Tags: Patrick Donahoe | United States Postal Service

Postmaster Delivers Parting Shot at Congress, Special Interests

Image: Postmaster Delivers Parting Shot at Congress, Special Interests
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. (Michael Reynolds/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 03:09 PM

On his way out the door, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe took the opportunity to blast Congress in a speech before the National Press Club for bowing to special interests and blocking legislation needed to modernize the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

"What’s holding us up? Myopia. Shortsightedness. That may sound a little harsh, but it would be too easy to say that it’s just congressional gridlock," Donahoe said, The Hill reported.

"As much as we try to have an elevated conversation about the future of the organization, we never get beyond the narrow set of interests that are determined to preserve the status quo."

Donahoe, who will retire on Feb. 1 after 39 years of service, leaving the USPS in the hands of his chief operating officer Megan Brennan, took aim at mass mailers, unions and others and said USPS needs legislation to provide business flexibility which would allow the agency, which was $5.5 billion in the hole at the end of 2014, to operate profitably, Federal Times reported.

"If given that flexibility, I have no doubt the Postal Service will continue to aggressively adapt to a changing world and a changing marketplace, and do so profitably," Federal Times noted that Donahoe said.

Specifically, Donahoe said USPS, which already has dropped 320,000 employees since 2000, needs to drop about 80,000 of its current 480,000 employees, get out from under the required pre-funding of 75 years of employee retirement benefits which costs the service $5.6 billion per year, close under-used post offices and end Saturday mail delivery, Federal Times reports.

At the same time, Donahoe wants USPS to step up its package delivery, which is profitable thanks to growing online mail ordering business, and raise postage prices.

"The growth opportunities in this organization are in packages and other goods," The Hill reported that Donahoe said.

He wants the ability to place new employees into a contribution pension plan and mandate Medicare for employees.

Donahoe favors passage of the Postal Reform Act of 2014, offered by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., which would provide for the reforms Donahoe favors.

"Over the past year, Americans have realized the hard truth that the Postal Service is on the verge of financial collapse. If it were to shut down, the impact on our economy would be devastating. Although the situation is dire, it isn’t hopeless. With the right tools and quick action from Congress, the Postal Service can reform, right-size and modernize," Carper's website states.

First class mail has dropped by 26 percent, costing USPS $17 billion annually. USPS has fought back since 2006 by consolidating 305 processing plants, cutting open hours at 13,000 post offices, dropping 23,000 delivery routes and slowing first class overnight delivery to a two-day service, saving $16 billion, but Donahoe insists it is not enough, USA Today reports.

"I've been accused of being optimistic to a fault," The Hill reported Donahoe said. "Perhaps I am, but I believe this new Congress will take a fresh look at the long-term future of the Postal Service and pass the legislation that we need."

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On his way out the door, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe took the opportunity to blast Congress in a speech before the National Press Club for bowing to special interests and blocking legislation needed to modernize the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
Patrick Donahoe, United States Postal Service
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2015-09-06
Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 03:09 PM
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