Alliance Alert–3 USPS Governors, 2 Postal Regulatory Commissioners Confirmed by Senate

August 2, 2019

Hello, Members, Sponsors, and Friends of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers!

What used to be viewed as a fairly routine activity, Senate confirmation of postal appointees, could go down as a turning point in the future of our postal system.  August 1, 2019 will be remembered as the day that three USPS Governors and two Postal Regulatory Commissioners were confirmed.  We expect a fourth Governor, Robert M. Duncan, to be reconfirmed  for a term lasting until 2025 as early as today.  (We wrote about four of the Governors in the August 29, 2018 Alliance Report.  John Barger’s Senate confirmation statement is here.)

USPS Board Quorum

What does this mean?  It means the Postal Service Board of Governors will have a quorum for the first time in a long time.  Five President Donald Trump appointees will join long-time Postmaster General Megan Brennan and DPMG Ronald Stroman. This means they can take bold actions to try to repair the Postal Service, whose leaders have been saying has a “broken business model” for almost ten years.  What will these bold actions be?  How soon will they be taken?  Will they be variations of the list of potential solutions that USPS has been advocating for a decade?  Or will the Postal Service try to redesign itself to fit the new realities of the Digital & E-Commerce Revolutions?  Have they been holding onto a much-ballyhooed “ten-year plan” to allow the new Governors to participate?  When will it be released?  Will the August 9 scheduled meeting of the USPS Temporary Emergency Committee turn into a real Board of Governors meeting?

Shakeup at PRC

The Postal Regulatory Commission has been  significantly altered compared to the four Commissioners who made a devastating proposal to surcharge mailers two to three times the rate of inflation.  At the time, Chairman Robert Taub was the only Commissioner unequivocally in favor of the proposal.  Commissioners Nanci Langley and Tony Hammond are now private citizens.  Commissioner Mark Acton, who expressed concerns about the proposal, remains and was joined by Michael Kubayanda earlier this year, and now Ann Fisher and Ashley Poling.  Will the new team develop a more balanced proposal that holds USPS accountable for performance before allowing any rate increases, much less surcharges?  That’s the standard that private sector organizations are held to by their customers.  (We wrote about Michael Kubayanda in the February 6, 2019 Alliance Report,  Ann Fisher in the March 5, 2019 Alliance Report, and Ashley Poling in the June 5, 2019 Alliance Report.)

USPS Governors Confirmed for Terms Ending:

Ron A. Bloom, exp Dec 8, 2020.

Roman Martinez IV, exp Dec 8, 2024.

John McLeod Barger, of California, exp Dec 8, 2021.

Postal Regulatory Commissioners Confirmed for Terms Ending:

Ann C. Fisher, exp Oct 14, 2024.

Ashley Jay Elizabeth Poling, exp Nov 22, 2024.