The U.S. Postal Service: Transparency? What’s That?

Richard Thayer

The Postal Service’s drive to consolidate over 200 mail processing facilities, close thousands of post offices, put over 100,000 employees out of work and eliminate Saturday delivery has made representatives in Washington aware of something that postal employees have known for decades: The Postal Service lacks transparency and accountability.

Having discovered this fact recently, two Maryland Senators – Barbara Mikulski (D) and Ben Cardin (D) fired off a letter last week to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe expressing their “outrage” over the agency’s “total disregard for a transparent and public process.”

The letter came as a response to a study targeting Maryland’s Eastern Shore Processing and Distribution Facility for merger with the plant in Wilmington, Delaware. It seems that the Postal Service, in violation of its own regulations, neglected to inform the senators or the postal workers union.

The letter adds: “Making matters worse, USPS plans no public hearings and no opportunity for written comment in this study process…..Additionally, an official request for information on the matter has gone unanswered.”

The letter concludes with: “We expect your immediate attention to our concerns.”

Good luck.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Virginia, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D) is experiencing some frustrations of his own in his dealings with postal management.

Recently, the Postal Service filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to keep the results of its revenue study private. Last week Connolly accused the agency of attempting to hide the results of the study. They countered that nothing could be further from the truth. They said that even though they had requested that the results be kept private, they could still be viewed…with this stipulation: That they be “case participants” and that they “adhere to the commission’s terms for access to nonpublic information filed under seal.”

See, they’re not hiding anything. All you have to do is jump through a few hoops to get to it.

Connolly responded with: “This report should be made public so we can all see the complete picture and make informed decisions about the future business model of the U.S. Postal Service.”

For those of us in the know, we know that postal leadership is totally opposed to anything resembling informed decision making. They also know that their figures are skewed and that under the light of investigation would show that their plans for consolidation are misguided and have no solid foundation.

In responding to Connolly’s request, a postal spokesman noted that the Postal Service has been rated the most trusted federal agency for the past six years, and the sixth most trusted business in the nation.

That’s true. But that’s now. Once it’s finished with its consolidations, closings, lay-offs, the elimination of Saturday delivery and its service standards drop, its trustworthiness will no doubt plummet along with its earnings…and its credibility.

(Image source:Movie Title Stills Collected)


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