Six Essential Elements of Effective Reform for the USPSJune 14, 2005
- Financial transparency. Requiring greater transparency and better cost attribution will allow postal management to increase efficiency, and observers to monitor their progress. Adequate transparency would also help prevent abuse of the Postal Service’s monopoly power.
- Price stability, not flexibility. The Postal Governors are calling for increased pricing flexibility, but what the mail-using public and the business community need is fewer and smaller postage rate increases.
- Cost control. We agree with the Governors that greater control over Postal Service labor costs would be valuable. Postmaster General Potter deserves great credit for significant belt-tightening in recent years, but much more can be done.
- No unfair competition in non-postal markets. The postal monopoly was granted for letter delivery, and should not serve as a springboard for the Postal Service to enter into non-postal markets and compete with private firms that offer telephone calling cards, international money transfers, electronic bill-payment, and other products and services. When the Postal Service reaches beyond its core mission of non-urgent letter delivery, it imposes a hidden cost upon taxpayers.
- Consolidate facilities, cut costs. It is time to follow the Presidential Commission’s recommendation to create an independent panel modeled after the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which achieved billions in savings through four rounds of closures and consolidations. The panel would consider closing or consolidating unneeded postal processing and distribution facilities through a process that fully considers concerns of communities and other interested parties.
- Fully Independent Audits. The Governors say they should be held fully accountable, yet they also want “to be responsible for the retention of auditors.” We believe that greater accountability will come from auditors who are truly independent and not selected by the Service itself.