gordon glazer_1

On July 24 it was announced that the House of Representatives panel working on Postal reform passed a proposal to eliminate curbside delivery by 2022. This includes deliveries to mailboxes at the end of driveways, and cluster box delivery would replace letter carriers slipping mail into front-door boxes. Estimated savings from this is 4.5 Billion annually. This panel is headed by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the measure is now heading for a full vote on House floor.

While giving the Post latitude to make more independent business decisions would be welcome, a new mandate to upset the public from Congress is not what is needed. Its incredible that Congressman Issa continues to dodge the major challenges facing the USPS, created by Congress, that is making them leak red ink. It is very confusing but like most government conspiracies it is important to follow the money.

In 2002, the USPS Inspector General found that the Post had overpaid 80 Billion to the US Treasury for federal government pensions. A lot of former military found second careers at the USPS, these prior years of service count toward their federal pension and the Post was shouldering 100% of those costs.

No one argues that the Post over paid, but Congress did not want to take an 80 Billion dollar budget deficit hit for making it right so they made a deal as part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006. The Post would be relieved from making future pension payments for the credits earned while in the Military and to make up for the cash shortfall they would be required to prefund 75 years' worth of future health care costs in just 10 years of payments. No other agency or company in the world has such a mandated burden.

Before the economic downturn in late 2007, the Post was doing well and in exchange for some new autonomy for their completive product line (Shipping Services), a streamlined method to adjust rates for their Market Dominant products (Mailing Services) and future pension relief they reluctantly agreed. Many industry veterans believed the bill that Congress jammed down their throats was short sighted and unfair to the Post and recognized that this was a disguised tax on the American public!

Any wonder why we don't trust politicians? They created this problem and they have the obligation to fix it fairly without any more accounting tricks and hidden taxes. The Post has been backed into a corner, and I for one applaud them in their successful efforts. They have dramatically reduced their workforce thru automation and logistical efficiency gains while their on-time delivery performance improves every quarter.

Why does Congress and the press continually dump on the Post? If they were a private company, they would rank among the 50 largest in the world. They are the largest deliverer of mail and parcels in the world, with more retail locations than Starbucks, McDonalds and Walmart combined. The Post is one of the world's most environmentally conscious entities, they are the #1 "most trusted Government agency" and the #3 "most trusted American organization". It is estimated that the overall Industry that supports them employs well over 6 Million people.

The good news is that the Parcel delivery side of their business is thriving and driving records profits. With 151 million daily deliveries, they handle 40% of the world's volume at the lowest per unit cost and deliver to the largest geographical area than any other Post. So they are incredibly efficient, trusted, environmentally conscious and secure. Why do they continually get stymied by our Government and trashed by the major news media?

They got the public to overwhelmingly approve their plan to eliminate Saturday delivery for Letter mail, you would think Congress would stay out of their way, but no, they put an end to that 2 billion annual savings plan. It boggles my mind.

So what does Issa want to do now to fix the post, force cluster boxes? I wonder who else is going to profit from this? Get real ISSA and make meaningful Postal Reform a reality.

Gordon S. Glazer, CMDSM, CMDSS, MDP, MDC is the President of Mail Consulting Services for Shipware, LLC. He specializes in reducing shipping and mailing costs through modal optimization and other strategies. He welcomes your comments and can be reached at Gordon@shipware.com or 858.879.2020 x 108.