Dear SMC Members:
I just returned from a few days of meetings in Washington attending the PostCom Board Meeting. Here are a few of the take-aways that may be of interest to our members:
Sharon Owens, the Vice President of USPS Costing and Pricing gave a presentation about the Postal Service’s thoughts for next year’s price adjustment. Owens made it clear that the Postal Service would not be able to file for any price adjustment unless and until one or more persons are appointed to the Postal Board of Governors.
Because of the uncertainty of the Rate Cap proceeding, and the lack of Governors, the USPS is not planning to do anything “different” or major in terms of structural changes or changes in rates and categories. The current plan is to file a case that is in conformance with current law and, based on the most current projections, this would seek a 2.367 increase based on the projected rate cap authority. The Postal Service gets its rate cap authority from numbers on the cumulative CPI that are from the month of August and are released in mid-September. Assuming that a Postal Governor has been appointed, the Service would file with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) as it has in the past in October for a mid-January price adjustment.
Owens has been very approachable and transparent in her approaches to pricing and structural changes. She continued to stress that it is her intention, and that of the Postal Service Marketing Department, to explore changes in products and rate design that have “no unintended consequences”.
Dennis Nicoski, the Acting Senior Vice President for Customer Relations and Sales addressed the group
One of Nicoski’s focus areas will be on trying to develop a faster/easier approach to negotiate and seek PRC approvals of market dominant NSAs. Although the Postal Service has done hundreds of NSAs on the shipping/commercial side, it has done very few market dominant NSAs.
One of the reasons for the lack of market dominant NSAs is the burdensome process and requirements of the PRC. Mr. Nicoski has worked on commercial NSAs in recent years and has prioritized efforts to change that process for market dominant mail.
Nicoski also talked about his desire to improve outreach between the USPS Sales Department and existing and potential customers.
David Williams – Governor candidate
David Williams, the former Inspector General of the USPS is one of the Administration’s nominees to the Postal Board of Governors. Williams has long been a visionary in approaches to Postal Service opportunities and did much work as OIG to show the value of the mail, and the often-undervalued Postal Service assets and overstated Postal Service liabilities.
Williams has already gone through the Senate confirmation hearing process, and explained that the Senate could, on any given Friday when appointments are often confirmed “in a batch”, approve his pending nomination and that of another, still current, Board nominee, Republican Robert Duncan.
There is still speculation that some Senators are holding out for additional nominees that would include a Democrat. But there was some optimism that the Senate might see the need for a functioning Board, and how it is hurting the USPS, and move forward to approve the pending nominations.
I did ask Williams “how long” it would take him to act on the Postal Services promised promotions for 2018 if he was confirmed as a Board member.
All of us in the room were pleased and encouraged when Williams stated that moving forward on promotions would a “day one priority”. Williams described his vision for the Postal Service and future governance was coming up with ways for “us to propel your business” and to work on building joint opportunities.
Other remarks that Williams made that I find encouraging, and optimistic for the future of Postal Service leadership included the following:
This could be a good time for the Postal Service – and the role it could have in this new economy.
The Postal Service needs to remember and find its “true north”. It was built on a mission to bind the nation together. Part of this mission can be achieved by charging the least possible for its services and to energize the economy.
The Service is the only comprehensive business to customer infrastructure. It may be best that the Postal Service not try to “operate like a business” but focus on its presence as a national infrastructure.
Rural communities, the growing elderly, and persons with disabilities have a unique reliance on the UPSP, and may not have equal access to the digital world. Although much conversion of business communications to digital is inevitable, much will not. End the USPS of the future needs to be able and ready to meet those needs.
Trump Announces Candidate for PRC
On June 6, Michael Kubayanda, was nominated by President Trump to the open, fifth, position on the PRC. Kubayanda currently is a Board member and Privacy Officer for a digital health start-up. His previous work included serving with the USPS Office of Inspector General and ended as Director of Government Relations. Prior to the OIG, he served on the staff of the House Committee on oversite and government reform. He has degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern Universities. Like other appointment nominees, Kubayanda must still be confirmed and approved by the Senate before he would begin service on the PRC.
We are coming close to the end of our second quarter and I will be sharing the second quarter report of dues and special contributions. A number of companies have stepped up and we have received some new contributors. If you are receiving this email, and have not yet made a contribution to SMC, please do so today.
Donna Hanbery, Executive Director
Saturation Mailers Coalition
33 South 6th Street, Suite 4160
Minneapolis, MN 55402
612 340-9446 Fax