Friday, November 5, 2010

CPSIA - CPSC Small Business Ombudsman

I spoke to Neal Cohen today, the CPSC's new Small Business Ombudsman. Neal reached out to me for my perspective, which was nice of him. He has reached out to others as well, perhaps he has spoken to you.

I found Neal to be an intelligent and sympathetic character, very patient (which was required when speaking to me about the CPSIA) and interested in other viewpoints. That said, by all appearances Neal does not have the power to wave a magic wand and make our troubles go away. I know some of you anticipated that the ombudsman office was to be the agency's psychotherapist for small businesses ("There, there, everything will be okay . . . if you strike oil under your building"). You may be right.

In any event, having an ombudsman gives us a way to give feedback to the agency, and perhaps Neal can work some miracles. I am not especially optimistic, but that's no reflection of my first impressions of Neal.

I recommend that you reach out to Neal Cohen in his official capacity and tell him what your concerns are, and ask for his help. Let's hope he finds a magic wand before the CPSC kills us all.

Here is his contact information:

Neal S. Cohen
Acting Small Business Ombudsman
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway, Suite 815
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: 301.504.7504

Small Business Ombudsman Resources:
Toll Free: 888.531.9070
D.C. Area: 301.504.7945
Fax: 301.504.0121


Wacky Hermit said...

I'm afraid to write to him from my real email address, lest I draw attention to myself. If I ask him a question about whether what I'm doing is in compliance with the law, and it becomes apparent that it is not, CPSC might bring the hammer down on me. Also, if I'm doing something that he finds to be compliant with the law, it makes CPSC aware of what I'm doing, so that when they later decide it's not compliant they have all my contact information.

It reminds me of a woman I read about who was worried that her children weren't getting adequate nutrition. She took them to a government assistance office to ask the advice of a nutritionist and maybe get some assistance in getting them nutritious foods. Her children were then taken away from her on the grounds that they weren't being well-nourished in her care. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Paul said...

Evidently, this mid-term election rings a good tune to the Obama administration.

But, psychiatrist for cancer? Well, I rekon shrinks are there to make patients to feel better, mentally stronger in confronting adversity or DEATH.

Then again, it could be an encouraging start. If the psychiatrist's job truly wants to help us, hopefully, he could get a very simple message across through some very thick skulls at DC.

“People just want to make honest living under a reasonable law, Amend the CPSIA!” I hope this message is simple enough for Mr. Cohen to work with. And if that’s Mr. Cohen’s magic wand, I look forward to see if he would or could wave it to the right person.