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Letter to the Editor: March 4, 2013

Mar. 3, 2013 - 01:08PM   |  
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How to reform USPS

[Regarding “Postmaster general urges lawmakers to back ending Saturday delivery” Feb. 13, federaltimes.com:]

I have been on enough Postal Headquarters Task Force Teams to know who controls the U.S. Postal Service, and as hard as he tries, it’s not Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. He does an excellent job, but his hands are tied. The last team I was on in 2009 has resulted in the Postal Service saving more than a quarter-billion dollars every year since.

The 11-member Board of Governors is a part-time governing body and can’t do anything without Congress’ approval. And don’t forget the Postal Regulatory Commission, which controls the price of stamps. A lot of people are involved in controlling the post office, but Congress is the only one that counts. This C-SPAN video of Congress questioning the Board of Governors in April 2011 is enlightening: c-spanvideo.org/program/servicefina.

Below are four items I feel need to be changed to put the Postal Service back on track:

• Keep the Postal Service a quasi-government agency, but give officials an opportunity to compete in the free market without all the restrictions they are under. Privatizing would be a futile effort and result in higher prices for the public and less overall coverage.

• Change the laws regarding who oversees the Postal Service and eliminate Congress and the Postal Regulatory Committee from the equation. It shouldn’t take an act of Congress to get something done. Congress has proven to be ineffective in many ways, and there are much better solutions.

• Dissolve the part-time Board of Governors and establish a full-time 11-member board. Give it responsibility for all decisions, including the price of postage stamps. Let the board members take responsibility for their decisions and only involve Congress in an emergency.

• Appoint a new Board of Governors chairman like Jim Miller, a former chairman of the board’s Audit & Finance Committee. He is known for his strong opinions — see c-spanvideo.org/program/futureofthepos.

Take these steps, and America will have the best delivery service in the world again.

The problem is that what I recommend is out of the question. The only thing the current administration and Congress know how to do is put a Band-Aid on a wound that needs major surgery.

— Parl Guthrie, Former USPS manager, Bothell, Wash.

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