Magazine article Occupational Hazards

CSB 'Bankruptcy' Possible, Member Warns

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

CSB 'Bankruptcy' Possible, Member Warns

Article excerpt

It took nearly a month, but Paul Hill Jr., the embattled chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), finally tendered his resignation to President Clinton on Jan. 12.

Hill called a staff meeting Dec. 17 to announce his intention to step down as chairman but stay on as a board member. However, the resignation was stalled while the White House made up its mind on how it wants to replace him.

CSB has been driven by a power struggle between Hill and the three other board members. It has completed only three investigation reports in the last year, although it has delivered a number of recommendations to Congress and was active on the Y2K front.

The mounting management turmoil prompted board member Irv Rosenthal to issue a dire warning at CSB's Jan. 10 public meeting. "At a certain point, we -- as board members -- have to take steps [ldots] to ensure that someone takes responsibility for a business plan," Rosenthal said. "We have to complete accident investigations. We, in my opinion, are in danger of bankruptcy."

It remains to be seen whether Hill's resignation as CSB's chairman and chief executive officer will resolve the board's governance dispute.

The resignation announcement gave no hints about Hill's replacement. In fact, CSB may have to operate without a chair for some time, because the Senate must confirm Clinton's nominee for the post. The president could circumvent this process by making a recess appointment. …

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