The authors of the previous Congress’ legislation and NAPS believe three factors conspired to undermine the finances and operations of the Postal Service: the evolving composition of the mail mix, the debilitating impact of the 2006 congressional requirement to prefund future retiree health benefits and the lingering after-effects of the 2007-2008 recession. The task force correctly diagnosed some of the problems and proposed remedies for a number of governance issues that could be resolved fairly quickly. However, certain operational and fiscal recommendations offered by the task force would irreparably harm the postal system.
NAPS commends the task force for acknowledging that current vacancies on the Postal Board of Governors pose a huge obstacle to formulating a strategic plan to achieve postal sustainability. The current absence of a board quorum precludes the Postal Service from providing the postmaster general and senior postal staff with the requisite guidance to respond to evolving market conditions. It also hinders the agency’s ability to make critical policy decisions that, when necessary, could be reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission and then implemented. This especially applies to introducing innovative products and services to the American public.
Consistent with the task force recommendation, the Postal Service needs to articulate how its core competencies will enhance opportunities to generate revenue and increase foot traffic in postal retail facilities. Partnering with other federal agencies, as well as state, county and local governments, the Postal Service should be encouraged to identify for-fee service products that require identity or address verification and constitute eligible sources of revenue. In addition, Postal Service acceptance, processing and delivery of alcoholic products would provide significant potential for added postal revenue.
While NAPS appreciates the task force not sanctioning privatization of the Postal Service, we would welcome clarification relating to the report’s apparent variance with the June 2018 White House Office of Management and Budget proposal to reorganize the federal government, “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendation.”