on May 24th, 2010 in Post Offices & Retail Network | 60 comments
 
In the past 18 years, the Postal Service has reorganized its field structure at least three times. In 1992, the Postal Service reorganized its field structure from five regions and 73 field divisions into 10 areas and 85 districts. From 2002-2006 the Postal Service changed its field structure to nine areas and 80 districts, and adjusted again in 2009 to eight areas and 74 districts. Under the current structure, area offices ensure headquarters directives are implemented, and district offices are responsible for managing major functions within a specified region of an area, including day-to-day management of subordinate post offices and customer service activities other than processing and distribution. The Postal Service believes the most recent consolidation will provide an annual cost savings of approximately $100 million.

Other organizations have streamlined their management structure, whether looking to utilize new technologies or just save money during difficult economic times. For example, United Parcel Service recently announced it was reducing its U.S. regions from five to three and its districts from 46 to 20, and Walmart announced it was reducing its regions from five to three. What do you think of the Postal Service’s field structure? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Keep in mind that Pushing the Envelope will not publish comments that contain personally identifiable information, so please don’t include any names in your story. This topic is hosted by the Office Audit Field Financial – West team.

Comments

I don't know, can they????

I know how they did it in the defense contractor
business, if you didn't have a contract job to charge your hours to in early 90's, just prior to the Iraq desert storm invasion.

They met you, the surplus personnel, at the gate, you were escorted to your desk with a guard. You could remove your personal items, and given approx eight minutes to clean out your desk items. You could not log into your IBM AT PC Dos 6.0 or Mac OS or open a file, then escorted to the gate.
Two days later you got a Fed-X package with the remaining items you may have left without your rolodex.

Field structure? I noticed they published the personal vehicle mileage allowances last month again.

I suggest you contact the US DOT & the US Census Bureau since the USPS transportation footprint
pretty much determines your viability.
And, five of the questions on the 2010 census directly
relate to the USPS field structure.

I'll take my bonus for providing this information to you in the form of rupee's or yen, thank you....

Sweet bonus cash....

Eliminate District offices completely. With the new web based applications for training, personnel and other functions it should be possible to consolidate the remainders of those functions at the Area level.
Much of what Districts do is either unnecessary, redundant or open to automation.
Given the defective institutional culture that is already prejudiced towards micromanagement why not simply remove an interim layer that provids no added value and simply acts as a conduit.

Area and District consolidation not only saves money, but I feel is MANDATORY(see, I can use their nasty words too!).

All that the area and POOM level management is used for is to roll the information downhill from the area and HQ, and with all offices being online now, that is no longer necessary-their work is redundant. If you have a question about something, you can now do a search on the Blue page instead of calling the district office. All they do is to intensify the micromanagement that is already at level beyond comprehension to those outside of the PS.

Also, with the area offices being consolidated, many of our processes can be streamlined. My office is on the border of 2 different districts, and when I need to borrow help from one of the offices in the other district, those clerks/PMR's are totally confused as to what reports they need to fill out, and how to dispatch the mail properly-through no fault of their own.

Eliminating districts and POOM level management would be the best thing thew PS can do. Think about how much money can be saved through the elimination of those jobs.

Get rid of the custodians that stand around and do nothing!

The Postal Service should flatten its administrative structure by eliminating both areas and districts and replacing them by one layer of middle management, area, district, region, call it what you will. There should be be thirty or forty of these management regions. All the management associations have endorse this idea. It would be a much more efficient structure.

RIF management craft ............ have them leave the payroll...not just move them to another room and call it RIF

Everything is telecom now. Instead of having all these extra District people just do telecom with supervisors who will eventually either have to use or answer for the information passed on. In many places including ours Postmaster is a useless puppit so it takes his anger out on employees.

Instead of contiunuing to cut workers who actually either accept, process,deliver mail, or ensure the cleanliness of the building cut the buracrats that kissed someone's behind to get where they are, and that don't do anything useful. FW district could lose the BME District BME manager and no one would even miss her highness. All she does is tell you to read something, we could figure that out on our own.

