Dana Baiocco has been nominated to fill a fixed 7-year term as Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). She will replace Commissioner Marietta Robinson, whose term ends on October 26. Her nomination is expected to shift the balance of power at the CPSC.
Ms. Baiocco, who is an experienced litigator, is also a founding partner of the Boston branch of the law firm International Jones Day. Her Jones Day’s bio profile states that she has handled cases on “mass torts, consumer and industrial products and medical devices.” She is known for representing clients against liability claims as well as advising companies on how to minimize risks, compliance to regulatory and reporting obligations and handling product recalls.
Ms. Baiocco’s nomination still needs confirmation by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Her confirmation is expected to shift the balance of power at the CPSC – a 3-2 majority for Republicans.
The CPSC is chaired by Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle, a Republican. However, she does not hold the 3-2 voting majority according to her political party. It’s said that the CPSC which has five members is headed by a “Minority Chair.” However, when Ms. Baiocco is confirmed and the term of Democratic Commissioner Marietta Robinson ends, there will be 3 Republican and 2 Democratic commissioners. Robinson may prove problematic for Acting Chair Buerkle because she has recently made public statements that say Chairman Buerkle has yet to take any actions that would serve the needs of consumers, but has gone out of her way to serve the needs of product manufacturers.
By regaining the 3-2 majority for Republicans, Acting Chair Buerkle may successfully carry out some of the regulatory priorities of this administration, which appear to be not to issue any new product safety regulations.
It appears that Ms. Baiocco’s nomination will not face much resistance , and her chances of being confirmed are very likely.