Postal Policymaking: On the Front Burner

An article in James Fallows blog, written by John Tierney entitled “Postal Policymaking: A Political Laboratory” clearly puts postal policy on page 1 of the new Congress’s agenda once it gets past dealing with the issues over which the last election was fought.  James Fallows, better than anyone else, lays out the core problem and the key part of the ultimate solution.  The following bullet points are highlights from his article. … the real problem is that the Postal Service labors under the burden of accumulated obligations. Over our nation’s history, the postal system has been used by Congress to fulfill a wide variety of social and political objectives beyond [...] Read more »

Mission Statement for House Oversight Committee

Congressman Darrell Issa introduced the mission statement of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the end of the January 26, 2011 hearing on Troubled Asset Relief Program.  The mission statement was introduced at the first hearing of the committee.   As the mission statement was mentioned at the close of the hearing, it has received limited press attention and most postal stakeholders and policymakers have not seen it.   The mission statement is as follows: Americans deserve to know that money Washington takes from them is well spent. Americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. Our job on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is to help [...] Read more »

Postal Service Shrinking its Urban Footprint

Numerous news outlets are report the Postal Service’s plans to close stations and branches.   Almost every article focus on the potential affect on rural areas. The following two quotes are typical Washington Post The U.S. Postal Service plans to save up to $500 million in the next two years as it works to close or consolidate about 2,000 mostly small, rural and rarely visited retail locations, according to senior postal officials.  Wall Street Journal The news is crushing in many remote communities where the post office is often the heart of the town and the closest link to the rest of the country. However, a cursory review of the [...] Read more »

Apology to Pat Donahoe

I must confess that I am a terrible speller and a worse proof reader.   In the last two posts, I never spelled the new Postmaster General’s name right once.   The error has been corrected and I hope he accepts my apology for getting the first rule of journalism, spell all names correctly. Tweet Read more »

Attrition, VERA, Retirement Incentives and RIF’s

The Postal News blog corrected an impression of mine that the Postal Service may be changing its approach to reducing the workforce.   Donahoe told the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe that the 7,500 positions being eliminated would be cut by attrition. Eliminating an entire area office requires the use of RIF rules- it’s nothing new. Those rules were followed in all of the previous area and district consolidations, and don’t automatically mean that any employees will actually be involuntarily separated from the USPS.  My confusion reflects the difficulty of understanding the options available to the Postal Service to quickly reduce the workforce.  Pat Donahoe’s statement clearly is consistent is with the [...] Read more »

How will Pat Donahoe Change the Postal Service?

A new Postmaster General can reflect either a change in business strategy and operating processes or just a change in tone.   With less than a week in office, Pat Donahoe clearly has created a change in tone.  Whether he changes more than the tone and presentation of continuing policies or makes real changes in the direction of the Postal Service set by Jack Potter remains to be seen. The place where Pat Donahoe’s mark is most clearly seen is in the new structure of Postal Management.   In particular, the new structure makes the follow statements about the future of the Postal Service: Strategic planning appears to have been split.   Financial [...] Read more »

Debunking the Forever Stamp Meme

In a recent commentary, Newt Gingrich repeated a mistaken understanding of the Postal Service’s business and the impact that the forever stamp will have on Postal Service finances.   According to the latest polls, Newt Gingrich is one of the top four contenders for the Republican nomination for President so his comments on the Postal Service need to be taken seriously as they will influence the debate among Republicans about the future of the Postal Service.Unfortunately for postal stakeholders, Newt Gingrich’s comments are problematic in three ways: First, they suggest a significant misunderstanding of the business of the Postal Service and in particular the financial impact of the forever stamp.    Second, [...] Read more »

Why Capital and Flexibility Matters stories about service or safety failures seem to pop up nearly weekly.   Two stories today illustrate the need why the financial problem may be even greater than the Postal Service’s inability to pay its bills at the end of the year. The Lima News reports of the problem the Postal Service is having in getting mail delivered on time in west central Ohio.  The story describes  mail arriving for delivery late from the processing plant in Toledo which caused carriers to be paid waiting for its its arrival and then forcing delivery well into the evening.   The story also describes a number of instances in which advertising mail is [...] Read more »

Did Issa Provide an Entry for Postal Reform?

According to Politico, Congressman Darrell Issa sent letters to more than 150 trade associations, companies and think tanks last month requesting a list of existing and proposed regulations that would harm job growth.   Postal regulations should be included on this list as Postal regulations and law affect nearly 8.5 million jobs in the United States with over 90% of all jobs in the private sector. This effort now is critical as it does not appear that Congressman Issa has included postal issues among his top priorities for investigations as the new Congress convenes.  The Washington Post summarized his agenda as follows: SOURCE: Staff reports | The Washington Post – Jan. [...] Read more »