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