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Lawmakers Press for Delay in Reorg of DOL Unit

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Lawmakers are urging the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, the division responsible for crafting the forthcoming Labor fiduciary rule, to delay a reorganization slated to take effect Oct. 1.

According to a Aug. 27 letter sent to EBSA employees by the unit’s head, Preston Rutledge, the move is an expansion and reorganization of EBSA’s leadership structure. “The new structure will provide expanded opportunity for career advancement, give the Regional Offices a greater voice in the National Office, and help ensure that enforcement activities are consistent nationwide,” Rutledge wrote.

In a Sept. 22 letter to Rutledge, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, asked Rutledge to delay the reorganization and to explain the rationale for the move.

“The proposed reorganization appears to be a meaningful structural change from the status quo, shifting authorities to EBSA’s politically appointed deputy and creating a new director position to oversee regional offices,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We have questions about the need and basis for this proposed reorganization and whether EBSA’s vital mission will be impaired.”

The lawmakers then requested that Rutledge delay the proposed reorganization “until Congress and interested stakeholders fully understand the rationale and ramifications of this proposed reorganization for the millions of workers, retirees and families EBSA serves.”

Scott and Murray also request in their letter that Rutledge answer a bevy of questions by Sept. 30, including the problem the proposed reorg is intended to solve.

According to Rutledge’s letter, EBSA is adding a new career deputy assistant secretary position, which will be responsible for regional office programs and operations. Tim Hauser, who’s been instrumental in crafting a Labor Department fiduciary rule, was tapped for the role.

— Check out Scalia Is Still in the DOL Fiduciary Rule Game on ThinkAdvisor.


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