Posted by 7 years ago. In the debates about the Postal Service, the public interest is too often forgotten. We think small businesses are vital for the economy, but expensive shipping costs make it hard for them to compete with established players. The statute gives the PRC the ability to open a public inquiry if a particular complaint continually arises, but to my knowledge they have never done so. Worse, the PRC’s OIG office is all but inactive, which means there is no consistent independent review of the effectiveness of the program. (Some of these issues were raised in this post suggesting changes to the system.). Whatever the expectations on funding or self-sufficiency, it is clear that the Founders saw a need for a public post, a postal system that belonged to and served the American people broadly. "Trump's Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and his wife have between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in U.S. I recently participated in a conference call of those interested in postal banking. If the current organization of postal administration wasn’t bad enough, the Obama Administration has been absolutely horrible in making appointments to the BOG. We know the Constitution instructs — or more accurately, permits — Congress to make arrangements for post offices and post roads. When it comes to trailers that are hauling mail, the Postal Service prefers to lease — it only owns about 23 percent of its fleet of more than 12,000 trailers. The state of the Postal Service is an almost perfect reflection of the state of American society. When the PRC was hearing the appeal on the closing of the Glenoaks post office in Burbank, California, back in 2013, the PR was quoted in the press supporting the closure because the Postal Service was ““hemorrhaging money.”  Rather than defending the community’s interest in keeping their post office, the PR said, “I understand the petitioners are upset, but they have multiple options. Who owns the post office? In turn, I want to share it with you: PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID FT LAUDERDALE, FL PERMIT #1468. Use our quick tools to find locations, calculate prices, look … They seemed to see an opportunity to advance their cause without seeing the broader picture. Free Franklin post office in Philadelphia), Tags:jamison, PAEA, Pricing, & Privatization, Universal Service Obligation, Our Daily Update Page on Service Performance, USPS Weekly Reports submitted to Congress, Courts, FOIA and PRC, B. It's worth quoting yet again the stirring words of Title 39: "The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress, and supported by the people. For now, anyway, PMG Megan Brennan is pretty much the sole determinant of national postal policy. After consultation with leaders of the House and Senate, members of the BOG were appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. We need to win Georgia to take it back. It is classified as an “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States” and operates independently of government control, run by its own non-political directors. Then in 1975, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), a law designed to eliminate unnecessary boards and commissions, wrote the PAC out of existence. The service owns 228,940 vehicles and who knows how much in equipment, fixtures, storage, tools, computers, service counters, inventory, and so … 83% Upvoted. The phrase “general welfare” does not appear in the Constitution accidentally nor is it merely incidental to the construct of American freedom. All in all, the Postal Service is simply not accountable to the American people in the way it should be — or the way it must be if it is to survive as a vibrant public postal system, as envisioned by the Founders. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. There was one interesting element of the PRA that gave at least some recognition to the idea that the postal system and network were broadly owned by and designed to service the American public. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities. (Kevin Kosar, formerly of the Congressional Research Service, wrote a couple of reports that are quite useful: here and here.) S, M, L, XL, 2X. Simply layering new services on top of a crumbling foundation is a prescription for failure. The Allentown building is one of the thousands of properties that the USPS owns, spanning every state in the union and everything from trophy properties in Manhattan to a 60-foot trailer in Hatch, Utah, near the entrance to the Bryce Canyon National Park. The Postal Service is the third-largest employer in the United States, behind the Department of Defense and Wal-Mart. The Act transformed the POD into the semi-autonomous United States Postal Service. It remains essential and useful, and it possesses tremendous possibility for the future as a conduit for additional services that both support and maintain legacy systems that millions still rely on. