USPS Misrepresentations Lead to Barrage of Criticism

Greg Bell
Executive Vice President

(This article by first appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

The Postal Service’s top management, including Postmaster General Donahoe, has been drawing fire from all sides in recent months, after a series of disturbing and embarrassing revelations.

Criticism of postal management started mounting after the USPS filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for an advisory opinion on plans to degrade service standards — to eliminate overnight delivery of most first-class mail and periodicals, and generally slow delivery. Prior to the September request, postal managers had been telling legislators and affected communities that consolidating mail processing facilities would not affect service.

The Postmaster General is rapidly losing any credibility he had with Congress, the public and employees.

APWU-led protests at town hall meetings, along with rallies and other activities throughout the fall and winter, demonstrated the depth of public opposition to USPS plans to consolidate mail processing plants, and prompted a storm of criticism from lawmakers.

The heat intensified in March when Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) took to the Senate floor to criticize Donahoe for “proceeding with a disastrously flawed plan” to close hundreds of mail processing plants.

“This coupled with the still-pending closures of almost 4,000 mostly rural post offices and the Postmaster General’s push to eliminate overnight and Saturday delivery, tells me that the current Postal Service leadership is gravely underestimating the consequences of lesser service on revenue from customers who depend on the service as it is provided today,” she said.

“I find myself in a quandary, one created by the Postmaster General himself as he shifts from plan to plan, from negotiation to negotiation,” Sen. Collins concluded.

The senator’s complaint about shifting from plan to plan is well-founded. Testifying before a House committee on April 5, 2011, the PMG told lawmakers the USPS needed Congress to do three things to alleviate the agency’s financial crisis: address the mandate to pre-fund retiree health benefits, return USPS overpayments to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and give management delivery flexibility.

“Get those things out of the way and you’ll never see us again,” Donahoe said.

But just four months later, management had an entirely new wish list for Congress: On Aug. 11, the USPS announced that it would seek congressional support for legislation to eliminate employees’ protections against layoff; remove postal workers from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), and separate USPS employees from federal retirement programs.

Since August, the emphasis and details of the Postal Service’s plans have changed many times.

Deliberately Misleading

On March 21, just days after Sen. Collins’ speech on the Senate floor, a secret study was made public indicating that revenue losses from service standard changes could wipe out any expected savings from the consolidations.

During cross-examination by the APWU before the PRC, a USPS witness admitted that the Postal Service’s initial market research on the network consolidation plan indicated it could result in net revenue losses as high as $1.9 billion. The USPS abandoned the study and conducted a new survey that estimated net revenue losses would total $500 million.

Despite claims by the Postal Service that the original survey was flawed, the company that performed the study said the research was solid.

Management’s actions aroused suspicion that the USPS abandoned the original study because it didn’t support the consolidation plan and left many with the impression that the Postal Service is deliberately misleading Congress and the public. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.

Following disclosure of the original research, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) blasted postal management. “This previously redacted study shows that arbitrary downsizing proposals actually threaten the financial viability of the Postal Service,” he said. “We need to build a new Postal Service business model that takes advantage of e-commerce and maintains Universal Service, not be forced into false choices which dismantle rather than reform this Constitutionally-mandated public service.”

Last December, the PRC issued an opinion that challenged the methodology the Postal Service used in developing its plan to close more than 3,600 retail facilities by 2015. The PRC concluded that the USPS lacked sufficient data for determining which closures would reduce costs the most and lacked sufficient data and analysis to make the best decisions.

PRC Chairman Ruth Goldway said that the USPS failed to give careful consideration to “each individual community’s needs,” and said the panel’s review of community challenges to post office closings reveals “a pattern of inaccurate and overly optimistic economic savings calculations and of careless disregard of community concerns.”

With management’s repeated misrepresentations becoming plain for all to see, the PMG is rapidly losing any credibility he had with Congress, the public and employees.

