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Five Named to 2011 ERISA Advisory Council

By SHRM Online staff  1/3/2011
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Five people have been appointed to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) 2011
Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans.

They will be part of a 15-member council that provides advice on policies and regulations affecting employee benefit plans governed by ERISA. Council members serve staggered three-year terms.

“I am excited about the group of new members selected to serve on the council and look forward to the contributions that they and the council’s new leadership will make,” said Hilda L. Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor, in announcing the appointments.

“The work of the council affects important issues concerning the retirement and health benefits of America’s workers, and I appreciate their willingness to serve,” she said in a news release.

The new members and the areas of expertise they will represent on the council are as follows:

  • Accounting: Marilee Lau. She has more than 30 years of experience with ERISA accounting and auditing issues and is immediate past chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center Executive Committee.

  • Employee organizations: Gary Thayer. He is counsel to Archer, Byington, Glennon & Levine LLP in Merrick, N.Y., where he represents multi-employer employee benefit funds and single-employer benefit funds on all aspects of regulatory and fiduciary compliance.

  • Insurance: Richard Turner has more than 20 years of experience providing ERISA compliance support. He is vice president and deputy counsel with Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co. in Houston and is a past chairman of the Pension Committee of the American Council of Life Insurers.

  • Employers: Karen Barnes. She has more than 30 years of experience in the employee benefits field. She is a managing counsel for the McDonald’s Corp. in Glen Ellyn, Ill., where she is responsible for employee benefit plan governance and compliance and is involved in strategic design and employee communications for all McDonald’s Corp. domestic retirement plans.

  • General public: Portia Wu. She is vice president of the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington, D.C., where she develops and advocates for policies to increase women’s and families’ economic security. She has served as chief labor and pensions counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Existing members Theda R. Haber and Mildeen Worrell will serve as the council’s chair and vice chair, respectively. Haber, whose term ends in 2011, is managing director at San Francisco-based BlackRock Inc., a financial services firm. Worrell, whose term expires in 2012, formerly served as benefits tax counsel to the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee staff.

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