carmel has been one of the leading providers in ground transportation services in New York City for over 25 years. Dr. Kabessa's vast knowledge of the for-hire vehicle industry in New York provides the Fund with unparalleled experience in the industry that the Livery Fund serves.
Alan Plafker (Treasurer)
Alan Plafker was nominated to serve on the Livery Fund Board by the New York State President of the Senate. He is Vice President of Garber Atlas Fries and Associates, in Oceanside, NY. He has been active in the Insurance business over40 years and has served the industry in many capacities, most recently as President of the NY Professional Insurance Agents Association (PIA), where he continues to be an active member of the board. Over the years, he has served in many other insurance industry leadership positions, committees, and Agent Councils. He is also on t the board of directors of a public company, and has commercial lending certifications and experience in the financial industry. He is a licensed Insurance Broker and Agent in multiple states, and completed the requirements to earn the designations Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA). He started his insurance career in 1978 with the family business at Industrial Brokerage Corp. in Lynbrook, NY. He graduated from Adelphi University in 1980 with a degree in business administration. Mr. Plafker's knowledge of the insurance industry provides the Fund with the well needed experience in this field.
James Conigliaro, Sr. (Vice Chair)
His career began as a maintenance mechanic for United Parcel Service in 1977, but he quickly distinguished himself as a union leader. From shop steward to organizer to business agent, Conigliaro rose through the ranks of Local Lodge 447, District 15’s largest and most active lodge and one of the largest in the IAM. In 1993, he was elected Assistant Directing Business Representative for District 15, and in 2003, he assumed the leadership of this important labor organization. Conigliaro’s groundbreaking efforts on behalf of the largely immigrant “black car” driver workforce is just one example of his superb organizational and political skills. District 15 successfully organized NYC “black car” drivers and worked closely with other unions in a campaign to bring the benefits and protections of union contracts to other area livery drivers. As a result of these efforts, former New York Governor George Pataki appointed Conigliaro to the Governor’s Task Force on Independent Contractors. In addition, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver appointed Conigliaro to serve on the Board of the New York Black Car Operators Injury Compensation Fund – a Fund created to provide workers compensation benefits to previously uncovered black car drivers. In addition to his responsibilities to the membership of District 15, Conigliaro is an Executive Board Member of the NYC Central Labor Council, Vice President of the New York State AFL-CIO, and President of the New York State Council of Machinists.
James Conigliaro, Sr. was the Directing Business Representative of District Lodge 15 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO. District 15 from 2003 through 2015. Mr. Conigliario became a Trustee of the IAM National Pension Fund in April 2015 and then General Vice President of the IAM effective August 1, 2015, serving in the office of the General Secretary-Treasurer. Effective August 1, 2016, Mr. Conligliaro is the General Vice President of the IAM's Eastern Territory.
Monte Almer was nominated to serve on the Livery Fund Board by the New York State Superintendent of Insurance. Monte retired from the New York Workers' Comp Insurance Rating Board ("NYCIRB") where he was the President for over 25 years. The New York State Insurance Department is an agency that regulates the insurance industry. In conjunction with the New York Workers' Compensation Law, the Insurance Law provides for the Superintendent of Insurance to designate a rate service organization to collect the loss, premium and payroll data from each carrier, summarize this information and develop an adequate rate structure. Since the enactment of the Workers' Compensation Law in 1914, the NYCIRB has been licensed as the official organization for this purpose. As the New York rate service organization with a single dedication and focus, the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board has more than 100 years of experience in understanding the workers compensation insurance coverage and underwriting of the New York market. While Mr. Almer served as President, he directed the operations of the NYCIRB, managed all functions and supervised a staff of over 150 employees. Mr. Almer also functioned as a liaison between member insurance carriers and the State Insurance Department in preparing and presenting rule and policy changes for Workers' Compensation. Prior to becoming President of the NYCIRB, Mr. Almer served as Vice President and Actuary for over 10 years. Mr. Almer graduated from SUNY at Stony Brook with a degree in mathematics and subsequently graduated from Temple University with an MBA in Actuarial Sciences.
Mr. Thomas has over 30 years of hands on experience in the field of Workers' Compensation. His experience includes the Claims, Compliance and Medical Bureau Department. Before Mr. Thomas retired, he was the Chief of Investigations for the New York State Workers' Compensation Board.
Scott Harms was nominated to serve on the Livery Fund Board by the chairman of the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. Scott currently represents the Workers’ Compensation Board of the State of New York as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel, Litigation Division, dealing primarily with complex regulatory and litigation matters involving compliance with the Workers’ Compensation Law. He also acts as the attorney for the Workers’ Compensation Board on various matters involving the Livery Fund. He has extensive experience handling complex litigation matters including conducting trials, hearings and arguing appeals. Scott has previously worked for the New York State Department of Financial Services in the Health Bureau, had his own private law practice and worked for a large insurance defense firm. He holds a BBA in accounting from Siena College and received his JD from Albany Law School. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.
Steven J. Shanker, Esq.
Steven Shanker was appointed by the Board of Directors to serve as General Counsel for the Livery Fund. The primary objective of a General Counsel is to not only advise the Board of Directors, but to ensure that the company is operating within the bounds of the law at all times. Mr. Shanker began his career as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York in the Workers' Compensation Division. He has defended the City of New York in thousands of cases in all phases of litigation of workers' compensation claims filed by City employees. In his role as the senior partner in The Shanker Law Firm, P.C., Mr. Shanker has become the leading lawyer in the Taxi and Limousine industry in New York City. He has become the "trusted advisor" to the livery industry. No other law firm in New York City is as steeped in the legal and operational issues that affect the Livery industry. Mr. Shanker's practice in the car service industry spans from corporate formation, workers compensation defense, asset and purchase agreements, trademark protection, contracts, personal injury defense, risk management, government regulation and other commercial litigation. Mr. Shanker is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, State of New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Mr. Shanker also serves as Counsel to the Firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP a multi-state law firm with over 300 lawyers that primarily focuses on counseling and representing insurance carriers.
Questions for the Board
If you would like to ask a question or voice a concern, fill out the form below and one of our staff members will get back to you.