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News Release

EBSA News Release: [12/17/2012]
Contact Name: Jason Surbey or Michael Trupo
Phone Number: (202) 693-4668 or x6588
Release Number: 12-2455-NAT

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announces new appointments, leadership for 2013 ERISA Advisory Council

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced the appointments of five new members to the 2013 Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans known as the ERISA Advisory Council. She also announced the incoming chair and vice chair of the council.

"The ERISA Advisory Council is integral to the department's work in enhancing and preserving the health and retirement benefits of America's workers," said Secretary Solis. "The exceptional professionals joining the 2013 council are uniquely qualified to help it accomplish its goals. Their expertise will be a valuable complement to the department's mission to protect workers' benefits."

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. Three members are representatives of employee organizations (at least one of whom represents an organization whose members are participants in a multiemployer plan). Three members are representatives of employers (at least one of whom represents employers maintaining or contributing to multiemployer plans). Three members are representatives of the general public. There is one representative each from the fields of insurance, corporate trust, actuarial counseling, investment counseling, investment management and accounting.

Current members Karen Kay Barnes and Neal Schelberg will serve as the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the council.

Barnes is a managing counsel in the legal department of McDonald's Corp. in Oak Brook, Ill. She is recognized as a leader in the 401(k) industry and has more than 30 years of experience in the employee benefits field.

Schelberg is a senior partner at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York. He serves as legal counsel to the boards of trustees for more than 50 multi-employer and single employer pension and welfare benefits plans. He has more than 30 years of experience in the employee benefits field as an attorney, author and professor.

The newly appointed members and the expertise they represent are:

Investment counseling: Josh Cohen is the defined contribution practice leader at Russell Investments in Chicago, Ill. He provides advice on fund selection, plan structure and participant support issues. He has authored numerous papers on defined contribution plan issues. He is a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Investment Analyst Society of Chicago.

Employers: Christina R. Cutlip is managing director and the head of plan sponsor service at TIAA-CREF in Fairfax, Va. She manages a team that works directly with nonprofit employers in the administration of their retirement and other welfare benefit plans. Cutlip has been active in the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources and the Council of Independent Colleges.

Actuarial consulting: Ronald Gebhardtsbauer is a professor in the actuarial science program of the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa. Previously, he held positions with the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, the American Academy of Actuaries, Mercer's New York City Retirement Practice and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

General public: Paul M. Secunda is a professor at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wis., and has authored books and articles on employee benefits law. He previously practiced labor law at two firms in Philadelphia, and is a past chair of the section on employee benefits and executive compensation of the Association of American Law Schools.

Employee organizations: James I. Singer is a partner at the Schuchat, Cook & Werner law firm in St. Louis, Mo. He counsels labor unions and multiemployer benefit plans on the operation and administration of plans, and on compliance with ERISA and the tax code. He also represents employees in claims against employee benefit plans. Singer has served as senior editor of "Employee Benefits Law."

For more information about the ERISA Advisory Council, visit