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January 07, 2008

Goodbye, Bob! Hello ... Moms?

Mpj040523600001 The Consumer Products Safety Commission, the federal agency charged with testing our children's toys and issuing recalls, just got a little more short-handed.  As The Washington Post reported this weekend, Robert Hundemer is retiring, after 25 years of service with the government.  Who's Robert Hundemer, you ask, and why should I care?

Nancy Nord calls him their "small parts guy," the toy tester charged with dropping toys to see if they break, measuring pieces to classify the toys as suitable for infants, toddlers, or "3+".  For a while this Fall, he was reported to be their only toy tester, but we all know now that there are others testing other attributes of toys, out there in that office in Gaithersburg.  But he's the "small parts guy," and now he's gone.

We'll miss you, Bob.  I'll miss you.

We'll miss you when we look at toys on the shelves.  When we open Christmas and birthday gifts.  When a wheel comes off a matchbox car and we wonder how on earth that could have happened.  Or did a magnet fall off the magnetix?  With Bob, we knew that someone was looking out for us and our kids, and we even knew who it was.

Now who will it be?

CPSC, I know you're shorthanded right now, so I'll make this quick.  Have you considered advertising for more than one toy tester?  What about splitting the position(s) into multiple part-time positions, suitable for moms returning to the workforce?  Will you allow telecommuting?  Working from a home office?  Flexible hours?  These are all things that help moms return to and stay in the workforce, and it seems that this position would be a particularly appropriate candidate for open, flexible work.

After all, who cares more about toy safety than moms? 

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