Monday, October 25, 2010

Potter Quitting the Worst CEO Job in America

At the ripe age of 55, Postmaster General Jack Potter announced his retirement today from the worst CEO job in America.

Some will no doubt speculate about the reasons -- a coming change in Congress or perhaps the failure so far to notch any major political victories on such issues as rate increases, five-day delivery or retiree-benefits reform. But I have my own theory.

The job stinks.

By any measure, the U.S. Postal Service is among the top five employers in the country. Chiefs of any similar-sized private organization get at least 10 times as much compensation -- and far fewer complaints about how much they're being paid.

I've had my criticisms of Potter's Postal Service, but most of what's wrong seems to predate Potter. And change doesn't come easily to such a massively bureaucratic and complex organization. Laws, regulations, political forces, union contracts, and the inability to hire talented managers from outside the organization all tie the PMG's hands in a way that no private-sector CEO has to deal with.

Most CEOs have a board of directors consisting of fellow or former CEOs, investment bankers, high-powered lawyers, and others who can provide valuable guidance. But the Postal Service's board of governors is made up mostly of political hacks with little relevant knowledge or experience.

And then there's the Postal Service's other governing body, consisting of 535 politicians who drain billions from the USPS in pension and benefits funds to hide the size of the federal deficit, carp about how much money the Postal Service is losing, then scream "not in my district" whenever attempted Postal Service streamlining hits too close to home.

Want to launch a new venture? If you're the PMG, forget about the usual discussions of return on investment or marketing plans. First you have to figure out who might object and whether they have the political clout to block the path.

A money-losing business with an acknowledged need to downsize moves quickly, with many people working round the clock to implement buyout packages and to consolidate operations. But the Postal Service's downsizing efforts creak along, with each facility consolidation the subject of many months of study, public hearings, protests, and Congressional badgering.

And instead of encouraging people to retire to reduce operating expenses, the bureaucracy discourages them instead by offering incomplete, sometimes inaccurate, benefits information and notoriously slow payments.

To no one's surprise, Potter is being replaced by his right-hand man, Pat Donahoe, the deputy PMG and chief operating officer. My condolences, Pat.


Jose Canchero said...

He was bullied into the position. It was his "up through the ranks" stature that gave him the connection to the "working class" portion of the postal service. Although the "USPS working class" is a whole different animal than the "real world working class."

I am surprised that he lasted as long as he did.

We wish him well in his future endeavors.

Anonymous said...

You feel sorry for this self-serving excuse of a postmaster? Oh, the things he's done to his employees and to our postal service. This man needs to be investigated NOW! Read the posts in the or postal employeenetwork. Read all you can about Potter's dispicable ways of treating managers and how he hires his buddies. Check into his finances. Ask a few thousand of the100,000 plus injured on the job employees who were walked off their jobs because there was "no work available". He has cut the actual "working" workforce down to bare bones while doing nothing to trim down administrative jobs. Closing offices to save money? No way. Rate hike to encourage mailers? Now way. Managers bullying employees until they commit suicide? It happened. Do some more research and get back to us on how you feel about Potter.

Anonymous said...

worst ceo job in america? i doubt it. i would love this job. apparently, you are accountable to no one! i mean, how else could you get away with paying out bonus money to your "buddies" each year for the last three years when the postal service lost over $11 BILLION dollars in this period? the fact is, potter wasn't capable of successfully running a lemonade
stand. good ridance.

Anonymous said...

when carrier and clerk crafts are
reduced by 15% or more; yet senior
management staffing INCREASES by
12% it is time for YOU to go! Cut
senior management staffing in half
and the Post Office can deliver
7 days a week and make money

National Whistleblower Allen Carlton said...

YHVH solution for those entrusted with enforcement of moral law to include the laws of the US Constitution who refuse to do so for personal gain is the Peoples Righteous Kill Defense [PRKD]. In the American Holocaust those responsible for "war crimes" against the people will have punishment exacted by the people.

National Whistleblower

Anonymous said...

