The independent federal body overseeing occupational safety and health violation disputes won’t—as attorneys and safety groups feared—drop down to one member for long.
President Donald Trump April 21 nominated the current acting Chairman Heather L. MacDougall, whose term expires on April 27, to serve as commissioner for a second term on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Trump did not nominate a third member to round out the body. The review commission, which is the final layer of administrative appeal before a federal appeals court, has operated without a full complement of members since April 2015.
“She will be the only Republican, and given a Republican administration, she will be the de facto chair, at least until another nominee is confirmed,” Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told Bloomberg BNA. " It preserves the current formulation and doesn’t change much.”
Labor and employee groups also expect more of the same, assuming the Senate confirms MacDougall.
“She hasn’t been the best friend of workers,” Peg Seminario, director of safety and health at AFL-CIO, told Bloomberg BNA. “We expect the same views and opinions as her first term.”
President Barack Obama nominated MacDougall to the review commission in 2014, and the Senate unanimously confirmed her appointment.
“We’ve seen under previous administrations that it is common practice for the controlling party to fill two seats and the third goes to the other party,” Debbie Berkowitz, senior fellow in the worker safety and health program at the National Employment Law Project, told Bloomberg BNA. “When the administration fills the third spot, they will probably decide who will be chair.”
Berkowitz added that the administration may be waiting for the Senate to confirm Andrew Acosta as Labor Secretary before nominating a third commissioner.
Prior to her appointment MacDougall practiced employment, labor and occupational safety and health law at Akerman LLP in West Palm Beach, Fla., according to a statement released by the White House. She also served as chief counsel for former review commission Chairman W. Scott Railton.
Trump promoted MacDougall, a Republican, to acting-chair in late January shortly after Inauguration Day.
“In her absence during the confirmation process, former chairman and current Commissioner Cynthia L. Attwood would serve as acting chair,” Tressi Cordaro, a principal in the Reston, VA office of Jackson Lewis, PC, told Bloomberg BNA.
“Given her experience as a commissioner and her time working for it, there is nothing to suggest she won’t be the permanent chair after confirmation,” Cordaro said.
Ultimately, who chairs the review commission is left to the president’s discretion.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lars-Eric Hedberg in Washington, D.C. at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)