Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Administrative Structure Could Benefit From Change

HRD-87-47: Published: Apr 9, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 9, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) administrative structure to determine whether: (1) a single administrator, rather than a commission, could more effectively carry out CPSC functions; and (2) CPSC should retain its separate status or be located within an existing executive department.

GAO found that: (1) commissioners' long-term appointments have not achieved stability in leadership positions; (2) independent status has not insulated CPSC from economic or political pressures; (3) changing the commission structure to an administration would save about $1 million a year; and (4) major studies indicated significant problems with the commission administrative structure. Although GAO found different opinions on the appropriate organizational status, it found no criteria for determining whether CPSC should remain as a separate agency or become part of an executive department.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Although both the House and Senate held hearings in the 100th Congress on changing the CPSC organization, no action was taken. A new commissioner has been appointed, which would further indicate that there are no plans to change the organization.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider amending section 4 of the Consumer Product Safety Act to provide for a single administrator appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.


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