Retiring Postmaster Says USPS POStPlan is a fraud being perpetrated on all America

The following letter was submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission by Mark Jamison, Postmaster of Webster NC, who is retiring today. Jamison has been very outspoken on his views of changes within the Postal Service.


I am not an intervener in this docket. I understand that these comments cannot become a part of the record and may not have an impact on your deliberations in this case. I hope however that you will read them and give them some thought even if they do not add to the weight of your decision.

I am retiring today after more than thirty years of government service, over twenty-eight of that with the United States Postal Service. I retire having served the town of Webster, North Carolina as postmaster for the last fourteen years.

Webster, a Level 13 office, serves post office boxes only and as late as two years ago brought in more than $120,000 in revenue. It serves a much wider community than the 476 post office boxes housed within it. People come to Webster because, I am told, the service is both friendly and thorough. They come from a distance even though there are at least three other offices within fifteen miles including a Level 20 in Sylva, North Carolina..

Over the years, in addition to delivering mail, selling postage, and offering advice on mailing, I have filled out money orders for the elderly and others who needed that assistance. I have watched children grow up. I have gone to countless dance and piano recitals, several weddings, and more funerals than I care to mention. I have put together four bicycles so they would be ready on Christmas morning. I have opened stuck jars, called doctors and utilities for explanations for customers. I have been an ear, a friend and a counselor and in all these roles and many others I have proudly represented the United States Postal Service.

I would like to think that all those surveys that claim that the United States Postal Service is the most trusted government entity are because of people like me who serve their communities in many of the same ways. People who make sure that someone gets that package of medicine or an Express mail even though the sign says the office is closed or the address is incorrect, people who serve not as bureaucrats but as unscripted human faces.

Webster, NC Post Office

Webster, NC Post Office

Webster is an office that will be downgraded by POStPlan. It is slated to go to six hours but if my calculations are correct, based on the slippery and ever moving targets offered by the Postal Service it is likely to fall to four hours after the next evaluation. And three years from now when the current lease expires the office is very likely to close.

I am the landlord of the Webster building. I receive $270 per month in rent for the facility from a lease that is very one-sided towards the Postal Service. In the last five years of the lease I have spent over $20,000 on the building, replacing the HVAC system and adding a roof. I bought the building along with the house I live in that sits on the same property six years ago. Before that I landscaped the building, out of my own pocket, so the community would have an attractive and welcoming place.

The rent is about a third of local market value but given the tactics the Postal Service has been using in lease renewals I think it’s fair to suggest that a reason will be found to make the next set of negotiations impossible. The office is likely to be downgraded into irrelevance and closed due to “emergency” lease issues and regardless of how the Postal Service may claim otherwise, there is sufficient evidence to view such an outcome as more than likely.

Webster, like many of the offices affected by POStPlan, doesn’t have a business district. The post office is the heart of the town, its identity, its meeting place, and in some respects its soul. Postmasters in towns like Webster all over the country have regularly taken their jobs a step further by helping people in ways that are not purely postal and by making the extra effort to make their offices welcoming and attractive. POStPlan is touted as a way to realign hours to the needs of communities but it doesn’t do that, primarily it simply reduces hours and removes important elements from the equation, elements that make some of these small rural post offices much more valuable than mere revenue figures would imply.

My grandfather, an old country fellow but wise in his own way, had a saying that applies to the management style of the Postal Service. He would say, “Son, never start vast projects with half-vast ideas.”

POStPlan and the realignment of nearly 18,000 post offices is a vast undertaking. The Postal Service has tried its best to convince you that they have carefully thought through their plans and that they have accounted for all the myriad factors that will affect service. Their charts and tables, their spreadsheets and presentations, all vouch for the thoroughness and professionalism of their effort. The problem is that for all the evidence presented to you for all the reasoning that claims this program is needed and beneficial, the fact remains that POStPlan itself is nothing more than a lie, concocted to allow those in Congress the false assurance that post offices won’t be closed but only made more efficient.

POStPlan isn’t well conceived, the fact is that at this moment the Postal Service has no idea how it is going to staff several thousand post offices. In the last couple of weeks my managers have approached me and virtually begged me to accept a PMR position upon retirement. Given my outspoken ways I think that says something. I learned only last Friday, a week before my retirement was scheduled to take effect, who would take my office, a PSE with about a year’s experience. She may do all right but the real plan is to hire a PMR with no experience.

Last Friday I was presented with an interview candidate and told to schedule an interview as quickly as possible so that the candidate, someone with no postal experience, could be hired, trained and installed in the office as quickly as possible because the PSE they were using was needed to plug a different hole in the sieve they call service.

Next Wednesday eighteen postmasters in a POOM area of 84 offices are scheduled to retire and my office is a prime example of the manner in which this transition is being accomplished. Check out and clearance procedures established by regulation are being completely abandoned for expedience.

