FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Family Law
Daily family law case summaries, brought to you by FindLaw.com.
Daily family law case summaries, brought to you by FindLaw.com.
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 235 (Wednesday, December 7, 2016)] [Proposed Rules] [Pages 88147-88167] From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] [FR Doc
OSHA Federal Register
What GAO Found GAO found (1) the Office of Financial Stability (OFS) financial statements for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2016, and 2015, are presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles; (2) OFS maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting for TARP as of September 30, 2016; and (3) no reportable noncompliance for fiscal year 2016 with provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements GAO tested. In commenting on a draft of this report, OFS stated that it is proud to receive an unmodified opinion on its financial statements and its internal control over financial reporting. OFS also stated that it is committed to maintaining the high standards and transparency reflected in these audit results. What GAO Did This Study The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) that authorized TARP on October 3, 2008, includes a provision for TARP, which is implemented by OFS, to annually prepare and submit to Congress and the public audited fiscal year financial statements that are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. EESA further states that GAO shall audit TARP’s financial statements annually. For more information, contact Cheryl E. Clark at (202) 512-3406 or email@example.com.
TARP and Problems in Financial Markets
What GAO Found The Department of Defense (DOD) and the military departments have established roles and responsibilities for senior business transformation positions, such as Chief Management Officers (CMOs) and Deputy CMOs (DCMOs), who are responsible for business transformation efforts—actions to increase the efficiency of or to decrease the costs associated with DOD’s business functions, such as acquisitions and logistics. However, DOD has had challenges retaining individuals in some positions, as shown in the figure. Turnover in Chief Management Officer (CMO) and Deputy CMO (DCMO) Positions since 2010 DOD and the military departments have issued strategic or business transformation plans, but DOD has not coordinated with the military departments to align their strategic planning efforts for business transformation with those of the department. For example, the military department CMOs or DCMOs do not have a defined role in DOD’s strategic planning process to develop department-wide business transformation goals and objectives. Further, DOD has not aligned the military departments’ goals and objectives to those of the department in DOD’s Agency Strategic Plan. Leading practices for results-oriented management state that goals should align throughout an organization. In doing so, DOD would be better positioned to ensure that the military departments’ strategic planning—as well as goals and objectives—directly contribute to those of the department. The DOD DCMO has used DOD’s principal business governance forum—the Defense Business Council—to monitor some department-wide business transformation efforts, but has not effectively monitored the military departments’ performance on business transformation efforts. For example, defense business systems certification and approval initiatives were the most frequently discussed forum items since October 2015, while military department performance on business transformation efforts were not discussed. The DOD DCMO instead relied on the military departments to conduct their own performance monitoring. GAO found that the Council’s charter does not specifically outline its responsibility for monitoring the military departments’ performance. Without improved department-wide monitoring, DOD may not be well-positioned to assess the overall impact of its efforts to achieve business transformation. Why GAO Did This Study While DOD maintains military forces with unparalleled capabilities, it continues to confront management weaknesses related to its business functions that support these forces. GAO designated DOD’s approach to business transformation as high risk in 2005 because DOD had not taken steps to achieve business reform on a strategic, department-wide basis. This report (1) describes the roles and responsibilities established by DOD and the military departments for overseeing business transformation and the continuity of leadership in senior business transformation positions, (2) assesses the extent to which DOD has coordinated with the military departments to align strategic planning efforts for business transformation, and (3) evaluates the extent to which the DOD DCMO has used the Defense Business Council to effectively monitor department-wide performance. GAO reviewed documentation, including summaries from Defense Business Council meetings, and interviewed cognizant officials. What GAO Recommends GAO recommends that DOD define a role for the military department CMOs or DCMOs in DOD’s strategic planning process, and align DOD’s and the military departments’ goals and objectives for business transformation in its Agency Strategic Plan. GAO also recommends that DOD take action to improve its monitoring of the military departments’ performance. DOD concurs with GAO’s recommendations. For more information, contact Zina D. Merritt at (202) 512-5257, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WASHINGTON – To ensure that the U.S. workforce development system serves all people equally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center issued a final rule today updating the existing nondiscrimination and equal opportunity regulations of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
“America works best when we field a full team and our nation’s workforce system should reflect our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “This new rule provides the entire workforce system with important clarity on how to protect workers from discrimination based on disability, pregnancy, national origin and limited English proficiency, gender identity and other factors.”
