In the mood for a little irony? Even as Congress is laboring to rescue the U.S. Postal Service from a protracted financial crisis (proposed solutions include pumping billions of dollars into the mail carrier), federal agencies are now under orders to take steps that will reduce their spending on postage.
Among those steps: Using flat-rate boxes and envelopes whenever possible; taking more advantage of USPS discounts; and reducing hard-copy mailings between agencies, according to a recent General Services Administration bulletin to agency heads.
As reasons for the new policy, GSA cites several Obama administration executive orders instructing agencies to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen environmental management. The amount of money at stake is substantial: In fiscal 2011, agencies spent more than $1.2 billion on mail.
The new bulletin doesn’t say by how much agencies should now reduce mailing costs. Last year’s total represents almost a 15 percent drop from 2010, although much of that reduction may be related to the end of the 10-year census. An employee in GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy referred questions Wednesday to the agency’s press office. As of Friday, FedLine hadn’t gotten responses from GSA spokeswoman Diane Merriett, but we’ll update this post if we do.