After waiting 40 minutes at an awards ceremony, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s missing participants location team almost had to start combing the streets of Washington for the master of ceremonies, Vice President Al Gore.
"I was wondering if you'd be coming after me," Mr. Gore said.
The PBGC team was one of several from federal agencies receiving Mr. Gore's coveted National Review Hammer Award. The award is given to agencies that are complying with Mr. Gore's request to shave off excess costs and simplify procedures and to make the agency more effective.
The PBGC won the award for its efforts to try and find participants who should be receiving benefits.
When the PBGC takes over an underfunded pension plan, the records are sometimes outdated or incomplete. This means that rightful pensioners may not get their benefits because of faulty records. Of the 15,000 missing participants in 1994, the PBGC's location team has found the addresses of 12,000 and is checking out the addresses and finding the participants. Already through the program, the agency has found thousands of missing participants, an agency spokeswoman said.
The PBGC used mass mailings, commercial data bases from credit reporting agencies, commercial locator services and other means to find these missing participants.