Last week, President Trump nominated 3 people for the 9 open seats on the United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors (Board). Because the Senate hasn’t confirmed any nominees since 2009, there are no presidentially-appointed members of the Board. The terms were designed to be staggered, so there are several open seats with terms expiring in the near future.
The new nominees represent a mix of political and management qualifications.
- Robert M. "Mike" Duncan has been nominated for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring December 8, 2018, and an additional term expiring December 8, 2025. Duncan is a prior chairman of the Republican National Committee (January 2007 to January 2009). He became the chairman of the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority in January, 2009. After one-year, he stepped down to become the founding chairman of American Crossroads, a conservative Super PAC – a position he holds today.
- Another Republican, Calvin Tucker, is the President’s nominee for the remainder of a term expiring December 8, 2023. Mr. Tucker is the President & CEO of Eagles Capital Advisors, LLC. While most of Mr. Tucker’s career has been in commercial banking, he spent 6 years with the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). In the “Savings and Loan Crisis” of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the RTC closed or restructured over 700 financial institutions.
- The nominee with the most public service experience is David Williams. Mr. Williams served as the Inspector General for 6 different agencies under 4 presidents - the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Social Security Administration, the Department of the Treasury, Tax Administration of the Department of Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and the USPS. As the USPS IG, Williams criticized the Postal Service's real estate contract with CBRE, a multinational real estate company. The chairman of CBRE’s board of directors is Richard C. Blum, who is married to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California).
What’s next? The nominees will be called to testify before the Senate’s Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee. If approved by the committee, then it’s on to the full Senate for a vote. That’s how far in the confirmation process each of President Obama’s nominees progressed, and that's where the nominations died.
In 2016, the nominees were presented together as a slate. One senator – reportedly Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) – put a hold on the nominations. Because Senate rules allows such “holds” to be anonymous, it’s been impossible to confirm who stopped the vote. However, Senator Sanders was critical of several of the nominees, and his office would never confirm or deny his involvement.
As one of the current nominees – Mr. Duncan – is a prominent Republican and the chair of the American Crossroads Super PAC, it’s likely the 3 nominees will again be presented on a single slate. In that case, it’s highly probable that several Democrats will block the nominations. And the governance crisis of the USPS will be prolonged.