A New Year is upon us, likely my last at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. As I reflect on what the CPSC has accomplished since I’ve been here and what I hope we can do this year, I think there’s one New Year’s resolution I would like to see my fellow Commissioners and I keep:
Collaboration–We should focus more on the ‘should’ and not on the ‘can’.
Had Congress wanted CPSC unilaterally controlled by the party in the White House, it could have placed a single administrator within a consumer product safety agency and left product safety policy to presidential direction. Instead, Congress, by creating an independent Commission, clearly encouraged dialogue and compromise. We should heed that call.
The past three years have been frustrating on those occasions when closed decision-making was favored over negotiation, albeit difficult at times We need to set aside pointed rhetoric, concentrate on core issues, and replace partisan lines with genuine lines of communication. Collectively, we can and should try to find a way to ‘yes’ by honestly listening to and accommodating differing points of view. We can be better at how we function as Commissioners. If we resolve to do so, we can make consumers safer, give manufacturers a fairer consideration, and allow everyone to have more confidence that our decisions are not just ones we can make, but ones we should make.