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has drawn stinging criticism for the changes he has made at the United States Postal Service since assuming the position on June 15.. Search Terms. Jon Reed is a journalism student at the University of Alabama, and he writes a column on politics and student life for the campus newspaper, "The Crimson White." Morris asks the question: Can One Union Save the Slumping Postal Service? A necessitous people are not a free people. In fairness, the Commission is largely constrained by both limitations built into the law and its own lack of resources. Following the received wisdom of the time that the words “corporation” and “business” implied efficiency — an idea that went back to Frederick Taylor and his time-and-motion studies, which wrongly conflated process efficiency and the maximization of profit with efficacy and human flourishing — the Kappel Commission set about offering suggestions to reorganize the Post Office Department (POD) more along the lines of a corporation. Still, it may have served to bring more voices to the table. The USPS is often mistaken for a government-owned corporation (e.g. Whether the APWU can pull off the sort of broad-based alliance that genuinely attempts to address the broad public interests at stake in the future of postal infrastructure is open to question. At this point, there are really no mechanisms in place to attend to the broader public interest. (More on the BOG in a future post.). Congress confers on the USPS monopolies over the delivery of first-class mail and access to mailboxes, the latter of which is a unique protection among the world's postal systems. Clicking a location will show you what time it opens, when it closes, and which services it offers. McConnell owns the Postal Service. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. hide. Customers make arrangements for the collection of keys from the owner, manager, or prior owner of the mailbox if it is for a house, condo, apartment, or other physical residences. We have seen the same sort of degradation to our physical infrastructures like roads, bridges, and water and sewer, often in the name of privatization. 2020 | Volume 1. In 1968, just as this transition was taking shape, LBJ created Kappel Commission to come up with ideas for transforming and reorganizing the Post Office Department. We launched Pirate Ship in 2014 to make it free to access the cheapest USPS rates no matter how many packages your business ships. We the people own the United States Postal Service. report. Territories. No minimum volume when part of a combined parcel mailing that already meets the minimum volume eligibility standards for each mail class within the applicable mailing program in DMM [705]. The BOG was something akin to a corporate board, although in reality it lacked the accountability a corporate board has to stockholders. He enjoys writing about political and social issues as well as music, literature and the American experience. The PRC does collect statistics on these complaints, and it issues a monthly report about the complaints that have come through its system. The PRA reorganization also gave general oversight of postal operations to a new Board of Governors. Archived. The Governors shall not be representatives of specific interests using the Postal Service, and may be removed only for cause.". The USPS offers a user guide for the Mail Anywhere program on the RIBBS web site. Someone needs to be accountable for the investment we, as a nation, have made in postal infrastructure. Still, I think that Mark Dimondstein is right in the general vision he expresses. There have been CEOs of large corporations, but there have been virtually no consumer advocates. It was the time of the Powell memo, a brief by future Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell arguing that corporate America needed to actively take control of our political systems and our public dialogue in order to further its interests. We talk about rebuilding and restoring, about renewal. Based on the Word Net lexical database for the English Language. This alliance is the subject of an excellent article by David Morris on Alternet. In the POStPlan docket the PR would have been overwhelmed even if he had been more assiduous in developing the case. Free Franklin post office in Philadelphia. Gifts . It pays federal corporate income taxes on its earnings from competitive products, … The PRC does have a function for addressing rate and service complaints on its website, but in many if not most cases these complaints are simply forwarded to the Postal Service for resolution. The U.S. Constitution requires the government to establish “post offices and post roads,” and originally led to a tax-supported Post Office. Who bought or sold United Parcel Service this quarter? But those subsidies were intended to be phased out. In the absence of a strong BOG, some might look to the Postal Regulatory Commission to advocate on behalf of the broader public interest. Instructions for applying for a mailing permit are included under each method of payment. I was disappointed to hear some of the participants so focused on their own pet issue that they were unable to understand the current problems related to the degradation of the postal network. Fred Segal x USPS limited edition collection. There are only a couple of mentions of the post office in the Federalist Papers, the set of writings by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay which offered the explanation and underlying reasoning that supported the new Constitution. Someone needs to speak out in the interest of the general public