Need for Overall Policy and Coordinated Management of Federal Retirement Systems (Volumes I & II)

FPCD-78-49: Published: Dec 29, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 19, 1979.

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At the request of three House committee/subcommittee chairmen, GAO studied the desirability of establishing a mechanism to provide coordinated management of all retirement systems for Federal personnel in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Federal retirement programs have not received the management attention they deserve. The lack of overall Federal retirement policies has resulted in a patchwork of systems providing different benefits to various groups of employees. Based on this review, GAO believes a centralized focus on retirement matters would help assure that the system develops on a consistent and financially sound basis. No need was found for each retirement system to have its own independent administrator and separate congressional committee responsible for its oversight and legislative changes. GAO does not agree that preferential or special treatment being afforded many Federal personnel is justified or should be continued. In addition to the differences in benefit provisions, there are significant differences in the methods by which the systems are costed and funded. If all Federal employees are to be covered by consistent retirement provisions, a decision must be made on whether social security should be part of their retirement plan. The future development of the Government's retirement systems should be guided by principles and objectives embodied in an overall, coherent, Federal retirement policy.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The appropriate committees of Congress should hold hearings to evaluate in depth the issues raised in this report and to set in motion actions necessary to establish an overall Federal retirement policy and a mechanism for coordinating the management of Federal retirement systems. The necessary action would include: (1) establishment of Federal Retirement Policy which outlines the principles, objectives and standards to be followed in providing retirement benefits to military and civilian personnel; (2) a review of existing systems to determine the extent to which they need changes to conform to set established policy, including consolidation of systems wherever practical; (3) adoption of actuarial evaluation methods and funding provisions that reflect the full cost of accuring retirement benefits; (4) development of eligibility criteria for participation in a Federal retirement system; (5) centralization of committee jurisdiction over retirement matter to better assure consistent application of policy. GAO believes the establishment of a permanent, independent board with authority and responsibility for monitoring the development, improvement, and administration of Federal retirement systems is necessary.


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