Browsing: Pat Donahoe

As prospects dim for postal reform, Senate bill already encountering flak

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Only days after it was introduced, a proposed Senate overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service is taking its lumps from both organized labor and the mailing industry. “This bill is fatally flawed,” Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union, said in a Friday statement denouncing the legislation as a betrayal of USPS employees. The Association for Postal Commerce, which represents business mail users, has some “significant issues” with the measure, such as its idea for widening the Postal Service’s discretion in applying an inflation-adjusted cap on rate increases for standard mail and other areas where it dominates the…

Issa unveils modified postal bill

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Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has just released a “discussion draft” of a bill intended to put the U.S. Postal Service on a more stable, long-term financial footing. The bill, which has not yet been introduced, bears some resemblance to the measure that the California Republican unsuccessfully pushed in the 2011-2012 session of Congress. It would, for example, temporarily replace the USPS board of governors with a presidentially appointed panel of five outside executives who would have the power to shake up the agency’s top management and take any steps necessary under the…

As Postal Service seeks to reopen pay talks, NAPS, other employee groups, say, "Nope."

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Under orders from his board, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe is gamely trying to reopen pay talks with employee organizations after the collapse of efforts to end Saturday mail delivery. Good luck with that. The U.S. Postal Service’s “untenable” financial position “demands urgent action to ensure the near-term viability of our great institution,” Donahoe said in a Tuesday letter to Louis Atkins, president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors. (NAPS provided the letter to FedLine with permission to post it online.) “In light of these extraordinary circumstances, I request your cooperation in reopening consultations concerning the pay and benefits of…

How the U.S. Postal Service legally justifies five-day mail delivery

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For anyone with a background in appropriations law and a little time on their hands, FedLine has obtained a copy of the legal opinion that the U.S. Postal Service is using to justify its decision to end Saturday mail delivery this August. The gist: The long-standing congressional ban on curtailing six-day delivery doesn’t apply at present because the federal government is operating under a stopgap continuing resolution. And even if did apply, lawmakers don’t have to continue the ban when that resolution expires March 27, Postal Service lawyers write in the nine-page opinion. The underlying reasoning is complicated enough that…

Health insurance: What the Postal Service has in mind

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Lest anyone forget, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe remains keenly interested in creating a stand-alone health insurance plan for about 1.1 million U.S. Postal Service employees and retirees. The latest reminder came at last week’s Senate hearing on the USPS’s financial crisis. Although lawmakers’ attention was predictably focused on the agency’s decision to end Saturday mail delivery, Donahoe also stressed the urgency of pulling out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. “An astonishing 20 cents of every revenue dollar the Postal Service takes in must go toward health care costs,” Donahoe said in prepared testimony.  “By moving away from the…

Postal Service documents cast more light on rationale for Saturday delivery cut

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In announcing plans to end Saturday mail delivery, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe himself posed the key question yesterday: “Is this legal?” Donahoe’s answer, naturally, was yes, hinging on a rather complicated analysis of the impact of congressional spending legislation (more about that in a moment). Official U.S. Postal Service talking points obtained by Federal Times offer a more straightforward explanation: USPS leaders are under orders from the agency’s board to accelerate cost-cutting measures; they believe they have the authority to go to five-day mail delivery on their own; and they are hoping that Congress won’t take any action to stop…

Postal Service CFO Corbett filling in as chief information officer

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The U.S. Postal Service is reporting some temporary upper-management turnover stemming from its chief information officer’s illness. Because of a “serious health issue,” Ellis Burgoyne won’t be returning full-time to his job as CIO before October, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe wrote in a June 20 memo included in a filing today with the Postal Regulatory Commission. In the meantime, Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett has taken over as acting CIO, while Steve Masse—previously vice president for finance and operations—is subbing for Corbett as acting CFO, according to the filing. Taking Masse’s place: Cynthia Sanchez-Hernandez, who has served as headquarters finance…

Postal workers launch hunger strike

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Letter-writing and phone calls haven’t worked; conventional lobbying hasn’t worked. So, starting this morning, 10 active and retired U.S. Postal Service employees are resorting to a more dramatic tactic: A hunger strike intended to prod lawmakers into dropping a requirement for the beleaguered mail carrier to “pre-fund” a retiree health care benefits fund. “We’re trying to turn up the heat on Congress, which is stuck on stupid,” Jamie Partridge, a recently retired city letter carrier from Oregon who’s participating in the strike, said in a phone interview from outside a House office building. After a news conference this morning with…

Postal Service finances draw comparison with Greece

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What lies ahead for the U.S. Postal Service if nothing is done to brake its financial slide?  Postmaster General Pat Donahoe tossed out an attention-getting benchmark today. “This is Greece,” Donahoe told participants at the PostalVision 2020 conference, as he highlighted a slide showing the Postal Service with $92 billion in debt by 2016 (up from about $12 billion last year), assuming that Congress doesn’t act on pleas for relief from the requirement to pump billions of dollars annually into a health care fund for future retirees. Greece, he said, has a debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of 1.6 to one.…

Postal Service launching digital enterprise

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The U.S. Postal Service, an organization inextricably associated with the delivery of lots and lots of paper, is creating a new enterprise focused on the online sphere, according to a memorandum today from Postmaster General Pat Donahoe. The “digital solutions” group is intended “to better explore growth opportunities in the digital space, and to translate those opportunities into new streams of revenue, enhance the value of our current offerings, and improve customer experiences,” Donahoe told Postal Service officers in the memo obtained by Federal Times. The venture comes as the agency is under pressure from Congress and postal employee unions to explore alternatives to service cutbacks. “We are convinced there…

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