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NAA, NNA, ABM, MPA, DMA Line Up to Support Commission On Postal Reform

Press release from the issuing company

Dec. 12, 2002 -- (WhatTheyThink.com) -- The Postal Service and the Treasury Department yesterday announced the formation of a Presidential Commission, which will study the Postal Service and make recommendations to improve its effectiveness and shape its role in the 21st century. Groups representing marketers, publishers and newspapers promptly gave their support in various statements throughout the day. The Commission will be Co-chaired by Harry Pearce, chairman of Hughes Electronics, and James Johnson, vice chairman of financial services company Perseus. The Commission is charged with studying and recommending changes to the way that the Postal Service deals with issues such as cost and rate flexibility, its universal service obligation and the postal monopoly over letters. While the Postal Service will likely be able to make some of the recommended changes itself or with the approval of the Postal Rate Commission, others will no doubt require congressional action. The Commission will submit its report by July 31, 2003. American Business Media (ABM) said that calls for a Presidential commission have become nearly unanimous. "We are very excited that this commission will at last become a reality," said Gordon Hughes, President and CEO, American Business Media. "We now look forward to working with a united mailing community, including the Postal Service, on the identification and implementation of meaningful reforms." The Direct Marketing Association’s CEO - H. Robert Wientzen had written the President earlier this year requesting the creation of a commission to examine the financial and structural underpinnings of the USPS after legislative reform efforts reached an impasse. "The commission should focus on constructive recommendations that will guarantee the continued viability of the Postal Service, which is a vital cog in our nation's economy," said Wientzen. Wientzen also noted that the corrective legislation could delay the next round of postal rate increase from 2004 until 2006. "Such a delay would do much to encourage growth in the $900 billion, nine million job mailing industry," said Wientzen. The National Newspaper Association, an organization of more than 3,000 community newspapers across America, urged the new Commission to be mindful of the Postal Service's critical economic and social role in providing reliable, universal service at affordable prices. “Newspapers in the mail are an important part of bringing people to the mailbox with a smile on their faces. That has been true throughout the Postal Service's history and it remains true today,” stated President Jeff David. Nina Link, President and CEO of Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) said the group would participate in the Commission's work on behalf of America's magazine industry. MPA agrees with the goals of the commission and supports possible legal and administrative reforms necessary to ensure its long-term viability. Another major association representing newspapers, the Newspaper Association of America said the Commission would restore public confidence in a postal system that, in some respects, “has lost its way." NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm stated, "NAA has long been calling for the creation of such a commission to take a hard look at the service now and for the future, and we are encouraged by the president’s action today. "While there’s no doubt that the economy, along with the drop in volume and cost of security measures following the anthrax attacks, left the Postal Service with financial problems, it simply cannot continue to pass along mounting operational costs by raising prices, as it has done three times in less than two years," Sturm said. Sturm concluded, "Like all Americans, the newspaper industry, which spends close to $1 billion a year on postage, has a vested interest in a healthy, vibrant and well-run Postal Service that serves the best interests of businesses and individual citizens alike in a fair and non-discriminatory manner."