Monday, September 5, 2011
The Segal Company conducted the actuarial analysis of the Postal Service's pensions. Mr. Levy's testimony will likely cover the conclusions of that report. Given the primary focus of Segal Company, he may also be asked questions about actuarial issues relating to the Postal Service's retiree healthcare obligations.
Mr. Levy's appearance is designed to provide a legislative record to support the Senate Committee's legislative proposal. As he will likely testify that changes to retiree obligations is logical and in concordance with actuarial standards, this would suggest that the Committee will likely include legislative changes that follow actuarial standards.
The Senate Committee's choice of witnesses shows a contrast with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The House Committee, in the last Congress had Jonathan Foley, Director of Planning and Policy Analysis, U.S. Office of Personnel Management testify in which he testified that OPM did not have the authority to change formulas used to calculate the Postal Service's obligations for retiree benefits. The report of the Inspector General of the Office of Personnel Management which came out in February 2011,was entered into the record at a hearing held in the current Congress. This report of the Inspector General of the Office of Personnel Management reinforces the impression that the primary concern of the House Committee is supporting the interests of the Office of Personnel Management over that of the Postal Service. With this position set, the Issa-Ross bill therefore uses increased Postal Service debt to ensure that the Office of Personnel Management's financial interests are not adjusted. [Italizized edits made 9/6/11 10:52 to clarify when OPM testified]
By the end of the hearing tomorrow, postal stakeholders should be clear that there will be two drastically different bills for solving the Postal Service's financial problems. With only a limited number of legislative days between now and October 1, 2011, a path to agreement appears difficult at best.
Posted by Alan Robinson at 12:21 PM