Last month the Economic Policy Institute, an independent Washington think tank, issued a study (Congressional Mandates Account for Most of Postal Service’s Recent Losses) analyzing the Postal Service’s operating losses over the past three years. It should be noted that while the Institute is nonpartisan, the National Association of Letter Carriers provided support for the research.
What’s the best way to encourage good performance? Employers have always struggled with this question. One answer is to pay employees based on how well they perform their jobs. Many private sector employers have adopted pay-for-performance (PFP) programs, and several federal agencies have also experimented with PFP. Some federal PFP programs have operated successfully for many years; others have been more controversial. Last year, Congress terminated a PFP program at the Defense Department. Employees complained that the program was arbitrary and lacked transparency.
The Postal Service processes payroll for more than 500,000 employees. To handle this monumental task, time and attendance information is gathered through the Time and Attendance Collection System (TACS). TACS then transmits the payroll data to the mainframe run by the Information Technology and Accounting Service Center (ASC) in Eagan, MN, for payment processing.
To encourage employees to contribute constructive ideas to enhance customer satisfaction, generate revenue, increase productivity, and improve competitiveness, the Postal Service offers the web-based eIDEAS program. Postal employees can submit ideas online or at a mail processing plant kiosk.
There is no question that a country’s postal service is a valuable national asset. On one hand, it is a functional asset that supports commerce and binds the nation together. On the other, postal operations are capital assets, with distribution networks, vehicles, machinery, and labor resources that have some sort of value.