NLRB members select chief counsels

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Aug 28, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Each of the newly confirmed members of the National Labor Relations Board has selected a chief counsel.

On Monday, Chairman Mark Pearce was the only member to go outside of the NLRB for his chief counsel, Ellen Dichner.

Dichner has been a partner with the law firm Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss LLP in New York City since 1990, and she was an associate in the firm from 1986 to 1989.

Prior to joining the firm, she served as an assistant attorney general in the New York State Department of Law's Labor Bureau from 1985 to 1986.

She received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.

She also worked as a field attorney in Region 2 of the NLRB from 1982 to 1985.

Board member Kent Hirozawa selected Peter D. Winkler to serve as his chief counsel.

Winkler has worked at the NLRB since 1977 and served as chief counsel to former members Craig Becker, Dennis Walsh, Ronald Meisburg, R. Alexander Acosta and, most recently, Richard Griffin.

Board member Harry I. Johnson III selected James R. Murphy to serve as his chief counsel.

Murphy most recently served as chief counsel to member Brian Hayes and, before that, to member Peter Schaumber.

He began his career at the board as a student law clerk in 1974, and has been a staff counsel or supervisor on the staffs of dozens of board members.

Board member Philip Miscimarra selected Peter J. Carlton to be his chief counsel.

Carlton came to the board from the Washington D.C. office of Jones Day in 2001.

Most recently, he served as chief counsel in the office of member Terry Flynn and, prior to that, he was chief counsel to member Peter Kirsanow and senior counsel to Hayes.

Also Monday, board member Nancy J. Schiffer selected John F. Colwell to serve as her chief counsel.

Colwell has been with the NLRB since 2001, most recently serving as chief counsel to member Sharon Block and, before that, as chief counsel to former Chairman Wilma B. Liebman from 2001 to 2011.

Miscimarra and Johnson were confirmed on voice vote last month.

Pearce also was confirmed, in a roll call vote, to a second term on the board. He has held the position of chairman since 2011.

Hirozawa and Schiffer, in place of previous nominees Block and Griffin, also were confirmed in a roll call vote last month.

President Barack Obama withdrew Block and Griffin's nominations as part of a deal to avoid the so-called "nuclear option" in the Senate and preserve the use of the filibuster in the chamber.

Democrats threatened to change the Senate rules so that it would only take 51 votes to confirm executive branch nominees, including the NLRB nominees.

Without confirmation of at least one of the nominees, the board would have ceased to function this month.

Still, some questions about the board's legitimacy remain.

Obama's recess appointments to the board last year are now under U.S. Supreme Court review, prompting questions about the board's decisions made since the appointments.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the President's "intrasession appointment" of three new members to the board was an unconstitutional abuse of power because he could not make those appointments without U.S. Senate confirmation because the Senate was not in recess.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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