Will PMG Potter’s Departure Mean Jack for USPS?

JIM TIERNEY: It’s hard to know what to make of Jack Potter’s decision to retire as U.S. Postmaster General on Dec. 3. Should catalogers be relieved, apprehensive, indifferent?

The U.S. Postal Service has been in the news a lot lately, notably for its mounting financial losses, massive declines in mail volume, reducing workforce hours, trying to close underperforming postal facilities, seeking five-day mail delivery, and requesting Congress to address the prepayment of retiree health benefits.

Then there’s the Postal Regulatory Commission’s recent rejection of the USPS’s request for an exigent rate case next year (though the Postal Service has appealed the ruling), and the alleged $50 billion overpayment by the USPS to the Civil Service Retirement System from 1972-2009.

As for Potter’s relationship with catalogers, the American Catalog Mailers Association’s executive director Hamilton Davison has made significant inroads with Potter and all of the key postal officials. Potter has attended the ACMA’s National Catalog Forum and he was always candid with the attendees, answering all of their questions.

Potter’s successor, Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe, spoke at an ACMA session this past April. He also displayed an honesty and understanding of catalogs that attendees embraced.

So maybe a change at the top for the USPS is a good thing. Let’s hope, anyway.

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