VERA

Hopefully the Postal Rate Commission will use the census data to determine the true mail volume figures.These figures should allow us to get a handle on how much mail is real mail and how much is mail for profit.Postal rates should be tied to the amount of mail delivered, not the amount that is processed. The mail should be barcoded and monitored for acurate delivery.I still get mail that is addressed to my mother who died in 1994.Contracts with independent mail processors last for years.The mail that they process(magazines,circulars and periodicals)is not monitored for delivery and they can store it indefinitly.Full time clerks and carriers don't need to be managed by people.The machines already do that. Also by intruducing the barcode mail theft would be eliminated.When the census data is crunched the Postal Regulatory Commission will have the data that will allow them to truly regulate.We shall see.Everyone knows that there are too many managers and too many middle men.

I don't know. You tell us. Isn't that the OIG's job?

One thing I do know is that we don't need districts to oversee individual post offices. Isn't that why post masters are paid? District offices are as useful as tits on a bull. And micro management harms morale and puts too many cooks in the kitchen. Rollin' On

1) Across the company cuts in management positions, not rearranging the org chart, actual removals, probably 10% is a good start, after all, there are 19K less clerks than a few months ago, who was supervising them before they left? Additionally, if the POOMs are going to hand-manage clerk and carrier hours in their offices, why is there a PM/Manager at the individual facility day to day?

2) Survey the workforce below the manager level for skills and experiences. I can't be the only clerk with two college educations and experiences with one of our major COMPETITORS in a prior job that could be of value, but being JUST a PTF in a small AO, my experiences and knowledge before joining the USPS are meaningless to the firm.

3) Find more consolidations of both districts and areas. The Western PA district is essentially still the Pittsburgh district with the Erie District leadership and all the same offices and plants, what changed?

Thanks.

it is best to watch this fiasco(USPS) daily operations from the outside. daily telecons are a joke. someone somewhere said have them and therefore they exist. can't this organization operate longer than 24 hrs without one?? Has anyone in the position of authority to cancel them for a week ever thought to do that??? I have been around over 25 years and have only seened my PM's boss 3 times. there are problems with the arriving mail on a daily basis. My PM goes with the flow on excuses. I would be making life tough for someone in Toledo on a daily basis if I were the PM.When was the last time the district mgr was in Toledo at 11pm ready to watch the night shift??? Probably afraid of what might be seen> eastern area VP- the old one had never ever been inside an llv or ffv. anyone surprised??????Whatever you do do not ask the people in charge their opinion. they had their chance.

I sent in a consolidation proposal over a year ago that would reduce the number of areas to 5 and districts to 50. Even mapped out the areas of responsibily to include population. Savings would be above $450 million. 30 years ago there were 5 regions that were under-automated so the USPS could easliy absorb 3 more.

Districts should be consolidated. There are way too many Districts in an Area. Consolidation is the only logical thing and cost effective thing to do in this technological age where you can communicate within seconds to any facility or area or Headquarters office. Also, more centralization of functions. Every District does not need the same identical offices, i.e. Finance, Marketing, Personnel, Maintenance, Operations, etc.

Hundreds of chiefs, only 10 indians.

Areas, districts and offices can be combined. Most paper shufflers can have duties added. Postmasters can be eliminated and replaced with office or station managers. Too many postmasters are seen playing golf during office hours. Supervisors are seen shopping for personal items at Wal Mart. These are the postmasters and supervisors who are promoted. No matter what the OIG does, the OIG will never beat the buddy system in area offices, district offices nor in post offices. Even consolidation just means moving someone to another position or giving their position another name.

To many chiefs, make available retirement incentives or get rid of them like you are trying to do to those of us that actually work.I've never seen so many people that are moved into management jobs, what a joke, so many clipboards, we need clerks and carrier not any more bosses, get rid of about 1/3 of the whole bunch and have the rest of them jstify exactly what they do. if volume is going down why so much management?

