Management Structure Change
The Department of Administration has reorganized the management structure of the Division of Retirement and Benefits to better align our business processes with the needs and requirements of you—retired and active public servants—and your families.
The Division of Retirement and Benefits administers 10 different pension plans with 42,000 retirees, 47,000 active employees, and 200+ employers; several health and optional benefit plans with a total of over 84,000 covered lives; and an annual pension and health benefit cashflow of $1.6 billion. We expect 10,000 additional retirees to join our plans over the next 10 years. We anticipate that the recent reorganization of the Division will help us to meet this increase in demand.
Four chief officers that are subject matter experts in the areas of operations, pension, finance, and health will report directly to Deputy Commissioner of Administration Mike Barnhill. This form of management structure recognizes the importance of having a subject matter expert “chief” who is principally responsible for the systems, plans and operations within their purview. The following have been appointed as chief officers:
- Chief Operating Officer (COO): Jim Puckett
- Jim Puckett transitioned to Chief Operations Officer (COO) after serving as Director of the Division since April 2011. Puckett also formerly served as Deputy Director of the Division. He is a business owner and a former school administrator. As COO, Puckett manages five sections of the Division: Administrative Services, Communications, Information Services, Internal Audit/FICA Compliance, and the Member Services Contact Center.
- Chief Pension Officer (CPO): Kathy Lea
- Kathy Lea becomes Chief Pension Officer (CPO) after working as Deputy Director of the Division for the last three years. Prior to that, Lea was the manager of the Division’s Retirement Section. She has worked for the Division in various capacities for the past 25 years. As Chief Pension Officer, Lea manages the Member Benefits section, which includes Counseling/Benefit Education and Benefit Processing, as well as Appeals/Risk Mitigation and IT/Project Support.
- Chief Health Official (CHO): Michele Michaud
- Michele Michaud became the Chief Health Official in April 2014. She has worked for the State of Alaska for over 23 years and started working with the Division in 2007. She has served various roles for the Division, starting as a Regional Counselor, after which she supervised the Operations team and then the Member Services Contact Center. She then directed the Member Services Section. As Chief Health Official, Michaud manages the Health Plan Administration Section, overseeing relationships with vendors and the administration of the AlaskaCare health plans.
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO): Kevin Worley
- Kevin Worley started working with the Division of Retirement and Benefits as Chief Financial Officer in October 2013, after transferring from the Department of Corrections where he worked as an Internal Auditor. Kevin has worked for the State of Alaska since 1990, serving in various accounting and leadership positions, including two terms with the Division from 2000 to 2004 and 2007 to 2009. Worley oversees all accounting functions within the Division, including payroll processing, refunds, payments to retirees, preparations for and audit of all retirement and health systems’ financial statements, and working with the retirement systems’ consulting actuary.