The Employee Benefits Security Administration will be reorganized effective Oct. 1 with the creation of another deputy assistant secretary position.
Preston Rutledge, the assistant secretary of labor who leads EBSA, told staff in an Aug. 27 email that the agency will soon have three deputy assistant secretaries who report directly to him instead of the two in place today. Additionally, oversight responsibilities will be allocated differently among the deputy assistant secretaries.
Traditionally, the two EBSA assistant secretaries were split between a political appointee and a member of the career staff, an Aug. 30 brief from the Groom Law Group noted.
The new position — deputy assistant secretary for regional offices — will be filled by a career staffer, a Labor Department spokesman said in an email.
Regional offices have historically maintained significant independence and regional directors have had wide latitude in opening investigations and interpreting the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to determine if there have been violations, according to the Groom brief.
"The impact of this reorganization remains to be seen," the Groom brief said. "However, it appears intended to, among other things, bring more uniformity in their interpretations and enforcement activities on complex and emerging issues."
Currently, Jeanne Klinefelter Wilson, EBSA's deputy assistant secretary for policy, is the political appointee, while Timothy D. Hauser, a career staffer, serves as deputy assistant secretary for program operations.
Effective Oct. 1, Ms. Wilson will oversee the office of exemption determinations and the office of regulations and interpretations. Mr. Hauser will oversee the office of enforcement, the office of technology and information services, and the office of outreach, education and assistance, according to the Groom brief.
Ms. Wilson will keep her title while Mr. Hauser will become deputy assistant secretary for the national office, according to the Labor Department spokesman.