on Oct 4th, 2010 in Strategy & Public Policy | 26 comments
 
On September 30th, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) turned down the request by the Postal Service for an exigent price increase averaging 5.6 percent across all market-dominant products, such as First-Class Mail and Periodicals. Although current law cape increases in these products to the inflation rate, the PRC can consider rate increases beyond the cap if the Postal Service has been affected by “extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.” In this decision, the PRC agreed with the Postal Service’s contention that the economic recession was an exceptional circumstance, but it ruled that the Postal Service did not show how the exigent rate request was due to the recession. The ruling also tied cash flow problems the Postal Service currently faces to current laws that require prefunding of retiree health benefits. An OIG study found that the Postal Service has been overcharged $75 billion in its funding of pension liabilities, an amount that could be used to fund current and future retiree health benefits. In a statement addressing the PRC’s decision, Postmaster General Jack Potter expressed disappointment. However, he said that the PRC’s acknowledgement of the large financial risk caused by the prefunding payments for retiree health benefits was encouraging. The statement notes that the Postal Service is still reviewing the PRC’s decision and determining its course of action, but it lists areas for legislative relief to keep the Postal Service viable. October 1st was the start of the new fiscal year for the Postal Service. As the Postal Service enters 2011, what do you think its next step should be?

26 Comments


Cut out most services where we lose money. A public service cannot survive in this economy by providing services where it keeps losing money yet cannot increase prices to recover those costs.

Rather than eliminate a delivery day, carrier should not deliver to an address until they either have a piece of first class mail for that address, or the volume dictates a delivery. if they only have a piece or 2 or Bulk Mail they should skip that delivery.

Media Mail should be eliminated. Parcel Post should be eliminated within a specified close range area. Why offer a service for the same price or .10 more than the premium product.

Stop dispatching Express Mail which is not guarenteed until the following day. They are only paying $18.30. We can't afford to keep sending an employee to deliver this Mail or take it to the AO when the guarentee is for the following day. It can go with the HCR driver, we are paying more to deliver it than we brought in. The same for Express which is already late. We don't want this to happen, but when it does the person is getting their money back, why do a costly special dispatch at this point?

stop sending around DUO teams to small offices. Teams are sent around to inspect 2 or 3 times, only to decide to put it on hold. Any money there is to be saved is spent on the big wigs running around all over creation doing inspections. Look at all the money spent on offices with a negative decision for consolodation.

Stop sending Postcards to employees, and little notices in clerks paychecks telling them not to steal. Not only is it insulting, look at all the money spent printing that stuff when we are going broke.

BUY-OUT FOR ALL CIVIL SERVICE WORKERS CASH $$ LIKE THE CARRIERS GOT IN 1992 $25,000

there shouldnt be any raises or bonuses until the post office makes money. I cant for the life of me understand how you can give management pay for performance bonuses and bonuses to upper management when the postal service is in such poor shape.

I am a sales and distribution clerk in a level 21 office. There are times that it seems that I spend half of my day retreiving hold mail. Why is this a free service. Why is the post office paying me $25 an hour to retreive this without any revenue taken in. Not to mention the supervisor entering it in the systym to be taken out of DPS and the labor of the carrier to handle it. All for free. A $1 flat fee should be charged to put mail on hold. It would probably generate about a million dollars a day nation wide. Bingo , all monatary problems solved.

We now have less routes and more supervisors! Simple decision and math, get rid of the dead weight.

hire a effiency expert to go throgh the post office starting at the top meaning the postmaster general working down and right size the whole structure. then cut the perks for the exec's cause we are gov workers not a fortune 500 co

Sirs,
1) begin at the beginning, retrieve the $75 billion from Treasury and reset the formula correctly stabilizing the Postal Service.
2) stop the "Pay for Perfomance" program as it has corrupted all reporting numbers and generated both substantial grievences and unworthy bonuses. People already get paid for performance, it is called a salary.
3) streamline the administrative and managerial processes as former PMG Marvin Runyon was going to do. " Anyone who doesn't touch the mail is overhead ".
4) study why the same contract violations are generated day after day, month after month, yet management never learns. If you don't like the law, work to change it; don't violate it.
4) give full support to the "Customer Connect" program. One of the scandals of the Bernstock debacle is that Customer Connect was allowed to be corrupted by adding commissions to people who plainly were dishonest and woefully unsupervised. I have been involved with this program since it's inception and it has, in my mind, been deliberately undersupported from the start.
There are more areas that could use attention but this is the head of my list.
Good Luck !

As we can plainly see every week here, there are several common themes that show the problems that need to be addressed.

-Too much management, too much dead weight doing nothing but crunching numbers. Unload anybody who doesn't touch the mail.

-Let PMs run their offices the way they want to. A PM knows more about his office and community than somebody sitting behind a desk 100 miles away.

-Give out a free PO Box to small communities in lieu of delivery. You will save over $100 per delivery point, and will make the level 11/13 offices more productive.

-Set up "Shop and Ship" kiosks at the major discount stores. People can ship their gifts as soon as they are done shopping. Very convenient, and you can beat the competition to the punch. Why set up at a supermarket? Do you think people are going to ship out a carton of milk.

-Make all remaining management take the Carnegie management courses, where they will learn that when they treat people with respect, the positive results will be seen in a more motivated work atmosphere.

-Reform or eliminate EXFC. It is costing us a ton of money to deliver a single piece to another office just to make a number. Spend a dollar to save a dime.

-Make upper management pay for their benefits. Potter says they don't pay because we need to be competitive in hiring top execs. Uh yeah, like the ones we have now?

-VOE, use it as something to listen to employees, not just another number to crunch. Let the survey address the real problems of the PS, not just ask a bunch of biased questions paint a rosy picture that doesn't exist.

