Sen. Susan Collins faults the Postal Service (and the Postmaster General)


Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, took to the Senate floor today to blast the U.S. Postal Service.

That in itself was not surprising; many members of Congress are unhappy with the agency’s recently unveiled plans to close or consolidate more than 220 mail processing plants. What’s noteworthy is not so much what Collins said, but how she said it—criticizing Postmaster General Pat Donahoe in sharply personal terms, according to a transcript released by her office.

“I find myself in a quandary, one created by the Postmaster General himself as he shifts from plan to plan, from negotiation to negotiation,” Collins concluded. “This makes it extraordinarily difficult for those of us who want to save the historic Postal Service so it can continue to be a vital American institution for generations to come.”

And in delivering the speech, she toned it down somewhat from the prepared text, in which she questioned whether postal leaders (and by extension, Donahoe) are proceeding in good faith.

On postal issues, Collins is not just any lawmaker; she’s the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a co-sponsor of legislation that would give the mail carrier billions of dollars in financial relief. Lately, however, she’s been critical of the Postal Service for putting a Maine processing plant on the closure list.

A USPS spokesman had no comment. The Senate bill is already under fire from Democrats who want to use it to block large-scale mail plant closings  for at least four years. A Collins spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a question late this afternoon from FedLine on whether the senator has made a decision about joining them.


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  1. Where is Sarbanes Oxley in the Post Master Generals arguments? It is non- existent. I guess the law only applies to us low class citizens not high class government officials with extravagant salaries.

  2. Jim from Maine on

    Typical politician, author a bill that the only way to deal with means you have to downsize and consolidate facilities. So when they downsize and consolidate a facility in her state, she complains and says its wrong. Hypocrisy at its highest. That’s why she has lost my vote.

  3. twinkster@west market on

    you go girl, but it seems mighty strange to me that it was okay to close plants all over the country, but as soon as it hits home or close to it, it’s a crime. Well what about it hitting home for everyone else? Please stop this madness.

  4. I work for the USPS and I believe that Mr. Donahoe needs to go also, he is not doing what is in the best interest of the USPS or it’s employees. There are so many people out there who have good ideas on how the USPS can make money——- LISTEN TO THEM!!!!!!

  5. “Shifts from plan to plan” is standard daily practice for dealing with employees. Performance, expectations, work methods, evaluation are constantly changing, so management can ALWAYS find something wrong and threaten discipline AND belittle, harass and intimidate. It may do well to create more reports for management to pass up the chain of command and bloat their already fat egos, but does little for a healthy workplace and consistent focus on customer service.
    Collins is quite right to question executive management ‘good faith’.

  6. The comment noting the these decisions should be made in the best interest of the USPS and its’ employees, is a slap to the face of how every other “business” in America.

    We as product and service providers, are required to be focused on the best interest of our customers. When this commitment is completed the best interest of the company and it’s employees ends as an issue. Successful and satisfied customers = a successful enterprise.

    I agree the Congress (both houses) call for cost containment in all Federal spending until is falls within their home districts.

    It is plain and simple that at this point in time, this is a false process and drives the “throw them all out” voices currently found across the country.

  7. donahoe has proven himself to me to be a total untrustworthy liar. having said that, i’m not so sure
    too many of our senators or representatives in congress have any room to talk. donahoe’s service-slashing plan will undoubtly turn a manageable decline in postal revenues
    into a steep revenue decline (death spiral) that will require
    billions in taxpayer funds to keep the universal serice going. let’s keep in mind that the post office got this way because NO ONE has been holding postal management accountable for their fraud, waste, and incompetence. the office of the inspector general is a joke and our congress is also a haven for bigger fraud, waste, and incompetence so i don’t see any longterm solutions in the near future.

  8. Sen.Collins you do know how to get a court injunction to stop the PMG from implementing his plans to sell us out to the Privatizers.Maybe a Presidetial order to stop it!

  9. Donahoe’s transformation/suicide plan requires that service standards for most first-class mail be reduced from the current 1 day delivery to 2-3 day delivery. Now the arrogant, misguided Donahoe and his cronies claim in their own literature that this HUGE CUT in delivery standards will be “imperceptible” to most customers! Imperceptible is defined as, ‘very slight or difficult to see.’ Donahoe wants to take twice as long to deliver the mail and he has the audacity to claim that the customers of the USPS will
    not even notice!!! What this tells me, besides that Donahoe
    is a very clueless executive, is that PMG Patrick Donahoe
    has no respect for the product he sells (delivery/service of the mail) and Donahoe also has no respect for the customers of his company. The truth of the matter is the mailing public will notice the decline in delivery service immediately and many of them will take their mailing/shipping needs elsewhere. This will cause a steep
    decline in revenue like never seen before. Look at Donahoe’s track record as a postal bureaucrat and the decisions he has made. Then you decide if Donahoe is fit to continue as the postmaster general or if he is in fact an incompetent idiot who needs to fired and replaced. And please give the usps a competent pmg/executive next time and not a lifetime gov’t bureaucrat like Potter and Donahoe.

