It’s like the we’re living a Groundhog Day existence. Today’s news—November 6, 2007—brings us yet another Mattel recall of over a hundred thousand dangerous toys. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Nancy Nord, has been accused of a range of abuses while serving as the head of the agency that protects children from dangerous toys.
Ms. Nord actually opposed Congressional efforts to add funding to CPSC. She now says that she wasn’t really opposed to additional funding. Instead, she opposed the bill that would strengthen protections for agency whistleblowers and that would make it easier to publicize dangerous products. Here is the link to a media report: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21653084/
Her explanation of why she opposes funding is awful. A whistleblower is someone inside who complains to outside authorities, when an agency fails to properly do its work. It seems that Ms. Nord is opposed to protecting those employees who would speak out when people in her position fail to protect our children. And the opposition to publicizing unsafe products is even worse. If a product is unsafe, those of us with children would want to know. After all, we’re supposed to take responsibility for protecting our children. But if secrecy rules keep information from consumers, how can we do that.
Ms. Nord was an unfortunate political appointment to the head of the CPSC. And for this, it appears that we will relive Groundhog Day because CPSC has failed to protect our children. She would do all of us a favor by either taking seriously her mission or—better—resigning to let someone take over the job who puts consumers first.
David F. Sugerman
Paul & Sugerman, PC