Journal Entries

This recurring website feature highlights articles from The GASB Report, the GASB’s monthly newsletter. The current article appeared in the October 2012 issue.

Other Postemployment Benefits Task Force Meets

The GASB met with its Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) Accounting and Financial Reporting Task Force on October 5 in New York City to receive input on a variety of project issues.

Specifically, the Board asked the task force to address issues involving OPEB arrangements provided through single- and agent-employer defined benefit arrangements considering the current accounting and financial reporting requirements in Statement No. 45, Accounting and Financial Reporting by Employers for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions, and related requirements for accounting and financial reporting for pensions in Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions.

The ultimate aim of the OPEB project is to consider the possibility of improvements to the existing standards of accounting and financial reporting for postemployment benefits—including OPEB—by state and local governmental employers and by the trustees, administrators, or sponsors of OPEB plans. Primary project objectives are to improve the accountability and transparency of financial reporting in regard to the financial effects of employers’ commitments and actions related to OPEB and to improve the usefulness of information for decisions or judgments of relevance to the various users of the general purpose external financial reports of governmental employers and OPEB plans.

The Board asked the task force to consider whether an OPEB arrangement meets the definition of a liability, as well as issues relating to the measurement of the total OPEB liability, including the projection of OPEB payments, the basis for determining the appropriate discount rate, and the attribution of the actuarial present value of projected benefit payments to periods. Other topics discussed include OPEB expense recognition, issues relating to the timing of OPEB measurements in relation to an employer’s year-end, and the frequency of actuarial valuations necessary for OPEB measurements.

The GASB will use the input it received at the task force meeting to aid it in identifying issues to be addressed in project deliberations intended to lead to the mid-2014 publication of a due process document for public comment.

Task Force Members

Members of the OPEB Task Force are as follows:

  • John E. Bartel, president, Bartel-Associates, LLC
  • Gerry Boaz, technical manager, Division of State Audit, Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury
  • Bruce Eastes, compliance and reporting specialist, CERBT Program (OPEB), CalPERS
  • Nicole Fleming, deputy director of accounting services, Office of Budget Review/Accounting Services, NYC Office of Management & Budget
  • David J. Hasso, executive director, New York State Office of the Comptroller, Bureau of Financial Reporting & Oil Spill Remediation
  • Kil Huh, research director, The Pew Center on the States
  • James J. Jaskot, director, Finance Department, Town of Cheshire, CT
  • Amy Laskey, managing director, Public Finance Division, Fitch Ratings
  • Steve McElhaney, principal consulting actuary, Cheiron
  • Lori Moore-Merrell, assistant to the general president, Technical Assistance/Information Resources, International Association of Fire Fighters
  • Catherine Plante, associate professor of accounting, Accounting Department, University of New Hampshire
  • Heather Ricard, chief financial officer, Risk Management Services, Municipal Association of South Carolina
  • James J. Rizzo, senior consultant and actuary, Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company
  • George A. Scott, partner, Public Sector Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Robert B. Scott, assistant city manager/chief financial officer, Finance Department, City of Carrollton, TX
  • Thomas Weyl, senior municipal credit analyst, Barclays Capital
  • Alex Zhang, partner, Audit Group, UHY Advisors, LLP
The GASB assembles task forces for most major current and research projects. Task forces serve as a sounding board, providing suggestions and feedback to the GASB as a project progresses. Task force members review the papers the GASB staff prepares for Board meetings and monitor the Board’s deliberations, commenting as appropriate.

Whom to Contact

Questions or comments regarding the OPEB project should be addressed to Scott Reeser, GASB project manager, via email at sareeser@gasb.org, or by telephone at (203) 956-5448.