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Monday September 16, 2019

Adler to Become CPSC Acting Chairman, Washington Post Reports

Commissioner Robert Adler is set to take over CPSC as acting chairman, according to the Washington Post. The paper reported September 13 ( that current Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle told its reporter that she voted for Adler because she deemed him most qualified and experienced. It quoted her as saying a sentence she has used frequently: "Consumer protection is not political."


The article also said the other commissioners' votes would be made public the week of September 16. (They were not yet in the list of commission votes as of this writing).


Adler previously served as acting chairman from late 2013 to mid 2014 between the chairmanships of Inez Tenenbaum and Elliot Kaye. He has been a commissioner since August 2009. He also was a staffer at the agency from 1973 to 1984.


Buerkle announced last summer (PSL, 6/24/19) that she would leave the commission October 27, which is when her term expires. Her commissioner slot technically ended in October 2018, but CPSC rules allow commissioners to stay and extra year, and they commonly do.


She did have two pending nominations – to become chairman officially and for another seven years as commissioner to 2025 – but they never got full Senate votes despite advancing out of committee. Rather, they languished after their 2017 introductions, needing to be resubmitted twice for new congressional sessions.


Buerkle's departure will leave the commission with a 2-2 party-line tie. The open seat would go to a Republican if it can be filled. That would set up a Republican majority until at least 2024 no matter which party wins the White House next year.


However, that would not occur if a Democrat wins the 2020 presidential election and the open slot remains unfilled until January 2021.


Commissioner slots run even if unfilled, meaning the open seat's time began last year. Below are the current ones with extra years in parentheses, all ending in Octobers:

  • 2020 (2021) – Elliot Kaye (D)
  • 2021 (2022) – Robert Adler (D)
  • 2024 (2025) – Dana Baiocco (R)
  • 2025 (2026) – unknown person (unknown party)
  • 2026 (2027) – Peter Feldman (R).