To best serve the American people, the U.S. Postal Service understands that it must be leaner and more responsive to customer mailing needs. This realization comes as revenue and mail volume projections predict continuing monetary losses and a potential shortfall of $238 billion by the year 2020. Immediate and specific change is necessary to ensure a viable Postal Service for America. It is critical that these seven main areas be addressed:
- Delivery Frequency – Adjust delivery days to better reflect current mail volume and customer habits. Rather than accepting taxpayer funds or resorting to other alternatives, 5-day delivery is mutually endorsed by the American public.
- Workforce – As more than 300,000 employees become eligible to retire in the next 10 years, employ a more flexible workforce that is capable of reacting to changing customer needs.
- Retiree Health Benefits Prefunding – Restructure retiree health benefits payments so that the USPS is operating on the same playing field as the rest of the federal government. Also, address Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pension fund overpayments.
- Expand Access – Increase customer access through enhancements to its world-class website, usps.com, while consistently reducing operating expenses. Provide more services in convenient locations such as retail centers, grocery stores, office supply stores, etc.
- Pricing – Remove the price cap — currently determined for every class of mail by the rate of inflation — so that prices for Market Dominant mailing products are based on demand. Pursue a moderate exigent rate increase effective in 2011.
- Oversight – Define appropriate oversight roles and streamline decision-making processes. It is imperative that legislative and regulatory changes are enacted swiftly.
- Expand Products and Services – Permit the Postal Service to better respond to ever-evolving customer needs by introducing more new products.
According to Postmaster General John Potter, the Postal Service is perched precariously on the “brink of insolvency” and these changes are vital to its current and future viability. If afforded the flexibility to respond to a constantly evolving marketplace, the USPS will continue to be an integral part of every American community now and in the future.
Maryanne Wright is employed by the Postal Service as the Capital Metro Area Writer/Editor. She was previously the Communications Coordinator for the Northern Virginia District. Her career spans 28 years and encompasses a variety of postal assignments in numerous locations including Long Island, NY, Merrifield, VA and Charlotte, NC.