27 thoughts on “USPS Misrepresentations Lead to Barrage of Criticism

  1. Dave,

    The big accounting issue is “if congress returned the money”. Until they pass legislation to do that there is no asset. The money the USPS paid is no longer theirs. It is in a trust account that they have no control over so it is an asset of OPM’s not an asset of the Postal Service. If the money ever were return then at that time it would be treated as a reduction of current expenses.

  2. A’s an accountant, I wonder how the USPS calls money it could possibly get back, an expense. If Congress returned the money in the pension accounts, how could they account for that, after saying it was an expense for all these years?
    What it is, is a pre-paid expense, and thus an asset. And what the USPS is doing should be called accounting fraud.


  4. This article infers that Donahoe had some kind of credibility to begin with! HA! As far as most of the USPS current management goes – STUPID SEES AS STUPID DOES! They all are grasping for their jobs, yet they are such complete idiots that they don’t see there won’t be anyone left to “supervise!” They have no problems doing all kinds of things to the craft employees, while they live a life of double-standards. Just look at the PM in Crawfordsville, IN…makes $90K in a little post office with not nearly the routes that many have, and yet she cannot even make it to work for more than 2-4 hours a day. And they wonder why the post office is going under! And then, there’s the postmaster in Darlington, IN, who manipulates the mail, gives out confidential information that she’s not suppose to, and spends her days leaning on the counter and gossiping with the townfolk. There’s some productive endeavors for you! And then we have the Nazi management in the Postal Vehicle Services in downtown Indianapolis…wasting thousands and thousands of dollars trying to fire people for small crap that is ridiculous. All the aforementioned people love to think of themselves as “competent,” and doing such a great job, when actually the oppose is true. Perhaps, that is why the USPS is going under? I’m sure it’s not helping.

    And then we have the retiring District Manager of Indiana who had an agenda to make sure all his relatives were well-taken care of and promoted whether or not they deserved it. All condoned and sanctioned by our great leaders in the Post Office. STUPID SEES AS STUPID DOES….

  5. PMG is a government service employee. Any remarks issued by a high echelon government service emploee should be monitored as the individual making the remarks is not a part of corporate America which exist to generate earing to increase shareholders value. The USPS PMG has no basic impact on anything as finanes are negative with no means of recovery as it presently exist PMG, PRC, and other olitical clowns that lacked economic skills to understand laws of supply and demand with decreasing revenue and failing to take corrective action to meet bottomline finances should be terminated.

  6. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would question the integrety of postal management


  8. Don’t expect any help from your Union or the Marxist the unions got elected to the presidency.

    The APWU will do it’s best to keep it’s members from getting any early out incentive. This will only decrease membership and the unions #1 priority is maintaining union revenue, not doing what is best for the individual members. They will fight tooth and nail to stop closing and excessing (and I think that some if not most of their suggestions are far better than anything upper management is putting forth) but it will be ineffectual as “The Plan” will proceed regardless of what damage is being done.

    Obummer will more than likely be of no help as he does not have enough control over the USPS and all he is looking for is TOTAL CONTROL. If he does step in with some sort of mandate or EO, look for the other hand as it will be grabbing your freedoms while he tries look like the hero.

  9. Postal employees have long known of the duplicity, deceit, corruption and just plain incompetence of postal management for a long time. Since it’s policy not to publicly criticize the Service if you work for it, it remained below the radar until the level of dishonesty and bumbling couldn’t remain secret, especially when the PMG was so stupid he lied and changed his testimony to Congress. You would think Donohoe would know his remarks would be recorded as a matter of normal procedure, but even he appears to be as stupid as all the others.
    This not so secret revelation can be a double edged sword. The reaction from the public and lawmakers toward management could give them the impression that labor is equally inept and we’d suffer for it. On a more likely hand though, since the unions have been particularly vocal and proving themselves to be much more accurate about Service woes and offering plans that could actually work, congressional and public opinion could work in labor’s favor and follow its suggestions as a source that can be trusted much more than the scenario management keeps lying about and changing.
    The NALC’s contract is going to arbitration, and if the Service thinks it’ll get to cut letter carriers’ throats, they better guess again, because they have destroyed any lingering iota of credibility in the public eye for the most part, and if an arbitrator is fair minded, he or she will rule for a decent contract.
    A wholesale cleaning of the house at L’Enfant Plaza and Area has not made its need any more obvious than now. President Obama should, and must, find a real, competent Postmaster General who is genuinely interested in saving the Service as opposed to sucking up to Darryl Issa hoping to land a high paying position in the private sector. That PMG must find waste, especially with the bloated management, corruption and incompetence and remove it once and for all. We have seen that inside promotions have done nothing but kept the same ass kissing good old boys in power for far too long. Donohoe, it’s time for you and your lackeys to hit the fucking road. I don’t even recommend you as a PTF. I think you’re that out of touch and that incompetent.

