Postal Regulatory Commission chairman responds (very publicly) to travel questions


Postal Regulatory Commission Ruth Goldway has replied to a senator’s inquiry about her travel practices, publicly posting her response and a host of supporting documents on the agency’s web site.

In a letter last week to Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., Goldway attached a summary of her trips since becoming PRC chair in August 2009, and for good measure included itineraries and agendas, a synopsis of the commission’s travel policies and a listing of travel by her two immediate predecessors as chairman.

“This information demonstrates that commission travel is in support of statutory obligations, performed in a cost-efficient manner and benefits the commission, the [U.S.] Postal Service and the mailing public,” Goldway wrote.

Carper, who heads the Senate panel with oversight responsibility for the Postal Service and the commission, had sought the information earlier this month after Federal Times and The Washington Post reported that the pace of Goldway’s travel was running above that of Dan Blair, who chaired the commission before her.

“Given the Postal Service’s ongoing financial challenges and the amount of work the commission has on its plate, a significant increase in official travel by you—or any member of the commission—raises questions,” Carper wrote.  After reviewing the documents, Carper said Wednesday (via a spokeswoman)  that he and his staff would decide “what steps, if any, would be appropriate for the subcommittee to take.

“Based on what I’ve seen so far, however, I expect the Postal Regulatory Commission to be more mindful of the Postal Service’s current financial challenges and its role in addressing those challenges when planning extensive travel for its members.” Carper also thanked Goldway for her cooperation thus far.

Typically, agencies refuse to release–or at least require a Freedom of Information Act request before doing so–their answers to congressional inquiries. In this case, it was Goldway’s decision to make all the material public, PRC spokeswoman Ann Fisher said in an email.

Carper’s letter “raised several important questions related to the statutory role, and strategic goals, of the commission.” Fisher said. “Chairman Goldway felt the public would benefit from seeing her responses.”

Updated on Feb. 22 to reflect Carper reaction.


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