Statement of Governor Ron StromanAugust 6, 2021
Mr. Chairman, as you know, the newest Governors did not have the opportunity to participate in the Board’s decision in May to change our service standards. I appreciate your decision to have a full and robust discussion of this issue at yesterday’s closed Board meeting. All Board members were given an opportunity to voice their points of view. But in spite of that discussion, the Board decided to move forward with implementing slower delivery standards for some First-Class Mail and packages. I would like to take a few minutes to explain why I disagree with that decision.
I believe the Board of Governors should guide the transformation of the Postal Service into a world-class, 21st century delivery service, that meets the evolving needs of the American people. By statute, we are required to meet those needs by providing the nation with prompt, reliable, and efficient delivery service, while financing the Postal Service without Congressional appropriations. In my view, the decision by the Board to change our service standards will likely hinder the Postal Service’s capacity to achieve either of these twin goals.
At this critical moment in America’s history, with our country only beginning to emerge from a global pandemic, struggling with the Delta variant, and with our delivery service below pre-pandemic levels, intentionally slowing First-Class Mail and package delivery changing service standards is strategically ill-conceived, creates dangerous risks that are not justified by the relatively low financial return, and doesn’t meet out responsibility as an essential part of America’s critical infrastructure. This change also has the potential to disproportionately impact our seniors, middle- and low-income Americans, and small businesses, who are our most loyal customers, and most dependent on us.
From a financial perspective, I have deep concerns about the consequences of degrading service for our premier product – First-Class Mail. A product that is the most profitable, and most associated with the Postal Service’s outstanding reputation. Slowing the mail unnecessarily risks accelerating digital substitution out of the mail, especially when it is combined with one of the largest rate increases in the Postal Service’s history. While mail will continue to decline regardless of this change, this accelerates that decline and will erode the balanced network of mail and parcels needed to sustain our organization.
There is no compelling financial reason to make this change. The relatively minor savings associated with changing service standards, even if achieved, will have no significant impact on the Postal Service’s financial future.
On the other hand, there was concerning evidence presented to the Postal Regulatory Commission that the proposed service standard changes will disproportionately impact certain areas of the country, including Florida, Texas, Maine, California, and central regions.
Finally, I see little support for these changes from our customers, and much opposition. That opposition includes a wide range of diverse organizations from organized labor to the Lexington Institute; from the NAACP to the Association for Postal Commerce, from states and cities to small businesses. Rarely, if ever, has such a diverse coalition come together to oppose a Postal Service policy change.
Despite my opposition, the Board has decided to implement these changes as part of the Delivering for America Plan. I believe our goal now must be to achieve 95% on time delivery within these standards to all areas of the country, as soon as possible.
I look forward to working with my colleagues on this, and other issues of important to the Postal Service.