Solis Announces New Appointments, Leadership for 2011 ERISA Advisory Council

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently announced the appointments of five new members to the 2011 Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans--known as the ERISA Advisory Council. She also announced the appointment of the incoming chair and vice chair of the council.

"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," Solis said. "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."

The 15-member council provides advice on policies and regulations affecting employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. By law, members of the council serve for staggered three-year terms.

Existing members Theda R. Haber and Mildeen Worrell will serve, respectively, as chair and vice chair of the council. The newly appointed members and the expertise they represent are:

  • Accounting: Marilee Lau from Kentfield, Calif., has more than 30 years of experience with ERISA accounting and auditing issues. She serves on the Accountants Committee for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and is the immediate past chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center Executive Committee.
  • Employee organizations: Gary Thayer 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 serves as vice president and deputy counsel with Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co. in Houston, Texas. He has more than 20 years of experience providing ERISA compliance support and is a past chairman of the Pension Committee of the American Council of Life Insurers.
  • Employers: Karen Barnes 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. She has more than 30 years of experience in the employee benefits field.
  • General public: Portia Wu 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. Previously, she served as chief labor and pensions counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
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