Oh yeah, and eliminate Media Mail. We lose money on every piece of it, and there are too many people ripping us off with it.

I think you will see this any number of times from employees who post here...eliminate the postions that don't move the mail. Function 4 teams, route adjusters, mystery shops, odis, etc. And of course the layers of mgmt who only parrot orders up and down the line.

Offer additional VERA's. Many are now ready!

Offer reasonable incentives to get the ole timers out. Why is it the PO only offered employees a $15,000 incentive and other Federal agency employees were offered $25,000??? If you can't offer $25,000 then add two years of service! That would clear out a lot of folks.

Going out of business.

They should deliver mail every other day ! Split up the routes for mon/wed/fri delivery and the others for tues/thurs and Sat. There would still be carriers out on the streets everyday to deliver Express mail and they could even create a new class of ASAP mail where the customer can pay a little extra to get a package to someone on one of the days that the particular address does not get mail.

They should also close half the post offices... no one really goes to them anymore.. think of the savings in rent/electric bills...water bills etc. Also, this would eliminate half of management... does a town with 2000 residents really need a postmaster ? I think the Postmasters could work as territorial managers and do most of the work via computer !

I say end all the ridiculous retirement packages that are so unsustainable it almost appears like a huge ponzi/pyramid scheme (see social security for another example)

will the last person to leave, please turn out the lights. the party's been over

that general Postmaster.. his salary should cut down.. he makes $850,000 a year and congress won't cut his salary down.. Way too much money to make for a year.. and leaving us nothing to make.. his salary should be down to like $250,000 a year

Consolidate small offices with nearby offices. Build
rural routes up, instead of paying full benefits for part time work, under 40 hours. Rural carriers have been trained to serve non personel offices, until can be closed totally. Any person would close these offices if it was their business, it only makes sense. Also we may find the postal service isn't as bad off as we think, after contracts are settled. I could look bad also if I paid off all real estate,cars and equipment this year. Maybe they have been putting a lot of money in these football size flat sorters in the past 2 years. Makes everything look bad for a little while. See there may be hope a little latter.

1st Where ever there are foot routes on residential areas. Install mail boxes curb side. Create all driving routes as much as possible. Business cluster boxes and some park and loop areas are ok...BUT FOR DAME SAKE CREATE ALL DRIVING ROUTES IF POSSIBLE> you will save money right there. 2nd cut back on buildings Managment Supervisors, Postmasters. The bread and butter of the business are the LETTER CARRIERS, MAIL HANDLERS, TRAILER DRIVERS, CLERKS, (if any changes need to be made they need it quickely) because the Postal Service is a dying breed. A thing of the past.

#2 Offer reasonable incentives to get cross the board management and craft out. The PO should offer $25,000 and five years added to your retirement. That would clear out a lot of folks....also management should aligned it s mainstream approach-put the excess on the workroom floor to do some real work...ex. 4hrs office work and 4hrs on the workroom floor, as an clerk or mailhander..cut out overtme..SAVE MONEY

Trim the fat and Pork get rid of over the top managers that don't care about the mail and stop footing the bill for Senior Managers health bills..Fix the problem of far too many EEO/Labor Relations complaints...This is too costly when many cases are awarded through the administrative procedure process...Start aking like the United States Postal Service is a business and not managments privately owned business...

The Post Office is THE most inefficient organization ever. They feel they have a monoploy on "mail" therefore customer service is non-existant. I just paid $35 to send a small package "guaranteed" delivery by the next day; the package was sent to the correct post office, where it sat on a shelf instead of being delivered to the correct addressee. Now, I have to FIGHT to get my refund. I WISH FedEx would start a regular mail delivery system. I will NEVER use USPS for anything besides snail mail.

When is that no Saturday delivery going into effect. USPS could just extend it to no postal service on Saturday for all postal workers.

One more time -I've been a rural carrier for 7 years with the last 4 months as a 204b. Almost everyone in the postal service works harder and more efficiently than in any other business I've worked in (including non profits, superior courts, albertons, hospitality, and private business). The supervisors and postmasters are necessary and most are just trying to do what they're told and get the results HQ wants. And therein lies the problem. Most upper level management are so far removed from craft that they do not even realize that they are implementing procedures that are archaic and getting results that are not acheiving their goals. Many of the ideas I read here were ones I have thought and can prove will work. Here are ones involving shipping since that's what we do:
1. Implement what so many employees suggested-modern vending machines that work and automatic weight and scan machines that customers can utilize without waiting in line that weigh and/or scan their parcels into the mailstream.
2. Make the scans reflect useful information which can be accessed easily by customers and shippers - isn't that what they are for. For instance, why are the carriers scanning anything not delivered or notified as Undeliverable as addressed and then leaving clerks to scan them as forwards, no such number, insufficient address or whatever. Even worse carriers don't have to scan pickups at all so nobody knows when and where the mailpiece enters the mailstream.
3. Let customers and shippers choose whether they want the shipping information accessed easily. Don't assume, as we do now, that everyone wants that info kept secure. They don't-they all want to be able to access their information easily. Let them opt in or out of privacy at the time they pay. It wastes an enormous amount of time for customers, shippers, carriers, and supervisors to wade through the process of finding out what's really happened to their shipment.
4. (And I'll stop here but the list is endless). Figure out what everyone wants and give it to them if you can. Customers want accurate and simple to understand info showing exactly how they can benefit from USPS. Let people pay bills through usps with cash for a $1.00 fee and have it posted immediately to their account (I call it imail with each participating company having a scan mark like an eye).

Finally it's important to note that there is a small window of opportunity before other companies or agencies provide what we cannot and become the communication link between people, business, and government that we are supposed to be. Thank you.

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