You have sat through these hearings, actually a rather short docket given the impact of the changes being proposed, and while it is likely you will raise some questions about the efficacy of POStPlan, you will ultimately endorse it, possibly with some reservations, but endorse it nonetheless.

You will have followed the law and based on the submissions of evidence and the arguments offered in this case there is a narrow way in which you can clearly come to the conclusion that the Postal Service’s offerings are both reasonable and in compliance with the terms of the law.

I argued in recent comments about procedures in Nature of Services Cases that this commission is a “slave to the law”, and so you are. You must follow a law so poorly crafted by Congress that the idea of maximum effective service can be redefined to embrace the expedient and ridiculous. In each of these cases the proceedings are crafted so narrowly that you lose context, your application of the law and required procedure has your noses flat against but a single tree in the forest so your vision is nothing more than a strip of bark.

The cumulative effect of the changes the Postal Service has offered, stepping back to see the forest broadly, is nothing less than a complete redefinition of universal service so as to make that term meaningless. By any measure POStPlan is a fraud being perpetrated not only on rural America but on all America. It is another step in an effort to break the bonds people have with their post offices. This plan and the plans offered by the management of the Postal Service in general are designed to undue the process of binding the Nation together.

I could end by offering dire predictions of what will happen if you endorse this plan but I think that even those of you who have convinced yourself that Mr. Donahoe’s prescriptions are useful can imagine where we are headed.

I could draw parallels between what is happening to this treasured and essential institution with our general failure to embrace a positive and sustaining vision for the way we govern ourselves, for the way our commitments to each other as citizens are being broken and polarized but you are all capable of seeing where we are headed. I could tell you again how the postal network is essential and needed infrastructure and that our approach to the current problems abandons essential services but you would likely dismiss that as impractical.

No, follow the law, endorse this plan as you must but please do not pretend that it is anything other than expedience, cynical political cover for a Congress that no longer serves the public interest, and merely a stop on the road to eliminating universal service. Do not ask us to believe that it solves anything. It is, as Pappaw would say, “A half-vast plan”

Mark Jamison

27 thoughts on “Retiring Postmaster Says USPS POStPlan is a fraud being perpetrated on all America

  1. @wvsense – I don’t know what your position or seniority is but you are mistaken on several points in your critical message. Unless I am mistaken, either PMG Henderson or Potter ( and I think it was Henderson) covered employees under the Whistleblower Protection Act before he left office. There are also protections set forth in the ELM prohibiting reprisals for engaging in a protected activity. Now, when one is in a level 13 office, they do not have much internal leverage in my opinion. Postmaster Jamison sounds like a solid postmaster based on his writings and previous musings I have read. It is an exceedingly tough environment right now and having been in one of the largest districts in the nation, I didn’t find a whole lot of anybody, craft or management, that went too far out on a limb to battle anyone at POOM level or higher. I certainly never felt any backup from those that whined a lot but “went along to get along”. You do seem to have strong feelings about things so we all look forward to your contributions to fixing the ills in the Postal Service. On a lighter note, a friend discovered that a group of baboons is called a congress. That explains a lot.

  2. I retired after 40 years with PO. My BP is now 117/73. My cholosterol is 150 and my sugar averages 108. I now enjoy my paper w/coffee along with my wife & grandkids. This is what its all about. The APWU screwed me over as much as PO management did but now all of the crap I read means nothing to me and I feel sorry for all you still working. Get out while the getting’s good and while you still can. Retirement is good and not as scarry as everyone thinks as long as you’re pulling 80% of your high 3. EAT MO CHIKEN!

  3. My small, community Post Office has definitely not “outlived its’ need”. Our community is 56 miles on a narrow, winding road from the nearest town and
    over 80 miles from the nearest Big Box store offering “postal” services. I sell many money orders to folks who don’t use banks and work every day except Sunday. I doubt they feel their Post Office is not needed. My customers send Certified and Express mail on a regular basis and many sell online and ship packages out of their “unneeded” Post Office. I’m assuming those people who feel small, community Post Offices should be closed or consolidated with larger, urban POs are urban dwellers themselves and have no understanding of rural (and especially Western rural) life. There are hundreds of remote communities across the US who greatly depend and appreciate their Post Offices would experience a huge drop in the quality of their lives if they were to lose their local Post Offices.

    I was very surprised at the anger and bitterness shown by many of the above commenters. Mr. Jamison spoke the truth and knows, firsthand, how important our Post Offices are to our communities and how much a dedicated Postmaster contributes to the success of his Post Office and community. I read his speech with tears running down my face as I am also a retiring Postmaster and I know, with the retirement of approximately 4500 Postmasters in the next 2 months, the US Postal Service will never be the same. The “service” is being ripped out of our once proud organization along with the heart.

  4. wvsense: No, I wasn’t a member of the League for years, you apparently have me confused with someone else.
    Timmy: Facts are really tough things. There’s no conflict of interest, the regulations specifically permit a postal employee including a postmaster to own a facility of less than 3000sq ft and at one time that was actually encouraged as a way of maintaining post offices. Before purchasing the facility I sought and received permission from Facility Services and the District. The transfer of the lease had to be approved by HQ. That is standard procedure.
    It would seem that someone with multiple degrees would have the capability of researching an issue before simply speculating.

