Trump Pick to Head Consumer Safety Board Is Seen as Too Close to Industries

The emergence of Ms. Buerkle, Ms. Baiocco, and the newly appointed general counsel, Patricia Hanz, in leadership roles represents a major shift in the tiny agency, which had in recent years taken a tougher stance against companies manufacturing toxic toys, flammable pajamas, exploding batteries and other household hazards.

Consumer groups are raising concerns about potential conflicts as officials and board members join from industries under agency scrutiny or leave to work in them. Another commissioner, Joseph Mohorovic, left to join a law firm that represents the portable generator industry, which is fighting restrictions on their products.

Ms. Buerkle defended her philosophy of seeking cooperation with companies. “Not only do I think consensus standards are more effective,…

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