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Higher Education Labor Relations Board Members


Harriet E. Cooperman, Esq.

Harriet E. Cooperman, Esq., Chair, Annapolis

Ms. Cooperman is a member of the Baltimore firm of Saul Ewing LLP and chairs its Labor, Employment, and Employee Benefits Practice Group.  Ms. Cooperman has served on related ABA and MSBA committees based on her experience representing both labor and management, and also has taught labor law and employment discrimination law as an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  She previously served as Vice Chair of this Board before taking the Chair position in January of 2020.

Karl K. Pence, Chair

Karl K. Pence,  Hollywood

Mr. Pence is a teacher in the St. Mary’s County Public School system.  He previously served as the President of the Maryland State Teachers Association and was the first Executive Director of the Higher Education Labor Relations Board, in addition to serving as the Board’s third Chair.

Milton Lawler, Ph.D., Oxon Hill

Dr. Milton Lawler currently serves as President and CEO of Ashante Fe Education Limited and Executive Director of Maryland Institute of Language and Technology and El Shaddai Outreach Temple, Inc. He has over twenty years of experience in higher education and nonprofits.  He has worked at the Pentagon having served as Chief, Personnel and Manpower Management (he was responsible for graduate education management, professional military education, and reserve officer training corps cadets).  Dr. Lawler is a graduate of the Strayer University (Information Systems), University of Maryland University College (minor Personnel and Labor Relations), Webster University (Management) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Human Development). He served as professor, campus chief administrative officer, and campus dean with Strayer University where he taught research, business (with courses on human resources (with included employee and labor relations)), information systems, and education courses at the graduate level.  He also managed professional development and career development offices in the United States Air Force and at Strayer University.


Benfred B. Alston, Esq., Vice Chair, Catonsville

Mr. Alston has been in private practice since 1989 and is a partner with the law firm of Alston & Byrd in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Alston is a graduate of Morgan State University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Baltimore Law School. His law practice focuses on civil rights, business transactions and government. In December 2021, Mr. Alston was selected by fellow Board members to serve as the Board’s Vice Chair.

Erin J. Roth, Baltimore

Erin Roth currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning. In this role, she helps lead the division, which oversees a budget of approximately $110 million of federal and state funds and 460 employees. Throughout her tenure with the Department, Ms. Roth has led major initiatives and innovations for the state’s workforce system, working closely with the higher education system, to ensure businesses and job seekers have the opportunities and support needed to thrive in today’s economy. Roth holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from Loyola University Maryland, a Master’s in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University and is a graduate and board member of Leadership Maryland.

Information about requirements, appointments and terms for the Board members can be found here.