Mailer Groups Back Potter’s USPS Recommendations

(Direct Newsline) Mailer groups for the most part supported Postmaster General Jack Potter’s latest recommendations for maintaining the U.S. Postal Service, which he made before the President’s Commission on the USPS Thursday.

One area with strong support was Potter’s proposal that the USPS be allowed to close post offices and postal processing facilities “without constraint from outside influences.”

“Giving the Postal Service this authority would save it millions of dollars because most mail today is moved by truck and many of the existing facilities were built at a time when most mail was moved by rail or plane,” says Bob McLean, executive director of the Mailers Council. McLean notes that having postal distribution centers in downtown areas of cities was not at all conducive to smooth truck traffic.

McLean adds that such authority might help the USPS overcome the likely objections from local members of Congress in whose districts postal facilities may be shuttered.

“Overall, this commission, which has done an excellent job of learning about all the issues, has given the postal service some political cover,” says Neal Denton, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. “That’s part of what hampered [Rep. John] McHugh’s efforts to reform the postal service for so many years.”

Potter also proposed reworking the collective bargaining process to put all benefits including health, leave, and retirement on the table and letting the USPS Board of Governors set prices according to changing market conditions.

Potter warned that if the USPS still can’t develop a self-sustaining postal service, it might have to look at such options as relaxing current delivery service standards; relaxing the postal monopoly; and having taxpayers reassume part of the cost of running the USPS.

“Potter was thinking outside the box and was trying to find ways to make the postal service more efficient and businesslike,” says Direct Marketing Association spokesman Louis Mastria. “If mail volume keeps dropping, maybe less six-day service should be considered.”

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