The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has conflicts with its parent department, the U.S. Department of Labor, says Barbara Bovbjerg, an analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Bovbjerg writes about the relationship of the PBGC, the government corporation that insures U.S. defined benefit pension plans, with the Labor Department in a review of governance structure at the PBGC.
Although the PBGC is part of the Labor Department, the organization has a 3-member board that also includes the secretaries of Commerce and the Treasury.
In the past, the board has sometimes gone for years without holding formal meetings, Bovbjerg writes.
The board now meets twice a year, but the meetings are short, and the board members’ “board representatives” – officials at the assistant secretary level or higher who act as the cabinet secretaries’ liaisons to the PBGC–can provide little documentation of what happens during their meetings, Bovbjerg writes.
The cabinet secretaries each appoint one staff person to help the board representatives, but the board representatives and the staff people all have other responsibilities, Bovbjerg writes.
At one time, Bovbjerg notes, the secretary of Labor was both the chairman and administrator of the PBGC. Since the enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, the administrator of the PBGC has been a director who must be confirmed by the Senate.