Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wanted: New Postmaster General; Must Be Able To Kiss 535 Backsides Simultaneously

Now the Congressional silliness regarding Postmaster General Pat Donahoe has gone bipartisan.

Rep. Dennis Ross indicated a few days ago that Donahoe should be fired – apparently for bowing to pressure from 20 senators and agreeing to a mostly meaningless moratorium on the closing of postal facilities. The Republican subcommittee chairman’s attack comes less than two weeks after Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio said the PMG should be canned for trying to save money by lowering the Postal Service’s delivery standards.

All this reminds me of what we tell little children: Every time you point a finger at someone else, four more are pointing back at you. Congress is largely to blame for the fix the Postal Service is in, and any meaningful reform requires Congressional action.

Can Donahoe focus on building new revenue sources or developing long-range plans, the way the CEO of any other multibillion-dollar business would? Nope, what passes for a business model at the Postal Service these days boils down to two strategies:

1) Persuade Congress and the general public that the Postal Service will soon go broke unless Congress makes some significant changes. (I’d say Donahoe is doing pretty well in this department.)

2) Suck up to the Postal Service’s dysfunctional 535-member board of directors -- Congress, that is, not the USPS Board of Governors -- in hopes of getting it to make the tough decisions necessary to save the agency. (A well nigh impossible task, I'd say.)

With the Postal Service’s finances hamstrung by Congressional inaction, Donahoe was forced to propose radical and unpopular cost-cutting measures like reducing service standards. And when 20 senators pushed for the moratorium, Donahoe would have been a fool to brush them off.

Ross’s response, via Twitter to postal blogger Alan Robinson: “PMG is trying to delay an [sic] deflect. First Brac management change may have to start at the top.”

“BRAC” refers to a Ross-proposed commission that would determine which post offices and processing centers are closed. The irony is that, even with the moratorium, Donahoe has the Postal Service on a fast track to close facilities "at least a year earlier than any BRAC could act," Robinson notes.

“In reality, the moratorium has little practical effect,” noted Postalnews Blog, “the USPS is continuing all of the processes it must go through in order to close the facilities, and few would actually have been shuttered by May.”

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Anonymous said...

Who wrote this article ? I don't see any one claiming it..but it sure reads like somebody sympathetic to the Postmaster, just sayin.

Anonymous said...

Where has Donohoue generated profits?
USPS is one of biggest employers. It is owned by taxpayers. What are quals of over 30 top USPS execs who make more than cabinet members. Are they ivy league mbas or are they career govt people who climbed over or under people to get to the top. Let us know their resumes.

Anonymous said...

Fact check, the taxpayers don't own the Postal Service. In fact, the USPS runs solely on revenues it produces from its own products and services (stamps, postage, etc). The small appropriations they receive from the federal government are for program they are mandated to run such as overseas mail, services for the blind and military mail. If you're going to take swipes at the USPS, please study up and use the correct facts. Here's another one for you...the USPS has overpaid 55-75 BILLION dollars (depending on which independent actuary assessment you use) into their pension/retiree healthcare accounts and are still being required by law to fund it at a level of 7-8 Billion annually. Absent these burdensome mandates, the USPS would be close to breakeven over the last 5 fiscal cycles...a feat that's worthy of noting, considering the size and cost reductions ($8 Billion + and close to 1/3 of personnel) they've made over that same period and w/o a "bailout" or BRAC-style oversight.

Anonymous said...

"Owned by the taxpayers"? The taxpayers contribute not one nickle to the USPS. Please get your facts before you post such nonsense.
Donahue is letting Congress get away with what they always do - kick the can down the road. He should have insisted that the reductions take place on the original schedule unless congress comes up with a better solution. Delaying until May will only dig the USPS a deeper hole. And, it is not only congress that has led to the deficits - even with skipping the pension payment in November, they still lost over $5 billion. A new business model is needed, and it WILL require some sacrifice, by both employees and customers.

Anonymous said...

