The president of shipping and mailing services for the U.S. Postal Service, Bob Bernstock, will resign his position on June 4. Bernstock is currently under investigation for awarding about $5.8 million in no-bid contracts to his former business associates.
Postal Service inspector general David Williams “is investigating Bernstock’s role in steering millions of dollars in consultancy and Website modernization contracts to people he worked with in the private sector,” according to an article in The Federal Times.
Bernstock had directed more than $1.3 million in sole-source contracts to consultants he had worked with when he was an executive at Scotts Miracle-Gro, Vlasic, and Nutrisystem, the Federal Times reported. He had also reportedly given a $4.5 million contract to Tatum via a colleague who he worked with at Scotts Miracle-Gro and Vlasic.
Bernstock was an executive with Scotts Miracle-Gro when it owned and operated cataloger/retailer Smith & Hawken.
The investigation is expected to be finished by early summer.
Bernstock joined the Postal Service as president of the newly created Mailing and Shipping Services in June 2008, agreeing to work with the USPS for an initial period of two years. He was responsible for all product management, product development, retail and commercial products and services, as well as commercial sales.
Hamilton Davison, president/executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association, had worked closely with Bernstock. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Bob’s departure is a tough break for both mailers and the USPS,” Davison says.
“He had the kind of industry experience and market-driven know-how that the USPS needs in order to be both viable and competitive going forward,” Davison says, “and given his prior experience in a company that owned and operated a catalog business, this was particularly valuable for catalog mailers.”
But Davison is confident that Bernstock’s replacement will help continue the work Bob started. And now that catalogs have their own focused management within the USPS, “there are plenty of competent individuals who in the meantime will certainly carry the torch for the USPS on behalf of the cataloger constituency,” he says.