No CEO will worth millions of dollar while employees go through hardship. Look at Mark Hurd of HP, he cut employees left and right, he cut employees salary while he gets biggest bonus of all time while he was CEO. Most employees at HP would quit if the economy get better and they would jump ship. What go around comes around, the worst character will get its due. They treat employees like dirt. So I am glad he is retired for the shake of USPS. He FORGOT where he came from, he lost his root as USPS employee

Anonymous said...

Someone also needs to comment on the Postal strategy of intimidation in order to get employees to quit instead of offering a reasonable monetary incentive to retire. So clerk, carrier, mailhandler, thanks for all your years of service, but since we want you out we are going to discipline you on everything scratch, sneeze, or cough you do until you are fed up and quit. If things don't change with management, I can envision another era of "postal" coming.

Anonymous said...

CEO w/ just a BA and a yr of leadership training?? No wonder why USPS in the hole.

Anonymous said...

CEO? This federal agency operates under a monopoly. It also operates tax-free (property,fuel etc). It is exempt from workman comp insurance requirements (injuries handled by DOL). It's managers are protected from personal liability by their federal employee status. To call the head bureaucrat of this federal agency shows a severe lack of business basics.

Anonymous said...

'The gig is up'. He was about to be exposed and was forced into retirement. 'Retire or get fired'.

Anonymous said...

Seems like an opportunity to hire someone from private industry. How about Steven Rattner who helped turn around GM. How did Donahoe slide in?

dryMAILman said...

I think this bares repeating...

'But the Postal Service's board of governors is made up mostly of political hacks with little relevant knowledge or experience.'

Anonymous said...

Monopoly? There is not postal monopoly anymore. Everthing has competiton in other channels. Helped turn around GM? Gm is not turned around. Come on, the Postal Service isn't even close to being in as bad a shape as GM. If it weren't for the prefunding mandate, . . .

Anonymous said...

What are you smoking? Monopoly exists. As long as Universal Service is mandated, the USPS will keep that privilege. They will also operate the nations largest fleet without paying liability insurance on 1 vehicle. Pay zero dollars for auto registrations. Exempt them selfs from emissions compliance & inspections (although they now self-certify emissions).ANY MORON of a postal worker can step in
without ANY business experience & have the USPS ALMOST break even. Night school classes & specially created MIT certification doesn't change the fact that a REAL CEO makes millions a year. NO ONE is trying to steal "postal talent" for very good reasons. Pathetic self-anointed civil workers.

Anonymous said...

The PO is replacing Potter with Donahoe?? To me, that means business as usual. He will follow in the exact footsteps as Potter. Probably hire Potter back as a consultant, raise his pay and pay his health care. I can't beleive that congress lets this go on at the PO. They are trying to replace all career employess with temps, including lower level supervisors. The greed of these selfish higher-ups is what is killing our service. I am tired of hearing that the PO is losing billions, and we all believe it. Why can't they be audited or investigated or held accountable for their actions? They seem to have plenty of money for their own benefit, while cutting our service and raising rates. I've read that the PO wants even more independance to make decisions. That would be totally remiss of congress to let that happen. Can anyone offer some advice on how we, the american people, can change this whole mess around and get back to basic mail delivery? Potter and his pals have been left pretty much alone to make decisions and look what he did. Donahoe will do the same. The big boys get richer while lying to us about their finances. Congress, HELP!!!

Anonymous said...

I know this is 2010, but in the past...did you know???
Postmaster General John Potter's base salary climbed to $265,000 in 2008 from $186,000 in 2007. He also received a performance bonus of $135,000. In all his total compensation -- salary, bonuses, retirement benefits and other perks -- topped $850,000, a spokesman with the U.S. Postal Service told
A PERFORMANCE BONUS when the agency lost $2.8 BILLION DOLLARS in 2008???
Potter's bonus is deferred until he leaves the federal service. Yep...time to retire knowing that Congress will have a new government oversight committee leader in the November 2010 election.
ALSO...the USPS is NOT A COMPANY. A company sells shares of stock. Unlike FedEx and UPS, THE USPS DOES NOT SELL SHARES OF STOCK, therefore, how can "divedends" or "bonuses" be paid out to management, especially when the US Postal Service is losing millions and millions of dollars year after year???
My fellow Americans, I would love to have "the worst CEO job in America"!!!