Ruth Y. Goldway Awarded Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award for 2012

I am honored to present Consumer Action’s Award for Consumer Excellence to Ruth Y. Goldway, Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission.

In this role, she is responsible for supervising the world’s largest post, and the second largest employer in the United States.  She was appointed first by President Clinton, then reappointed, twice, by President Bush, and most recently appointed chairman by President Obama.  And as impressive as all of that sounds, earlier in her career she was first appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan as the first consumer representative to serve on California’s Egg Board, and she has been looking out for consumers ever since.

Ruth has used her power as a PRC Commissioner to stand up for the ability of poor, sick and aged Americans to utilize the mail to help them manage prescription drug prices.

She has stood up for greater transparency, and challenged Postal Service management where she has seen the need.  One particularly remarkable instance occurred when Chairman Goldway identified excessive discounts given to large commercial mailers – discounts which indirectly led to overcharging monopoly consumers – and held Postal management accountable.

She raised this accountability another notch when she presided over the first-ever annual noncompliance determination, for a product where improper monopoly pricing was found to be producing unjustified subsidies, and directed the Postal Service to fix the problem.

Chairman Goldway supported Consumer Action in its important work fighting to improve postal insurance, again looking out for consumers’ best interests while injecting honesty and integrity to an everyday counter transaction at Post Offices across America.

She has voiced concern repeatedly that First-Class mail service for the Postal Service’s monopoly consumers has deteriorated over the years, while revenue from First-Class Mail has paid an ever-increasing share of the agency’s overhead.

Some of us remember that Ruth testified as a Commissioner in 1999 before the House of Representatives to phase out the Postal Service monopoly on first-class mail, and to consider changing other requirements in federal law that restrict competition in the provision of postal services in ways that negatively impact consumers – steps for which that committee was reluctant to take action.

I could easily continue with examples from a remarkable career as a public servant with an unwavering, watchful eye for the best interests of America’s consumers.  But I know you didn’t come here to listen to me.  So let me introduce the 2012 winner of the Consumer Excellence Award, Ruth Y. Goldway.

Thank you.

Don Soifer is executive director of the Consumer Postal Council in Arlington, Va.

Don Soifer