John Black is Chair of the Firm's Labor department and a member of the Firm's Government Relations department. Prior to joining Hinman Straub in 2005, Mr. Black was general counsel to the New York State and local retirement systems in the Office of the State Comptroller, where he served as Lead Counsel in two pension raid lawsuits. The first, McDermott v Regan, resulted in a favorable Court of Appeals decision. The second, McCall v New York State, resulted in a negotiated settlement with the governor and Legislature after a favorable decision at the appellate division. Mr. Black successfully lobbied for many public retirement benefits, including the first ever cost of living adjustment for public employees in New York. He has also obtained favorable private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service relating to the taxability of public pension benefits and the establishment of the first excess benefit plan for a public pension plan in the Unites States. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section and a former member of the Broadband Tax Institute, Government Finance Officers' Association and the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys.