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Postmaster Tells Mailers That Consensus Is Key To Transformation

Press release from the issuing company

SAN DIEGO, CA - Postmaster General John E. Potter today told mailing industry representatives that the universal mail service their companies and the American public rely on will be in jeopardy, unless there is a fundamental restructuring of the legislative and regulatory framework within which the Postal Service must operate. But a blueprint for change is on the table - a Transformation Plan for the U.S. Postal Service. Submitted to Congress earlier this month, the plan offers recommendations for fundamental long-term legislative reform, while addressing more immediate steps the Postal Service can take to reduce costs and foster growth. Speaking here to more than 2,500 delegates attending the National Postal Forum, Potter emphasized that the plan is not solely about the needs of the Postal Service. "It's about you and the nine million other people who work in the nation's $900 billion mailing industry," he said. It's about connecting people -- preserving a national universal mail service that connects 280 million people, 125 million households, and 10 million businesses." The plan, he explained, reexamines every existing business model and presents options that will require national debate. Should the Postal Service go back to receiving annual operational subsidies from the U.S. government? Should it become a privatized corporation with shareholders? How about a commercial government enterprise that would operate under more businesslike conditions than currently possible? According to Potter, immediate action can be taken to reduce costs. In addition to lifting its self-imposed moratorium on closing post offices, the Postal Service will work with the Postal Rate Commission to convene a joint summit of mailing industry stakeholders to create pricing flexibility, outsourcing administrative work, and streamlining internal purchasing procedures. Plans also call for the Postal Service to evaluate its network of postal retail facilities and mail processing plants to strengthen the network, strengthen service performance, and reduce costs. While these near-term operational and performance-based strategies will generate $5 billion in savings and cost avoidance through 2006, Potter emphasized that long-term reform is essential. "We need the help of our policy makers to legislate postal reforms," said Potter. "If they cannot reach consensus on a business model for the Postal Service, then we will have allowed a valuable national asset to erode and ultimately fail and be wasted."