I agree with Justine; the last so-called RIF for management was nothing more than moving chairs around. The craft to management ratio is now 8-1; a healthy organization is 20-1. Micromanagement for the last 15 years has not worked; it's only bloated the number of managers. THIS is where the fat is; cut it now!

Think about what they did with sales...Take and make a bunch of 16's into level 23's and give pay raises across the board. The sales structure is a perfect example of the Postal Service turning it's head on the obvious. 25's, 23's 19's and 17's in most districts. In some the 23's are as many as the 17's. The Postal Service isn't serious about anything as long as it's reorganizations keep going like sales last one did.

Consolidate the admin functions. have the union members pay the salaries of their stewards.
change the work rules no more than 1 craft union. Everyone needs to fill in as needed
Either that or put this horse out of its misery

Once Personnel went out the door the PS have become less customer friendly anyway so why not eliminate those layers of managers. We are doomed if it doesn't happen.

Just by getting rid of the 300+ POOM's across the nation. USPS could save $45 million in saarlies and benefits.

each state a district with the most populatd split no area offices

The United States has a president and one vice president. Then why does USPS need 39, or 34 or even three vice presidents? Is it more important that the entire USA? I think not. Seems that the USPS is too busy justifyin’ it’s own nonsense.

Eliminate all Area bureaucracy. All of it. No need for this level of management.

Speakin’ of which, there are 50 states. Then why does the Postal Service need 76 or so districts. It could be a stretch to think that perhaps 50 districts — 50 states. Naw. If the Postal Service could justify 10 districts, that, too, may be a bit too many. How about five districts:

*Atlantic (All of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and D.C.)

*South East (The Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Puerto Rico)

*Midwest (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas)

*South West (Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa)

*North West (The Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska)

The “Eye” hopes “Eye” didn’t miss any states or possessions.

This would effectively slice off 80%-85% of upper management. Everythin’ is done electronically so there’s no need for such redundancy. The Postal Service is top heavy with worthless managers all tryin’ to justify their positions, donchathink?

Severely consolidate both district and area offices. Most Postmasters and employees know what has to be done. The vast majority of decisions lately make no sense at all. Too many auditors, to many safety personal, too many people who do not touch the mail, too many redundant procedures, and I would have to guess there are too many useless and overlapping reports for supervisors. It seems to me that some employees in the area and district offices create new programs and reports to justify their jobs, when in fact they are hurting the PO.

Too many managers managing other managers, managing other managers, managing other managers ad infinitum until you get to the supervisor that actually gets the work done. How many new Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents has the current PMG appointed? It seems that every month or two another VP position is created. Someone needs to point out to the PMG that the Postal Service is in danger of toppling over from being way too top heavy. I hope the OIG will come to this conclusion.

Knowing people that "work" at Area Offices, they have very little real work to do. The Area Offices are of little to no support to the field when called to answer a question. A call with a question usually results in a negative outcome for the caller. Staff at Area Offices take pride in how much discipline they issue, not in creating an atmosphere of achievement in the area they serve.

Get rid of Area Offices. They are redundant and a waste of precious Postal revenue.

The only area that has not shrunk is management. It was a real farce in our area when they so called down sized last year. All they did was send them on details, and have since brought them all back. Now, WE have less Clerks, and mail handlers with double the supervisors. All they do is harass the people who actually work. Oh, yea, and I mention that they're is a 204 B for every supervisor. They stand, and watch us work for hours. What a waste. Oh well,keep giving them bonuses until the PO is gone.

I am really not certain what the right move would be. I can only tell you that in my huge district, we have a Plant Manager in charge of 4 plants and 2500 employees. We have a city stations Postmaster in charge of dozens of delivery units, a District manager who needed to come here because the heat was on him where he came from previously.

Between these guys and a plethora of MPOOs, mixed with the locally housed, grossly bloated numbers of people in Pacific Area, you have an obscene number of high paid executives and EAS people who cannot seem to make a proper decision even by accident.

While the actual mail movers and delivery unit employees are being axed to the detriment of customer service, the suits and skirts, who crunch numbers and make impulsive and costly mistakes based on their flawed hypotheses, are increasing in numbers.