In the US all businesses have owners the USPS is not supported by the taxpayers it is as you stated supported by it's own revenue(stamps) which is the price (or tax) you pay to get a letter delivered. USPS is a government entity a company owned and controlled by the people and for the people.

Anonymous said...

Postmaster General Pat Donahue absolutely needs to be fired, but not for the latest management screw ups and total disregard for the mission of the agency.

He should be fired for failing to remove employees like VP and USPS lead counsel Mary Anne Gibbons. She's the one who failed to exercise her responsibilties to report violations under the Code of Ethics (as the USPS OIG has pointed out about her in two separate investigations now). Instead, they gave someone else her duties as ethics officer. Wow, that's $500K management wizardry Pat.

Or how about Donahue's comments to an Area VP when the USPS OIG was taking them to task for sticking the Postal Service with their lunch, dinner and bar tabs in clear violation of finance rules regarding such activities. Donahue said, "Fuck the OIG, we deserve that, in fact maybe I'll discuss it with them over a USPS paid steak dinner."

And finally, Donahue should be fired for promoting the aforementioned idiot of a VP who was bragging about that very conversation while he still violates those rules to this day to get his meal and bar tabs covered by USPS.

Anonymous said...

service standards require $ and people, for that to happen with out tax dollars, there should be mail volume.. that is common sense" when some one says " pmg it is your duty to come up with a plan or else leave the job" ti make me laugh. to my mind the only person on earth to do this job as pmg is bill gates becas he has the $ to fund for a few years only"

Anonymous said...

It's always easy to say 'fire the guy' or otherwise claim malfeasance. 75%+ of all offices open every day knowing that they will not even come close to breaking even for their daily costs. I ran a larger office (Lvl 22 if you know what that is) and we barely broke even during the summer months. Christmas, yes we made payroll. The union contracts are unwieldy and actually create budget problems. You have to use people for full time when you don't need them; it's the contract. Carriers can slough off and become slower and we can't use performance as an issue. It's the contract. Or it's an arbitration decision. Management has had it's ranks cut hardest. Used to be district support offices for Human Resources, Finance and other things. Now the manager/Postmasters have to shoulder that burden. And they have lost supervisors they once had. Yeah, real easy to spout off. You have to be in their shoes to understand exactly how hard it is to run a profitable business.

Anonymous said...

Just do what I tell you! Congress actions aren't anything new to the postal service. Congress is Postal TWO!. So the PMG agreed to end 200,00 middle class jobs (union workers of course)as emanded by GOP. Any unemployment is good unemployment !Public wasn't really concerned (even the loss of service at 3000 small towns was overlooked). When the PMG let them know that all those unemployment checks,SS checks,heart medications & amazon boxes would be late, then it hit home. Yeah, that Viagra is going to be late! If 5 day delivery in the Metro areas was going to be first class, what can you expect in Montana? Wanna play stupid? With a Postal Worker? A lifter /40 year service that snaked his way all the way to Washington D.C.? A postal Worker that will get his salary for lifetime pension (& has been eligible for years)? lol. You might have voted for the Kool-Aid (or whatever flavor Tea you like)party!

Anonymous said...

"In fact, the USPS runs solely on revenues it produces from its own products and services (stamps, postage, etc)."

Which explains the 15 billion dollars it borrowed from taxpayers this year.

"The taxpayers contribute not one nickle to the USPS"

See above. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they don't use tax payer revenues for operations but when they need to borrow money where does it come from?

Anonymous said...

As a member of the mailing industry, I do not agree with the PMG's plans for the US Postal Service. You can't raise prices while reducing services and expect to get more customers. That plan will push people further from the use of snail mail. Seems like every time the USPS has a solution, it ends up shooting itself in the foot instead. If on the other hand, the USPS had a plan to improve services and was allowed to quit making those ridiculous prepayments into the retiree account, it could do more than survive. Congress pillaged the USPS coffers for years and Americans are paying the consequences.

Kevin said...

Annonymous...Get A life nobody cares what you think. You won't even put a name behind your opinion?