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Postal officials say Senate bill is insufficient

The chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors said that although Senate leaders “worked very hard” to create and pass a bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service, that bill nonetheless fails to address the new fiscal realities challenging the agency.

The chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors said that although Senate leaders “worked very hard” to create and pass a bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service, that bill nonetheless fails to address the new fiscal realities challenging the agency.

“For the past several years the Board of Governors has sought legislation that would improve the Postal Service business model,” Chairman Thurgood Marshall, Jr., said at an open session meeting of the board May 4.  “Nevertheless, when we ask whether the [Senate] legislation puts the Postal Service back on a path to financial stability, the bottom line is that the Senate bill does not provide the Postal Service with the flexibility and speed that it needs to have a sustainable business model.”

The bill the Senate passed last month, the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S.1789), seeks to modify or postpone many of the measures contained in a comprehensive five-year plan the Postal Service released in February. The bill, among other things, asks USPS to hold off implementing the plan's proposed closings of postal offices and postal facilities until a postal reform bill can be signed into law.

While opponents of the USPS plan claim that many of the measures contained in it -- such as the mass closings and a scheme to create a separate USPS health insurance program -- are too severe, Marshall noted that USPS and the board “remain unanimous in our conviction that this comprehensive five-year plan is a fair and reasonable approach for our customers, our employees and the communities that we serve.”

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who also spoke at the meeting, echoed Marshall's conviction that the USPS plan is sound.

“We are very confident about our comprehensive plan,” Donahoe said. “It calls for making some tough decisions, but they are the right decisions.  We need to eliminate excess mail processing capacity. We need to rethink how we manage our retail footprint.  We need to manage our healthcare costs better.  If we can gain the flexibility to move quickly in these areas, we can return to profitability.”

 

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