Like most people in our industry, I’m not hopeful that Congress will pass any meaningful reform for the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) in the near future. It will take tremendous effort and compromise by all parties to create a solution that will resolve at least some of the issues impacting the USPS. In the current political environment, that is highly unlikely.
Any changes will have to come from the leadership of the USPS. But key leadership positions on the USPS Board of Governors are vacant. President Obama has nominated 5 people to the board, including former President Bush appointees, but the Senate has not confirmed them. They haven’t even voted on any of them.
I want to know why. So I’ve emailed and mailed the letter below to my United States Senators. Please feel free to copy and send to your own senators. We deserve answers.
Dear Senator Markey / Dear Senator Warren:
My name is Mark Fallon, and I am one of your constituents. I’m also the President of The Berkshire Company, an independent management consulting firm that specializes in the print-mail industry. We help our clients use the best practices and available technologies to create and mail documents to customers. Taken as a whole, our clients produce over 500 million pieces of First Class Mail every year. And contrary to popular opinion, those numbers are not rapidly declining.
A recent study showed that the mailing industry employs over 9 million people in the United States, and contributes almost $1.2 trillion to the national economy. At the heart of that vital industry is the United States Postal Service (“USPS”).
The well-publicized financial struggles of the USPS are the result of a shift in mailing practices, an expanding number of delivery points due to a growing population, overpayments into the federal retiree system and an oppressive pre-payment requirement of future retiree health care costs. The last two problems can only be solved by an act of Congress. There’s been no indication of any solution that will be agreed to by both political parties.
The first two issues must be addressed by the USPS leadership. However, due to the inaction of the U.S. Senate, a significant part of that leadership is missing. As of today, there are 5 vacancies on the 9-member Board of Governors of the USPS. The terms of 2 additional governors will expire on December 31, 2014.
President Obama has nominated competent individuals for these positions, 2 Republicans and 3 Democrats. The 2 Republicans are men who served as members of the Board under President Bush. There’s been no public opposition to any of the nominees. However, there’s been no vote taken to confirm them.
The current nominees, and the months they were nominated are:
- Hon. James C. Miller III (R) – March 2012
- Stephen Crawford (D) – June 2012
- David M. Bennett (D) – April 2014
- Victoria Reggie Kennedy (D) – February 2014
- Mickey Barnett (R) – July 2014 (his term expired last year, but still serving)
Mr. Miller and Mr. Crawford were both nominated over two years ago, and have testified twice before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In their latest hearing on July 14, 2014, Mr. Bennett and Ms. Kennedy also participated.
Watching the hearings, I was impressed with the testimony of the nominees. While I don’t agree with them on every issue, it was clear that they had given serious consideration to the changes the USPS must make to remain viable. They’ve even been meeting informally as a group to exchange ideas. They’re ready to get to work.
Although Chairman Carper (D-DE) ordered the nominations to be reported favorably on July 30, 2014, there has been no vote taken on the Senate floor.
It’s time for the Senate to get to work. You should publicly call for the Senate leadership to hold a vote on the nominees. If there’s an issue with any of the nominees, then those matters should be made known to the public. If there are no issues, then a vote should be held as soon as possible.
We deserve to have a full Board of Governors for the USPS – one of the oldest and most trusted government institutions. We need you to take action.
Mark M. Fallon
President & CEO
The Berkshire Company
36 Gilmore Rd
Southborough MA 01772-1721