There must be a way to streamline PCES and EAS operations the way they streamline (better word, decimate) the bargaining unit employees.

mirco management will never work postmasters have no say anymore they have to call a poom for everything and their answer is always NO go back to the old way the post office was respected and all had service

Have you listen to any of our suggestions?
I think not so why even ask us...

all upper mangerment gets raises and the supervisor or postmaster who works 60 to 72 hours a week get told we have a budget problem SORRY NO RAISE FOR YOU ONLY US that is the post office today I used to be proud not I wont tell anyone I work for the post office

I noticed that someone ordered a pocket knife on ebuy2
today (now that everything is transparent) it cost $79
wow...I want that job where I can walk around with a $79 pocket knife...

Sirs, The Postal Service used to be a simple, efficient service. Then, in the late 80s it started to balloon at the top and middle layers. We are currently famous, perhaps more notorious, for having the worst manager to employee ratio of any known business in the country. The last I heard, most businesses had a manager to employee rate of 1 to 25. We, have an unheard of rate of 1 to 8. This is an example of managerial empire building and poor oversight. In terms of savings, all of these salaries are larger than any employee salaries and therefor more cost effective to trim down. We, the Service, need to cut back on the multiple criss counting of the same numbers and cut back to a more vertical management structure. Even with all the extra people counting each other, if not for the OIG we would have lost 75 billion dollars.
Our management structure is simply unsustainable.

We do not need all these layers of management. Disolve the Districts/Areas/Regions or whatever the title they have. I know our District seems to dictate to our local offices how things should operate, when they can't seem to get their own local offices to do a good job. Why should they tell us how to operate? What is good for one, doesn't necessarily work for another. I'm sure what questions any office should have they could access it through a data base or within house. No need to go through channels and get imput from someone who probably has no idea what the real problem might be. I know our local plant and offices do a good job and when problems arise it's usually after the District has demanded something be done a certain way, when they perhaps have never done the job and have no idea what they are talking about. In my opinion, eliminate the Districts dictating the rules, they can't seem to get their own local offices to do a good job, clean up your own house before going after the rest of us!

While the post office has consolidated some area and districts they continue to play a shell and pea game by failing to significantly reduce the number managers. In our small office of 6 letter carriers, 6 rural carriers, and 3 clerks we currently have a postmaster, a supervisor, and oftentimes a 204b managing us. My question is what are they managing all day? Do we really need 2-3 managers in our small office after the carriers are on the street?? After the carriers are on the street we have 3 managers watching 3 clerks. It is ridiculous. The post office seems to continue to attempt to reduce the craft employees (those thay actually have their hands on the mail), while increasing the numbers of management. My suggestion is to have one postmaster oversee several small offices and one supervisor in each office to manage day to day functions. We don;t need a postmaster and a supervisor in these small offices. In addition to that, eliminate the 204b program. What happens in our office is that our 204B is a letter carrier. When she is supervising we then have a vacant route to split up between the other carriers. That creates significant overtime which costs the post office more money. My opinion is that the post office just doesn't get it!

HQ is the only group that has increased employees in the last 2 years. 37 Vice presidents, how can that be. Please stop these eliteists from growing their empires and stop cutting to the bone the women and men who actually do the work in this organization.

Absolutely! Not only should Area and District support staff be cut, but Headquarters staff as well. Support positions should be cut by 50% at every level of the organization. Previous to Pat Donahoe, the Postal Service had a COO and a separate DPMG, now Pat performs both positions, and quite well. If Pat can do it, why can't every other VP, AVP, SVP, etc. Do we really need an AVP and a MOS? What is the difference; one has a bigger stick? Between voice mail, Blackberrys, and PCs, we shouldn't have a Secretary or Aministrative Assistant left in the Postal Service. They should have all been replaced with technology by now. The Area Offices should consist of 4 total people, the AVP, the MIPS, MOPS, and TANS. There should be no staff. They inspire, they lead, and they are the liaisons to HQ for all things field related. It would work and no one would miss a beat!

until I see action, I believe the OIG is blowing smoke up our butt....

