Broad USPS transformation plan outline draws negative reviews

Mailer group reactions to a draft of a U.S. Postal Service comprehensive transformation plan range from “deep concerns” to “needs work.” The plan, which was ordered last year by Senate Committee on Government Affairs, will be presented to Congress and the Government Accounting Office on March 31. A comment period on the USPS’s initial outline of the plan expired on Jan. 31. The report draft was originally posted on Sept. 30.

In reactions released on Feb. 1, the Direct Marketing Association said the plan falls well short of what Congress is seeking, which is to address the challenges of serving the American public in the 21st Century, according to the Direct Marketing Association. “Instead of plotting a course for the future,” said DMA senior vice president, government affairs Jerry Cerasale in statement, “the Postal Service only mapped out where it stands today.” The plan, Cerasale says, doesn’t convey the sense of urgency that pervades the postal community that transformation must begin immediately to preserve the nationwide delivery system.”

Added DMA consultant and former Postal Rate Commission chairman Ed Gleiman, the USPS hasn’t touched on any of the cost-reduction strategies already outlined by a Mailing Industry Task Force last year. The plan, he said, doesn’t “propose specific reforms, nor does it establish a framework for how the Service will operate and compete in the future.”

While commending the USPS for “an open and inclusive approach to soliciting thoughts and ideas from members of the postal community in drafting the basic questions used in the outline,” Neal Denton, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers said that his group, too, is disappointed with the draft for failing to “present clear vision of what the agency ‘wants to be when it grows up’.” Rather, the draft serves more to collect and pose the more relevant questions that face the mailing industry.

The Alliance and some others believe that a separate commission—and not the USPS itself–should perhaps be constructed with the singular task of weighing key postal issues of the 21st century and make objective recommendations for the future transformation of the Postal Service.

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