  10. Constitutionallly mandated that say.s it all! The PMG is going against the constitution isn’t that akin to treason? When is some one going to arrest this traitor? It’s about time congress started seeing thru the BS of the PMG and took some serious action.

  11. If they really want to lessen the work force, give a buyout to the carriers, and watch how many go flying out the door. But nooooooooooooooo they NEED the carriers, we are the workers.

  12. So congress trying to cover it’s disatrous tracks from changing to a faux corporation to begin with. True the PMG hasn’t helped the situation , but then he’s Congress charge too !

  13. its a shame that the APWU negotiated (CBA), and now wants to use the incentive
    as leverage to get jobs back. Honor the agreement and give the clerks who have
    been paying union dues for 25-30 years their incentive. I have been with the
    postal service over 30 years and can not believe the APWU is using this to hold
    up our incentive. This is unbelievable.

  14. If you think this crap is over, wake up !!!!. DonnyHo has said he is planning “Targeted” Early outs. Not the APWU, but Mail-handlers and carriers. He will then back-fill those vacancies with excessed clerks so the closings can resume…… This is one lying, sneaking SOB and he neads his butt thrown out to the curb.

  15. Sir Woodrow,
    The APWU will not agree to any early outs or incentives claiming they want jobs back that they negotiated for under the new CBA. The real reason is that the APWU National officers are all retired from the PO, drawing large union salaries, and living the life on your union dues. They know incentives will draw alot of members thus lost of union revenue. Have you heard any talk of downsizing in the APWU? Maybe cutting positions, lowering salaries, holding back on travel? NO and you won’t!

  16. Someone please explain. The Postmaster explained what would happen about the consolidations. Phase I to start this summer, then everything would stop from Sept through Dec. The 2nd part of Phase 1 would start up again in Jan thru Feb 2013. He said that the employees that would be affected by the consolidations, would get their letters in the week of May 21st. The letters were sent out. He said that any person affected would have to choose what they wanted to do. And he said that incentives would be announced to help employees decide. So, they announced the incentives for the mail handlers, but not for the clerks. So, does this mean that no clerks were affected by this Phase I of the consolidations?

  17. Chuck this you morons who agree with any one representing the APWU!
    the Union cannot do anything right, the CBA was a bust, give credit to all the other unions who fought till the end, if any one of those contracts comes out better than the APWU’s, the sheep who voted for No Balls Guffey, will vote for him again, sheep led to the slaughter again !, while No Balls sips his expensive bottled water and buys his boyfriend gifts from your union dues, and wait till the party in LA, that’s all the scum in the National APWU can think about now, not you, but your dues and the big party, while your battered at the hands of Gestapo supervision, the APWU boys will party hearty!
    In Reference to Chuck Zlatkin the moron speaker for the APWU.
    Today, 5:13:47 PM
    – Like – Reply – Delete

  18. No one with-in the system should be surprised by this abrogation of duty. We see it everyday in local offices and always surmised that it went to the top. Only now was are all seeing it portrayed in a very public fashion. Just wonder where the next trial balloon will take us.

  19. Throw his ass out,you can call it what you want,putting it in laymans terms he is an incompetent asshole and bullshit artist…

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