BOG endorses postal reform proposal

(Direct Newsline) The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors expressed its support for proposed bipartisan postal reform legislation expected to be released next week. The proposal is a culmination of a number of proposals that have circulated around the House Committee on Government Reform since March.

Initial drafts of the proposal call for giving the USPS some pricing flexibility, rate caps, revenue targets, and cost-saving incentives. The proposal will also likely include earlier Democratic suggestions to reduce the administrative burden of the rate-making process while maintaining adequate revenue to keep the USPS solvent.

So far, no bills have been put forth as both Democratic and Republican Committee members continue negotiations over provisions, committee spokesman Blain Bethmeier said. He predicted the committee would come out with a concrete proposal next week.

“We commend Chairman Dan Burton and Reps. Henry Waxman, John McHugh, and Danny Davis for their effort to fashion a legislative proposal that goes a long way to address the needs of the Postal Service,” BOG chairman Robert F. Rider said, in a statement. “Although the bill [that will be] proposed does not address all of the legislative needs as set forth in our March 2001 letter, this board supports the bill and looks forward to working with all interested parties through the course of the legislative process.”

For the past few months, committee members have been wrangling over such issues as pricing flexibility and increasing the power of the Postal Rate Commission.

In other business at the BOG meeting:

* USPS manager of processing operations Walter O’Tormey announced the completion of a two-year nationwide deployment of 534 money-saving automated flat sorting machines in 239 mail-processing facilities.

* The USPS said it will begin a second round of testing next week to see if Segway Human Transporter devices are suitable for delivering the mail.