Winton Blount, first postmaster general of reorganized USPS, dies

Winton Blount,

who was the postmaster general under President Nixon when the Post Office Department was reorganized in 1970 from a government agency to a quasi-governmental corporation owned by the federal government, died on Oct. 24 after a long illness. He was 81.

Blount was one of the architects of the reformed U.S. Postal Service, which removed his position from the cabinet and created a self-supported postal corporation. Nixon named Blount postmaster general in 1969, challenging the former construction executive to reinvent the agency. At the time, the Post Office Department was plagued by outdated procedures and labor strikes.

When the new USPS was launched on July 1, 1971, Blount was named chairman. Rates were to be set with the scrutiny of the new Postal Rate Commission, labor’s ability to strike was replaced by collective bargaining, and politics were removed from the postal system. Other efficiencies were also enacted.

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