I so agree with most of these posts.I am in a small office.The supervisor (that according to their own point system) we dont even qualify for.We have had carriers excessed to other offices. So our office has lost workers,while the supervisor making 61,000,plays on the internet all day. PM has to do the supervisors work,due to supervisor being inept. This all just gets ignored,while we have to count for every second of our day.Middle managment are stealing the USPS blind.If this occurs in my 1 lil office,how many in nation? They should be using a time card,,held acoountable for their time/work or get rid of them.Is a sad business.

Cut Support and EAS jobs at the District and Area Offices. Oh..and last but not least..cut those Headquarter jobs.

It is fine to advocate consolidation, but when something goes amiss with payment or records it's head down to the local office and complain loudly when referred to the centralized location.

100,000 EAS employees,at avg 75,000/yr =$7.5 Billion/yr. Reduce 25% that =$1.875 Billion saved, and we still deliver 6 days. Problem solved. NEXT!

Offer anyone who has these jobs an opportunity to transfer to craft positions that are in offices where overtime is being paid and anyone left after those offers have been made and fulfilled be offered other federal positions. The postal service saves more by either eliminating the overtime or taking the salaries off the books completely, win win.

Yes, we need to consolidate! HQs/Areas/&Districts! None of which touch the mail to get it delivered. HQs pushes out info directly to each PO -then a week AFTER it was implemented the area emails the same info to the District-the District emails to the PO a week too late and blames the PO for non-compliance! With technology HQs can micro-manage just fine. All of the reports roll from HQs so why add two more levels of "spin"? REDUCE!

All the area offices could be eliminated with the field reporting directly to HQ. This would create more uniformity/standardization on how operations are performed. It would also reduce much of the redundant reporting now taking place.

Hmmmm....43 out of 45 posts in favor of consolidation. Since that means it's a good idea, the PS will now increase the number of districts instead.

“Can the Postal Service Further Consolidate the Area and District Administrative Office Structure?”
The consensus is in and clearly states the obvious. Now OIG, it's up to you to package and present your 10 year projected cost savings to PRC Chairman Goldway and the rest of the Commission.
"Under the current structure, area offices ensure headquarters directives are implemented, and district offices are responsible for managing major functions within a specified region of an area, including day-to-day management of subordinate post offices and customer service activities other than processing and distribution."
You have stated it yourself, Area and District offices are nothing more than high priced messengers. All executive decision originate from HQ.
Read the insightful comments by Ex-Area Employee, Dionysus and Mike B.

The district folks spent a career distancing themselves from the work, now they want to manage it through virtual reality from afar. Machines are real. Mail is real. It is not the numbers they see on their reports. If they want to have relevance to our operations in real time, give them an office at the plant. Or, insist that those with offices at the plants perform these functions. I am an ET, and I perform all PM and corrective work on a DIOSS and DBCS/OSS 4 days a week. On the 5th day, I have another DBCS/OSS. It is not overwhelming, but with administrative time and assisting on other maintenance issues, it is a full load.
Given the time, I can analyze my own reports and take corrective actions on my own initiative. I don't have that luxury now, but then I don't need a bureaucracy to do it for me.
I also believe my maintenance manager could manage, if he were allowed out of his office. He is in 4 telecons per day, and when he is not in one, he is preparing for the next one. If district would like to manage the plant, give them an office at the plant.
Otherwise, allow the guy who has an office at the plant to do his job, and let him off the phone.
All that virtual information that we pipe to district every day, doesn't really need to leave the plant. The plant is reality.

Too many layers of upper management exist...without any accountability. Area and District Managers are totally out of control. Postal HQ has never dealt with it either. Postal HQ people need to go. It is time for a total restructuring of the USPS.

So many layers of management.A local office with a PM,or OIC,plus two supervisors must get permission from some other upper manager for everything,i.e. OT approval,supply buys,etc.Why are local offices staffed with so much management,if they aren't allowed to scratch their noses without permission? What a GIANT waste of dollars.

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