Monday October 15, 2012
Northup Hears Colleagues’ Praise at Final Public MeetingBy Brett Aho
Commissioner Anne Northup attended her final public meeting October 10 at the conclusion of which fellow commissioners praised her for her dedication and fervor. “There were times when we didn’t always see eye to eye on policy matters,” commented Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “But we could always count on you to bring passion and to bring commitment to your views as well as your commitment to compromise.” Tenenbaum also said that she will miss the Kentucky bourbon that Northup regularly brought for the federal campaign auction. “We will certainly miss your Kentucky spirit around here.”
“We really are going to miss you,” said Commissioner Nancy Nord. “You have brought a pragmatic, real world experience to this agency.” Nord praised Northup for the perspective that she brought to the commission as both a business owner and a mother of six kids. “When you speak on these issues, it’s from a perspective of someone who has really been out there,” said Nord. “You have a very plain talk style, and you don’t often find that at regulatory agencies and in Washington.”
While noting that they share a very warm and gracious relationship, Commissioner Robert Adler acknowledged their differing political viewpoints. “I’ve been racking my mind to come up with issues on which we don’t have very deep and fundamental disagreements,” Adler joked. “My discussions with you have certainly been eye-opening. Not necessarily mind-changing, but eye-opening.” Adler went on to note that Northup inspired him to watch Fox News every morning, noting however that “we probably watch it with different purposes in mind, and different reactions.” He praised Northup for her endless knowledge of Congress, thanking her for sharing her wisdom and knowledge.
Northup thanked her fellow commissioners for their kind words and acknowledged the great progress that the four made on the CPSIA over the past three years. “I hope that the public, as they look at this, feels relieved to know that internally and externally we debate the very important issues that are bound up in implementing a new law.” Stressing the importance of differing perspectives when implementing policies, Northup noted that she always attempted to act on behalf of the public. “The public deserves to know they have people who can speak for them within the agency.”
Northup also thanked her fellow commissioners for their work. “I didn’t have to worry about whether everything was running,” stated Northup, complimenting Tenenbaum on her management of commission leadership, especially in the field of public relations.
Recognizing their differences, Northup even had kind words for Adler. “I have such appreciation for the fact that Bob Adler does think completely differently than I do about everything,” she explained. “I respect it, I understand it, and I appreciate his respect for my perspective.”
Northup described Nord as the historian of the commission, citing her extensive experience. Speaking to the seven-year veteran, Northup noted that Nord’s breadth of knowledge and understanding provided a solid foundation for decisions made at CPSC. “You have helped me come to a job that is so entirely different from any job I’ve had before,” said Northup, thanking Nord for her help transitioning into her position as commissioner. “I’ve depended on your advice and wisdom so many times.”
Northup finished her statements to a standing ovation from fellow commissioners and CPSC staff.
Northup, a former Republican U.S. Representative from Kentucky, is an Obama appointee and joined the commission in August 2009. With the departure a year ago (PSL, 10/24/11, p. 1) of ex-Commissioner Thomas Moore and the still unconfirmed, nearly year-old nomination of Marietta Robinson, despite a Senate hearing in May (PSL, 5/14/12, p. 1), the commission is down to three members: Democrats Adler and Tenenbaum and Republican Nord. The panel operated from the early 1980s to 2009 with maximums of three members, but recurring vacancies created difficulties in retaining a quorum of three, sometimes restricting voting. The CPSIA restored funding for a full, five-member board.
Northup’s term technically ended a year ago, but the CPSA allows for an extra year to facilitate replacements. Nord’s term ends this month, but she can serve until October 2013. Tenenbaum’s term ends in October 2013 and she can serve until October 2014. Adler’s ends in October 2014 with his service allowed until October 2015.