Three’s Company: OSHRC’s Third Panel Seat to Be Filled Soon
On October 15, 2019, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Cynthia L. Attwood to serve as a commissioner on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). If confirmed by the Senate, this would be her third appointment to the Review Commission, and she would, coincidentally, fill the third seat on the three-commissioner panel.
Attwood first joined the Review Commission in February of 2010 after being nominated by President Barack Obama in November of 2009 to fill the remainder of a term that expired in 2013. She was reappointed to her second term in August of 2013 and served until her term ended in April of this year. Before her last term expired, Attwood served alongside Commissioner James J. Sullivan Jr., who has since been designated as the agency’s chair, for over a year and a half.
Prior to joining the commission, Attwood served in the Department of Labor in several different roles, including as an administrative appeals judge for the department’s Administrative Review Board, as associate solicitor for occupational safety and health, and as associate solicitor for mine safety and health. She received her law degree from the University of Minnesota and her undergraduate degree from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
The announcement comes a week after the White House announced the president’s intent to nominate Amanda Wood Laihow to serve as OSHRC’s second commissioner. If the Senate confirms both of these future nominees, the commission will have a full complement of commissioners to decide the cases before it. Having three commissioners is important because it avoids the potential for split decisions—a common result when there are only two participating commissioners—and allows the independent adjudicatory agency to function as Congress intended.