WIOA mandates the department to issue regulations to implement Section 188 of the law, the provisions that require equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the workforce development system. The section prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or political affiliation or belief. For beneficiaries, applicants and participants only, the act also prohibits discrimination related to citizenship status or because an individual participates in a program or activity receiving financial assistance under Title I of WIOA.
This final rule contains changes necessary to address developments in equal opportunity and nondiscrimination law since the substantive provisions of the rule were last updated in 1999. The rule also revises procedures and processes for enforcement of the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions to reflect changes in the practices of recipients, including the use of computer-based and Internet-based systems to provide aid, benefits, services and training through WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs and activities.
Significant changes include:
The changes make the rule easier to understand and follow, ultimately improving integration and inclusion of every community into the workforce development system. The rule will protect access to the system in particular for people with disabilities; people with limited English proficiency; transgender individuals; and individuals who are pregnant, have had a child, or have related medical conditions.
The rule goes into effect on Jan. 3, 2017, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. More information can be found on the Civil Rights Center’s website at www.dol.gov/crc/188rule.
As part of the Department of Labor’s continuing efforts to grow apprenticeship programs abroad, Secretary Perez traveled to Argentina earlier this week to meet with businesses, union leaders and government officials about the role apprenticeship can play in expanding opportunity for young people. #ApprenticeshipWorks for employees and businesses worldwide – especially when it […]
U.S. Department of Labor Blog
What GAO Found GAO found that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collects information on the use of the Nursing Home Compare website, which was developed with the goal of assisting consumers in finding and comparing nursing home quality information. CMS uses three standard mechanisms for collecting website information—website analytics, website user surveys, and website usability tests. These mechanisms have helped identify potential improvements to the website, such as adding information explaining how to use the website. However, GAO found that CMS does not have a systematic process for prioritizing and implementing these potential improvements. Rather, CMS officials described a fragmented approach to reviewing and implementing recommended website changes. Federal internal control standards require management to evaluate appropriate actions for improvement. Without having an established process to evaluate and prioritize implementation of improvements, CMS cannot ensure that it is fully meeting its goals for the website. GAO also found that several factors inhibit the ability of CMS’s Five-Star Quality Rating System (Five-Star System) to help consumers understand nursing home quality and choose between high- and low- performing homes, which is CMS’s primary goal for the system. For example, the ratings were not designed to compare nursing homes nationally, limiting the ability of the rating system to help consumers who live near state borders or have multistate options. In addition, the Five-Star System does not include consumer satisfaction survey information, leaving consumers to make nursing home decisions without this important information. As a result, CMS cannot ensure that the Five-Star System fully meets its primary goal. Example of Missing Information Affecting a Consumer’s Nursing Home Decision Why GAO Did This Study Approximately 15,600 nursing homes participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs provide care to 1.4 million residents each year. To help consumers make informed choices about nursing homes, CMS developed the Nursing Home Compare website, and on the site made available the Five-Star System, which rates homes on quality components. GAO was asked to assess the website and rating system as tools for consumers. GAO examined (1) the information CMS collects about the use of Nursing Home Compare, including its usefulness to consumers, and potential areas, if any, to improve the website, and (2) the extent to which the Five-Star System enables consumers to understand nursing home quality and make distinctions between homes. GAO reviewed CMS documents and interviewed CMS officials and national and a non-generalizable sample of state-level stakeholders from four states, selected on factors such as size. GAO also analyzed Five-Star System and consumer complaint data, and analyzed resident satisfaction data from two of the four selected states. What GAO Recommends GAO is making four recommendations, including, that CMS establish a process to evaluate and prioritize website improvements, add information to the Five-Star System that allows homes to be compared nationally, and evaluate the feasibility of adding consumer satisfaction data. HHS agreed with three of GAO’s recommendations, but did not agree to add national comparison information. GAO maintains this is important information, as discussed in the report. For more information, contact A. Nicole Clowers at (202) 512-7114 or email@example.com.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Keith F. Higgins, Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, plans to leave the SEC in early January.
