Senate Confirms Third OSHRC Commissioner

The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has reported in its 2009-14 strategic plan that its ability to decide cases has been hampered because of lacking a third commissioner for extended periods.

A U.S. Senate voice vote on March 12 confirmed nominee Heather MacDougall, of counsel to the law firm Akerman LLP, to serve as a commissioner of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. MacDougall, who represents employers in labor and employment cases, had served as chief legal counsel and special advisor to the chairman of OSHRC from 2002 to 2003. She was nominated to fill a commissioner vacancy by President Obama on Nov. 21, 2013.

Heather MacDougall has been confirmed in March 2014 as an OSHRC commissioner."This appointment is a significant honor, and we couldn't be more proud of Heather," said James Bramnick, chair of the Akerman Labor & Employment Practice Group in West Palm Beach, Fla. "I am confident that she will bring the same level of dedication that she demonstrated while serving Akerman's clients to her new role with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission."

There are two other commissioners currently serving: Commission Chairman Thomasina Rogers and Commissioner Cynthia L. Attwood. Attwood was confirmed for a second term last August, five months after the president re-nominated her, and the commission regained a quorum when she arrived. Even so, OSHRC had noted in its 2009-14 strategic plan that lacking a third commissioner made it more difficult to decide cases before it.

MacDougall received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from Marquette University Law School. She is admitted to practice in Florida, Indiana, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In January 2014, OSHRC's executive secretary, Ray H. Darling, Jr., retired after serving in that post for 36 years and with OSHRC for a total of 41 years. Rogers thanked him for his service, saying Darling had been a great source of institutional knowledge and wise counsel throughout her tenure. John Cerveny, who had been Darling's deputy, was appointed acting executive secretary effective Jan. 13, 2014.

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