“Despite challenging marketplace conditions, an inflexible business model imposed by federal law and financial issues caused by legislative constraints, the Postal Service is moving forward with a lot of momentum,” Mickey D. Barnett and Postmaster General Pat Donahoe wrote in a joint letter appearing in the agency’s annual report to Congress.
|Even in the report's only photo showing letters,|
(Can you spot them?) packages take center stage.
Donahoe and Barnett can afford to be forthright. Donahoe is retiring Feb. 1, and Barnett’s term as chair of USPS’s Board of Governors expired earlier this month.
As for the subliminal message: The 84-page report has 14 photos featuring parcels, one that (barely) shows letters, and none depicting flat mail. Guess what postal officials think is the key to the agency’s future? After all, USPS’s parcel business grew 9% during Fiscal Year 2014, while revenue from other sources declined slightly.
Here's how the report spelled out “What’s Needed” from Congress:
The Postal Service is urging Congress to pass comprehensive postal legislation. Among the provisions we seek are those needed to ensure that the Postal Service is self-sustaining and financially strong as well as a reliable, low-cost partner to the American people and the communities it serves. These provisions include:
- Require within the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program a set of specific health care plans that would fully integrate with Medicare and virtually eliminate the retiree health benefits unfunded liability.
- Adjust the FERS [Federal Employee Retirement System] payment amount using Postal Service-specific demographic and salary growth assumptions and refund any existing surplus.
- Adjust delivery frequency (six-day packages/fiveday mail).
- Streamline governance model and eliminate duplicative oversight.
- Provide authority to expand products and services.
- Require defined contribution retirement system for future Postal Service employees.
- Require arbitrators to consider the financial condition of the Postal Service.
- Reform Workers’ Compensation.
- Allow the Postal Service the right to appeal EEOC class action decisions to Federal Court.
The bottom line is that the Postal Service is ready to make the necessary changes to keep delivering for America. We just require the freedom to make it happen.