Since joining the SEC in June 2013, Mr. Higgins led the Division’s implementation of significant rulemaking and other responsibilities under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). He also oversaw the Division’s program to review the securities filings of thousands of issuers each year to facilitate capital formation and ensure that investors receive full and fair disclosure about the public companies in which they invest, and guided the Division’s efforts to provide interpretive advice to market participants about their obligations under the federal securities laws.
“Keith has brought tremendous energy and expertise to the Division of Corporation Finance’s mission to protect investors and facilitate capital formation,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “He led our extensive rulemaking efforts and has charted a course to make our disclosure system more effective for investors and companies.”
Mr. Higgins said, “It has been an honor to serve under Chair White and to have led the Division of Corporation Finance’s talented and committed staff. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish to enhance the agency’s disclosure program, protect investors, and promote capital formation. I will always be grateful for this experience.”
As Director, Mr. Higgins directed the Division’s disclosure effectiveness project. The goal of this initiative is to comprehensively review the Commission’s disclosure requirements and make recommendations on how to update them to facilitate timely, material, and more meaningful disclosure by companies to their shareholders. The initiative has already led to a number of notable products, including:
Mr. Higgins also oversaw the completion of all rulemakings directed by the JOBS Act, including adoption of final rules to:
Recently, he oversaw the effort that led to the Commission’s adoption of new rules to facilitate intrastate and regional securities offerings under Rules 147 and 504. He also directed several major rulemaking initiatives under the Dodd-Frank Act, including those related to executive compensation matters and the Commission’s adoption of final rules for asset-backed securities and risk retention.
Mr. Higgins led efforts to implement the FAST Act, which among other things resulted in rulemakings to permit summary information in Form 10-K and to permit emerging growth companies to take advantage of simplified requirements in certain registration statements, as well as the submission to Congress of a staff report on disclosure simplification and modernization. He also oversaw the recent rulemaking to propose an increase to the financial thresholds used in the smaller reporting company definition and to propose proxy rules to require parties in contested director elections to provide shareholders with universal proxy cards that include the names of all board nominees. During Mr. Higgins’ tenure, the Division also issued significant guidance on proxy advisory firms, shareholder proposals, general solicitation and non-GAAP financial measures.
Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Higgins practiced law for more than 30 years at Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, where he advised public companies and other market participants on securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, compliance and corporate governance.
Upon Mr. Higgins’ departure, Shelley Parratt, Deputy Director for the Division of Corporation Finance, will become the acting Director. Ms. Parratt has served previously as acting Director.
Ms. Parratt has served as Deputy Director of the Division since 2003, and has been responsible for assisting in strategic planning and developing Division policies and procedures and overseeing the disclosure review program.
Ms. Parratt came to the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance in 1986. She received her M.B.A. from Syracuse University and her B.A. from St. Lawrence University.