  10. Go to 3 day service I am sorry but Mail isn’t that critical anymore. If you need something sooner, pay for overnight.I am a retired Letter Carrier, I loved bringing real mail to my customers, but it got to be so much advertising.Some of this type of mail cost way more to deliver then what revenue we received.Also the Post Office has way to many Chiefs and not enough Indians,Sorry about Political Incorrectness. Mail could be sorted 2 days delivered 3 days,thus being carrier and clerk in one. This Nation is great but need Changes need to roll with the punches.Too many greedy people running this thing and if elected….

  11. Go to 3 day service I am sorry but Mail isn’t that critical anymore. If youneed something sooner, pay for overnight.I am a retired Letter Carrier, I loved bringing real mail to my customers, but it got to be so much advertising.Some of this type of mail cost way more to deliver then what revenue we received.Also the Post Office has way to many Chiefs and not enough Indians,Sorry about Political Incorrectness. Mail could be sorted 2 days delivered 3 days,thus being carrier and clerk in one. This Nation is great but need Changes need to roll with the punches.When is the last time you sent a Telegragh.PO needs drastic change believe some one that has been there.

  12. As a business mailer with 35 years of experience working with and relying on the USPS I believe service is a very important part of the equation but price is 10X the factor. Give us reliable and consistent service and we’ll figure out how to make it work to meet our needs and satisfy our customers, but give us out-of-control postage rates and we’ll find a separate solution out of sheer necessity. The PMG is being forced to force the issue with a foot-dragging Congress whose members constantly deflect, deny, and delay while requesting more “independent” studies and suggesting the fundamental problems at USPS can be solved with creative accounting gimmicks. Nonsense. The fundamental problem is not enough mail and too much staff and infrastructure, period, and throwing some cases of booze on the trucks isn’t going to change that. Communication and logistics networks and technologies will continue to evolve, mail volumes will continue to decline, and the USPS must be allowed to deal with that reality quickly and efficiently, and reducing some levels of service can’t be avoided. I understand lowering headcount is a sensitive topic that Congress will insist on kicking around for much longer than is prudent or necessary but please, please stay out of operations and facilities decisions. Already some legislators are suggesting postponing the inevitable by taking several years to complete studies and make decisions that UPS and Fed-Ex make in days. If there must be such a commission make it truly independent, all professional people with related experience and no political agenda, make their decisions binding, and have them finish in six months. I don’t agree with everything the PMG says or proposes but I do agree that substantial changes are needed within his organization and actions need to begin today. In this matter I support Mr. Donahoe and would suggest to Sen. Collins that since you can’t seem to lead and you don’t want to follow then maybe you should get out of the way, and take a few colleagues with you.

  13. Actually the post office is not under the SOX act, its under the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act which states that there are pieces of the SOX act that they must comply with and in what manner they must comply. They are waisting a lot of time and money complying with the parts of the law they do not have to follow in ways that are inane.

  14. The Post Office can make tons of money. Do away with Saturday letter and flat mail delivery only. Use part timers to deliver packages on Saturday as well as get a start on the Monday heavy volume not delivered Saturday. Focus on parcel delivery by pricing UPS and FEDX out of business. Focus on large volume package pickup from businesses moving inventory from store to store. Have truck drivers equiped with a scale and hand held scanner so they can price packages and charge to the businesses account. PMG is so far behind the times and should be asked to resign for trying to lose business instead of increasing it. Finally, restructure management into 3 regions and 6 areas with no districts. Update Information Technology and focus on today istead of yesterday.

  15. Does anyone ever listen to the real workers, not the managers? Some are good, some are not. It is also that way with each craft in the USPS. There are always good and there are always bad. There are some workers that are there just for the OT and that has been the biggest problem that has gotten us into this mess. Some stretch it out in order to make more money. Rural route system makes the most sense. Get paid for the work that is done, in any craft. For now, our future is in the hands of politicians, who really don’t give a hoot cause they don’t need to-they are rich. As for the PM General and upper management, they don’t seem to have a clue and that is very sad. They can’t seem to come up with a plan, and if so, it changes the next day, just like in the offices. “Take all the mail.” “Curtail the mail.” Take this full coverage every Monday now.” “Never mind, take it on Tuesday again.” Just let the good workers go in, do the job, cut OT and leave us the heck alone.


