Working for Workers

Nia Enemuoh-Trammell talks workers' compensation and other Madison biz happenings

With the Budget Repair Bill dominating the news, there have been many questions asked about the role of state employees. While the debate rages on, the stories of people who work in the public sector are often never shared.

Take Nia Enemuoh-Trammell. She’s an administrative law judge for Wisconsin Workers Compensation, the nation’s first compensation program, enacted in 1911, that serves as an international model. Its main functions are to keep litigation costs down by monitoring compliance with the Workers Compensation Act and to oversee the time-liness and accuracy of payments related to the 30,000-plus work-place injuries annually reported.

In about ten percent of those cases, a legitimate dispute requires an administrative law hearing conducted by Enemuoh-Trammell or a colleague to rule on evidence, review and then adjudicate the rights of parties through written orders. It’s a very efficient system that in recent years has seen almost $800 million annually in wage loss and medical expenses. What makes the program so unique is that judges and staff are available to take questions from claimants, employers and insurance companies every day.

Enemuoh-Trammell worked at a prominent law firm for nine years before switching gears for the opportunity to work with colleagues who share her passion and have a sense of civil service that transcends personal ambitions and gain. “So many people gave so much to me growing up. Now it’s my turn,” she says.

Enemuoh-Trammell also works with families and the courts on child abuse issues as a court-appointed special advocate. In her spare time she volunteers for Girls on the Run, a ten-week program for third- to eighth-grade girls that preaches healthy life choices, self esteem and endurance, and culminates in a 5K run.

The Vitals

• Born in Nigeria, came to Wisconsin in 1976
• President, Madison Equal Opportunity Commission
• Volunteer, Dane County Court-Appointed Special Advocates
• Volunteer, Girls on the Run
• Past member, Commercial Litigation Group

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The Breakdown

HISTORY OF DISTINCTION
Congratulations to the 2011 YWCA Women of Distinction award recipients Anne Hartwig, Gloria Hawkins, Marion Morgan, Fabiola Hamdan and Lisa Kvistad. They are now members of an impressive class of women, 185 people strong, who have been recognized since 1974. To this year’s honorees: You truly exemplify the mission of the YWCA to empower women and eliminate racism.

BETTER BUSINESS
I think it’s great that Google has chosen Madison as a test city for its new Hotspot restaurant and business website, which will allow users to rate and review area establishments. Could it signal the beginning of a trend to help break the stereotype of Madison being unfriendly to businesses?

MORAL OF THE STORY
With everything that’s happened politically in this community and state over the past few months, I hope that we have learned two
valuable lessons: The importance of asking the tough questions of candidates and holding them responsible, and making your voices heard at the ballot box.

Derrell Connor hosts “Outreach” on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA, pens a column for Channel 3000 and freelances for Madison Magazine.

Read more columns by Derrell Connor here

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