on postal issues. She is a well-connected Democrat who runs a consulting company that services "private clients on the development and execution of public and private strategies for their business needs.”, Mrs. Kennedy’s selection at least looks good in comparison to the nomination of James C. Miller III, a former governor who has testified before Congress in favor of postal privatization. On July 26, 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. After a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, we think it perfectly appropriate to do more than clean up, to do more than settle. The sad fact is that there is no institutional entity that has the statutory power or wherewithal to fill what is perhaps the most essential task in determining how we use and maintain our critical postal infrastructure. We the people own the United States Postal Service. Privately Owned Boxes. Here’s what the Act says:”The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States”. The PRA coincided with a time in American history when thinking was changing, moving away from the broadly inclusive economics of the New Deal towards a model of unadulterated self-interest that sought to privatize gains while undermining public goods and leaving losses to be socialized. One of Mr. Obama’s recent nominations to the BOG was Vicki Kennedy (it's not clear if she is still under consideration). Just as capital assembles itself in the form of a corporation in order to benefit its shareholders (at least that is the modern view, one worth disputing), labor assembles to defend and protect its interests. As I’ve written in previous posts (here and here), as we go forward with trying to find ways to develop and utilize the postal network and postal infrastructure, we need to recognize the flaws in the current organization of the Postal Service. Who owns United Parcel Service? The Postal Service maintains more than 8,500 owned facilities in its inventory nationwide. There have also been efforts by some in Congress to marginalize the role of the PRC even further, as demonstrated by the Carper-Coburn bill last year, which would have pretty much taken the PRC out of regulating postal rates. The PAC was to consist of representatives of labor, representatives of the mailers, and members of the public at large. Franklin (1706-1790) put … See disclaimer. Mr. Dimondstein’s ideas are both brilliant and ambitious, but the fact is that unions have evolved to take care of their members first and foremost. Classroom is the educational resource for people of all ages. In its rate cases and in the general service “N” cases, the PRC does have a mechanism for providing some protections for the public. Denise R Austin, the FOIA Coordinator with the USPS, was kind enough to provide the following at no charge (there is sometimes a $25 fee). The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. The “Post Office,” or the United States Postal Service, is owned by the United States Federal Government. Mr. Dimondstein seems to understand that our future lies in the restoration of an ethic that views common purpose and public goods as a positive good, that sees beyond the next bonus or contract. The USPS also enjoys a range of other benefits:1 1. In the Friestatt, MO closure case, the PR assigned to the case did a yeoman’s job, but she was undermined by her office, which interfered with the filings from the folks in Friestatt and removed documents without notice. It’s as simple as that. Postal revenue of $75 billion in 2008 would have made it the 26th largest corporation on the Forbes 500 list if it were privately owned and operated. Even though corporations benefit from public systems like the rule of law, which uses the power of the state to enforce contracts, patents, and intellectual property protections, and even though they take advantage of public goods and infrastructure like the postal network or the interstate highway system, their only obligation, according to the Friedman dogma, was to their shareholders. There has been one recent interesting development, however. 9 comments. Sadly, the Postal Advisory Council was never constituted, and no appointments were ever made. It’s as simple as that. The commission was staffed largely by businessman and corporate leaders like its chair Fred Kappel, the retired chairman of AT&T. The PAC would have brought stakeholders directly into the process, and more importantly, provided representation for a broad range of consumer interests, which would have created a counter balance to the BOG. How do you find out who owns a US postage paid permit number? What is the system’s ultimate function? In order to do that, we must have a postal management and administrative structure that is accountable to the American people. Over the last several years we have seen continual incidents of the Postal Service bullying people into surrendering house or curb boxes for cluster boxes, and there have been many issues related to declining service standards, post office relocations, post office lease suspensions, and the like. For example, a recent past chair of the BOG, Thurgood Marshall Jr., was a well-connected Democratic operative and lawyer who was a founder and board member of Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest private prison operators. The regulatory