Based on an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, the department has filed a complaint alleging that the fiduciaries of the Storms & Lowe 401(k) Plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when they improperly withdrew more than $ 166,000 in plan assets and when they also improperly withheld more than $ 64,000 in employee contributions and participant loan payments from employees’ pay and failed to timely remit them to the plan. Specifically, the complaint alleges that fiduciaries Storms & Lowe Associates Inc., and owners Roger Aguilera and James Manning, engaged in self-dealing and improperly withdrew $ 166,395 in plan assets and used them for non-plan purposes. On or about June 2012, the plan’s fiduciaries improperly authorized the plan’s trust custodian to wire all funds in the amount of $ 166,395 from the plan’s account to a company account. Two corporate checks totaling $ 166,395 were subsequently issued directly to Aguilera and Manning. More than $ 123,000 has neither been restored to the plan by the fiduciaries nor paid to plan participants. According to the lawsuit, the fiduciaries of the Los Angeles-based mechanical, electrical and plumbing consulting engineering services corporation also failed to timely remit approximately $ 55,000 in employee contributions and $ 9,700 in participant loan payments to the plan from January 2008 through at least October 2008. Instead, they allowed the funds to commingle with the general assets of the company. To date, over $ 41,000 in employee contributions and loan repayments have neither been repaid to participants nor restored to the 401(k) plan.
2015 EBSA News Releases
What GAO Found During fiscal years 2005 through 2014, the federal government obligated at least $ 277.6 billion across 17 federal departments and agencies for disaster assistance programs and activities. This estimate constitutes total obligations identifiable to disaster activities across three categories: the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), disaster-specific programs and activities identified across the 17 departments and agencies, and disaster-applicable programs and activities across the 17 departments and agencies (see figure). Federal Disaster Assistance Obligations during Fiscal Years 2005 through 2014 Note: An obligation is a definite commitment that creates a legal liability of the government for the payment of goods and services ordered or received. Obligations reported for some disaster-specific and disaster-applicable programs and activities contain estimates. GAO’s inclusion of estimated data in aggregated totals contributes to an approximation of a government-wide total. The estimate of $ 277.6 billion represents a minimum and not the total amount of disaster assistance spending by the federal government during fiscal years 2005 through 2014 because relevant obligations for some programs and activities are not separately tracked or are not available. Specifically, GAO found that more than half of the 17 departments and agencies in the scope of this review reported that obligations for certain disaster assistance programs or activities during this time frame are not separately tracked or are not available, for various reasons. For example, 5 departments and agencies reported that some disaster assistance programs or activities are not separately tracked because spending related to these activities is generally subsumed by a department’s general operating budget or mission-related costs. Another 4 departments and agencies reported that obligations and expenditures specific to disaster assistance activities are not tracked or cannot be reliably estimated because there is no requirement for state or other recipients of the financial support to indicate whether or how much of the funding or assistance is used for disasters. Why GAO Did This Study Each year, the federal government obligates billions of dollars through programs and activities that provide assistance to state and local governments, tribes, and certain nonprofit organizations and individuals that have suffered injury or damages from major disaster or emergency incidents, such as hurricanes, tornados, or fires. While FEMA tracks DRF spending related to major disasters and emergencies declared under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, there has not been a systematic effort to account for federal obligations for disaster assistance outside of the DRF. The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, includes a provision for GAO to report on disaster assistance expenditures by the federal government. This report identifies federal disaster assistance programs and activities across 17 federal departments and agencies and the obligations for these programs and activities, where available, during fiscal years 2005 through 2014. To conduct this work, GAO selected 17 federal departments and agencies identified in the National Planning Frameworks as having responsibility for leading or coordinating federal efforts to mitigate, respond to, and recover from domestic disaster incidents. GAO analyzed documents identifying and describing disaster assistance programs and activities, interviewed federal officials, and distributed a data collection instrument to obtain, among other things, obligation amounts associated with each program or activity identified. For more information, contact Chris P. Currie at (404) 679-1875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michelle Goodrum, a 40-year-old single mom of three boys, had worked a variety of jobs over the years to make ends meet, including as an account executive and in home health care. One day while searching for “something different to do” with greater earning potential, she stumbled on an ad for a machinist apprentice at […]
U.S. Department of Labor Blog
Divorce Attorney Property Division Child Custody Child Support Family Law Lawyer Parental Relationships Domestic Violence