From National Association of Postmasters of the US (NAPUS) e-newsletter
Among the new appointments that President-elect Obama will make is the Chairmanship of PRC. Although current Chairman Dan Blair’s term on the Commission extends to 2012, he serves as Chairman, at the pleasure of the President. (Dan is a Republican appointee.) Another decision President-elect Obama could make is the nomination of a new USPS Governor.
In the wake of Sen. Barack Obama’s convincing and historic victory, Postmasters should be attentive to changes that a new Administration can bring to postal governance. For example, it is important to recall that one of the catalysts in jump-starting Postal Reform was a concern within the Bush Administration that the Postal Service’s precarious financial situation could have a negative impact on the U.S. Treasury. Moreover, one of the major obstacles to permitting the Postal Service to benefit from the same Medicare Part D rebate, as enjoyed by other employers, was the Bush Administration’s objection.
Among the new appointments that President-elect Obama will make is the Chairmanship of the Postal Regulatory Commission. Although current Chairman Dan Blair’s term on the Commission extends to 2012, he serves as Chairman, at the pleasure of the President. (Dan is a Republican appointee.) Blair may continue to serve as Chairman until Obama designates a new Chairman. It is, therefore, likely that President-elect Obama would choose between Vice Chairman Nanci Langley and Commissioner Ruth Goldway to succeed Dan. Both Langley and Goldway were confirmed as Democratic members of the PRC. Another decision President-elect Obama could make is the nomination of a new USPS Governor. Prior to the September Congressional recess, President Bush nominated former Washoe County NV Assessor Robert McGowan to succeed Alan Kessler on the USPS Board of Governors. If the Senate does not confirm McGowan prior to January 20, Obama could nominate someone else; however, this scenario may be problematic, because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recommended McGowan to the White House.
Another impact that the new Administration’s policy could have on the USPS is through its broad legislative agenda. For example, a major health care initiative could impact the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and Medicare. Postal employees rely on FEHBP for their health care coverage, while most retirees depend on both. Moreover, since FEHBP coordinates its coverage with Medicare, a substantial change in Medicare can impact the FEHBP. As you may recall, in 1993, former President Clinton led an ill-fated crusade to reform the nation’s health care system. Its earliest incarnations would have eliminated the FEHBP or radically modified it. Only through a concerted effort by the Federal/postal community, were we able to educate the Administration and Congress about the importance of the FEHBP. During that same period the USPS was seeking a way to break away from the FEHBP and negotiate its own health plan with postal employees. NAPUS will be working to ensure that the Presidential transition team is attentive to Postmaster issues.