October 3, 2017
The United States Postal Service is likely to inform its customers and the Postal Regulatory Commission of its historic 2018 rate increase proposal prior to Friday, October 13, when the next Consumer Price Index is released. Why historic? It will be the first general postage increase in which the rates were not approved or authorized by the Presidentially-appointed USPS Governors in modern times (since 1970). The expected start date will be Sunday, January 21, 2018.
The projected average two percent increases for each class of mail (First Class, Marketing, Periodicals, Special Services), and the hundreds of individual rates, have no imprimatur of Governors because there are none. The USPS likely will rely on a very liberal interpretation of the law when it says the single sitting Governor in December 2016 authorized some sort of framework or strategy for rates that staff then designed and are now proposing to implement.
A general rate increase approved only by management is unprecedented in the 46 years under the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which changed rate-setting from Congress to Presidential appointees. It will highlight the critical need for appointment of a board that will provide strategic leadership for USPS at a time of massive change. All large organizations need a board of directors to set the strategic direction, direct bold actions, and delegate day-to-day management to the chief executive officer.