  17. Senator Susan Collins, please stand firm on your position to fight to keep mail service available and affordable to all americans, whether rich or poor! Americans postal workers are depending on you and congressmen like you! Help replace Donahoe, who doesn’t care anything about this country or keeping the postal service solvent and universal MAIL SERVICE TO ALL PEOPLE!

  18. It is better to delay until finances are such that employees cannot be paid. Then the hysteria will shift from plants and rural offices to being able to make payroll. People act like it is a matter of choice on making changes and the PMG is just being mean.

  19. When a plant closing affects your state you moan and complain. True that Donaohoe is a miserable excuse for a leader and planner with his current staff. I have a problem with this Repug whining and calling names and offering no solutions. 4 days delivery a week is fantastic so why is it not happening?? As we get closer to the closings and RIF you are gonna find the closet queens coming out to complain cause reality will set in to their constituents having no jobs and their state economy declining.
    Blame Congress for the shape the Postal Service is in. Congress got us into USPS being privatized and now it wants to do nothing about subsidizing it. Folks you cannot expect a service of mail delivery to make it on its own. Now couple this with a humdrum President and an economy that is tinkering on another recession it does not look good.
    This Congress-woman wants attention and she offers nothing. She and Donahoe would make a great married couple – problem is they would never agree which one would be on top in a sexual relationship.
    As May comes around and the closings, firings and relocations start this will be a heated summer. Stay tuned.

  20. Good for Collins ! Donahoe can’t be criticized enough !
    USPS has had years and years to prepare for and implement
    changes to adapt to a changing environment. Still, after all
    this time, we’re still just talking about MOVING PAPER. Why
    can’t the USPS infrastructure be put to use for other purpo-
    ses? Why can’t post offices be a one-stop for numerous government services? I see no creative VISION from USPS
    management. It is more concerned with circling the wagons than growing the business.
    I’m a carrier, and when people on my route ask me what’s
    going on with the postal service I try to act in a professional
    manner and inform them to the best of my ability. But the
    temptation is certainly there to answer “H— if I know!”

  21. What a surprise a Republican congress woman critical of the Post Office. Lets see we want the Post Office to remain open and efficient but not at the expense of closing a plant in her own state.
    I’m sure she’s also against taxing the rich but would be more than happy to cut the small benefit Postal workers get when they retire.

  22. congress needs to look even further and see all the waste of management practice of “Details” all the shifting from one job to another and paying mileage!!!

  23. Unfortunately, people just don’t get it. The cyberworld is spelling the downfall of the entire postal system. How many of you complainers use the web now to pay your bills and use email and Skype to communicate? Who actually writes a letter anymore? Even the companies who we pay our bills to offer incentives to go paperless. All that takes away revenue from the USPS. But we all still wnat to keep the ame level of service that we’ve always had, but don’t raise prices and don’t cut services, especially not in my home state. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I don’t know anything about Donohoe except what my letetr-carrying brother says about the USPS management in general (which I cvan’t print here). But Congress is utterly incompetent in this issue too. They won’t let USPS be run like a business, as their competitors clearly are allowed to do. Therefore, the service is doomed to failure no matter who you put in charge.

  24. I have a freind that retired about two years ago. He was a express mail clerk in Flint Mi. About ten years ago, he received a plaque from district headquarters commending him on having a 100 percent delivery with no delays for six months. The tour superintendant hung it on the wall of her office without so much as a thank you. That on a small scale, is what’s wrong with the postal service. It’s all about THEM. You can show up every day, do a good job, get good numbers, awards, etc…. But when it comes time to eliminate and consolidate, Just toos it all in the dumpster. You will never see any postal superviser on the tv show “Undercover Boss” .

  25. Rickie Bushinger on

    Dear Senator Collins, I am a retired USARNG Master Sergeant from N.J. I am also a USPS Mail Handler for 35 years. I commend you and your colleagues for understanding what must be done conserning Postal Reform and early incentive retirement. Most civilians don’t understand the sacrafices we postal workers make to serve the public. I start work at 4am have split days off and work hard. If you want to down size without laying people off you must offer a incentive. Civilian jobs offer a year salary to incourage an employee to retire early. We have had 2 early retirement offers in the last 5 yrs of $15,000 before taxes and each time 20 to 30 thousand took the offer. The Post Master General wants 100-150 thousand to take the early retirement offer and leave within 5 yrs. It doesn’t make sence to drag it out. Offer $25,000. with a one time offer and watch how many take it. We need to reduce manpower fast, not drag it out or cut service as you said on CSPAN today which I enjoyed very much. Listening to some of your colleagues especially Arizona it reminded me of a classic movie Mr. Smith goes to Washington,”talk with stupid sollutions not willing to sit down hear someone else opinions. You are a very smart person keep on fighting because you got the right idea. THANK YOU

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