system is relatively limited and not really able to represent the interests of the public as a whole. Mailing Permit. Below is the current national listing of owned postal facilities which includes all fifty States and U.S. While the idea that the BOG was to serve the public interest generally, the public interest was never clearly defined, and the PRA essentially reorganized the Postal Service as a corporate entity. In other words, if they chose a direction for the Postal Service that conflicted with the broad interests of the American public, there was no way to hold them or the management of the Postal Service accountable. It's that time of year again. TIP: Find an exact phrase or exclude certain words from your search. The attempts of the APWU and its president Mark Dimondstein to create a grand alliance of consumer and labor groups might have an impact on how we protect, restore, and renew our postal infrastructure. The information contained in the report is provided by the United States Postal Service under the Freedom of information Act and should not be redistributed or resold. While the Postal Service holds a legal monopoly on letter delivery, it has some competitors for package delivery and other services. In Federalist 42, Madison wrote: “The power of establishing post roads, must in every view be a harmless power; and may perhaps, by judicious management, become productive of great public conveniency. The Postal Service maintains more than 25,300 leased spaces in its facilities inventory nation wide. The U.S. As much as I respect Ms. Goldway, I find her faith in this flawed system misplaced. 2. If these words are to mean anything, the leaders of the Postal Service, Congress, and the Executive branch must be reminded that the Postal Service is there to serve not some narrow economic interests but the people of the United States. Overall the people who serve as Public Representative make a commendable effort, but they are hamstrung by lack of resources and a clear mandate. Shareholders of private corporations elect a board of directors, but the Postal Service Board of Governors is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t consider postal workers federal employees because the postal service is a quasi-federal agency. An economy that ignores public goods like infrastructure is a prescription for special interest, limited advantage, and civic isolation. How do you find out who owns a US postage paid permit number? The costs of establishing and maintaining the Postal Service shall not be apportioned to impair the overall value of such service to the people.". Postal Service Owned Boxes. Makes a great gift! More importantly, it might have been able to focus on the broad public policy and consumer issues that the current leadership of the Postal Service has intentionally ignored in their unrelenting effort to outsource and degrade postal infrastructure. A: As a postal worker, you must follow federal rules, and you receive federal benefits. That may have been Cliff Guffey’s greatest failure. It no longer functions as a deliberative body and has become increasingly ineffective as a legislative body. 3. Window Book’s DAT-MAIL™ solution offers an easy way to populate or edit the Payment Account Number field and other data required for Mail Anywhere participation. Since its reorganization in 1971, the cost of a stamp has increased considerably from 8 cents, to 44 cents in 2009. ... Biden told postal workers during the campaign that filling the board vacancies is a priority. For the last several years, PMG Donahoe was essentially allowed to implement his vision for what postal services should be in this country without any meaningful oversight or accountability from the Board. Welcome to USPS.com. It has been undermined and degraded by an empty and self-serving ideology that disdains public goods and common purpose. share. USPS agreement regarding election mail in Georgia runoff (Dec. 23, 2020), USPS Election M)ail Fact Sheet (Oct. 21, 2020), USPS Fact Sheet on Election Mail Preparedness Efforts, USPS memo re: Clarifying Operational Instructions (Sept. 21, 2020), Mandatory Standup Talk: Ready to deliver Election Mail for the nation (Sept. 24, 2020), USPS Memo: Additional Resources for Election Mail Beginning October 1 (Sept. 25, 2020), Steps USPS is taking to improve service performance for election mail (Oct. 1, 2020), Supplemental Guidance Memorandum (October, 2020), A former postmaster’s view: Articles by Mark Jamison, Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service, OIG: The Road Ahead for Postal Financial Services, OIG: Providing Non-Bank Financial Services for the Underserved, It’s Time for Postal Banking by Mehrsa Baradaran, OIG: Preservation and Disposal of Historic Properties, OIG: What Postal Services Do People Value Most, History of Post Office Construction 1900-1940, Postal Facilities Constructed or Occupied 1940-1971, USPS Facilities Reports State-by-State (as of Dec. 2019), USPS Leased Facilities State Reports (2018), USPS Owned Facilities State Reports (2018), Post Office Suspensions & Discontinuances 2008-2017, Historic Post Offices sold or for sale 2009-2018, Post Offices on or eligible for the National Register, How the pandemic could lead to a big USPS price hike. 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