  5. To my critic “littlest willie”: You can continue living and thinking in the squalor of your swinedom by riding the coat tails of capitalist pigs that made their fortune off of Government Tax loopholes and cheap labor.
    Your buddy, the Postmaster, engaged in what is classified as being a “conflict of interest” by being an employee of the Postal Service and engaging in a business contract on the side as the Landlord of the building that he rented to the Postal Service. Maybe the Postal Inspectors gave him the Postal ultimatum of 1) you retire, or 2) we prosecute you.
    As for me, I do not have a bitter bone in my body. Unlike you, I’ve accomplished what I set out to accomplish. I earned my 1st million dollars 2 years ago and I plan to enjoy the splendor of retirement next year. I am a multiple Degree holder in a number of disciplines inwhich I can always fall back on if I need to make anymore money.
    You can wallow in your hate for which you failed to accomplish and blame others. For me, I will be soaking my bunyons in the Atlantic Ocean.
    See ya!

  6. Nationwide these little one time needed small community post offices have outlived their need. Time has elimated their need for postal service. The expense nationwide for the little so called side of the road post officies waste million of dollars in salaries, rent and utilities as well as transporting mail from processibng via HCR. Can now buy stamps at national grocery and drug stores at the same price at USPS. These stores sell the forever stamp at the samr as post office. Time for USPS to face reality and rid wasted cost .

  7. THE last thing the USPS needs are all the nationwide ho-dum-town P.O’S!!!the mayberry twon P.O. nationwide all these little -do nothing townships can and should merge their P.O’S with the largest city-based and 15+ carrier-carrying offices.getting rid and closing all these historic and difficult to run P.O.’S will stop the waste of millions of tax-dollars yes tax-dollars sent to keep them $ no longer is the usps self-run $$$ wise they have borrowed up to the max allowed from the coffers of the US GOV’T getting rid of all those small-town PO’S will no doubt get rid of all those high level $$$ do-little postmasters..combining offices in cities with 20 carrying routes will also rid of do-nothing postmaster!!!it’s not the P.O’S that are wasting $$$ it’s the salaries that keep them running!!!! last thing we need at USPS is layers of managements in which good ol donahue is quick to protect!! once we start thinning-out or phasing-out a so-called district/reginal/territory/and PO’S w/o carrying rte postmasters and other upper level $$$ paid yoyo’s the USPS might see some black ink for a time..

  8. Captn. well stated. Politicans have no concern for any issue other than buying votes for getting another 4 year term.
    Barney & Magoo your statements make cents as to small post offices in 5-6 mile radius . Probably no funeral home in or Wendys in area where these offices are located. Postmaster at Webster salary range $60,000 plus, A loosing situation with no just cause.

  9. Retired after 38 years at the PO. Part of the problem is many offices were not closed right after the end of the PO Dept and birth of USPS. How about 3 small offices that could not generate revenue to keep 1 afloat within sight of each other– all within 8 miles of a larger office?

    Why the fuss? The Dept of Energy wasres 4 times the PO losses every year, obama sent $5.3 Billion to other countries for Gores folly, the list of waste goes on and the PO gets hosed by congress.

  10. It always amazes me when dumbasses like Magoo and Joe
    Schmo love to badmouth something they not only don’t know anything about, they more than likely don’t use. The USPS has been the most trusted US government agency for more years than I can remember and will until its demise. Unfortunately, it will be one of those federal agencies that once it is gone, it cannot be replaced without the cost rising so high noone can possibly afford to use it. So just keep sending your emails and paying premium prices for UPS. You certainly deserve it.

  11. Magoo…you hit the nail on the head! Government leased Buildings are the biggest scam around. He had a dick job and now it’s over. This guy should run for Congress!

  12. Magoo & Bad Dude. Your statements reflect the primary issue Webster had no business district and 4 officies in 15 miles. The postmaster owned the post office building with his residence on same propety. Comparable to a pastor of a church with pastorium next door. Smaller than Mayberry with Andy and aunt Bee with 476 PO Boxes and no businesses more of a gathering place at the general store a community post office that that could be eliminated without harm to providing mail service. The postmaster can continue to provide community service as a counselor, santa claus , and general advisor to the communi ty and active in NAPUS or the League. One needs to be in the trenches to talk the talk as craft employees have done the walk. Management employee who had a story to tell that revolved around his in year as a management employee. For the sake of craft employees action to reduce useless cost must be eliminated.

  13. Reading this makes me very mad. This individual was with the National League of Postmasters for years & did nothing to see this coming. I do understand the fear that many on USPS payroll have about speaking out of the wrong and corrupt of the business. Any whistleblower will face potential criminal punishment or firing with undue reasons and no benefits they have worked for. USPS has been corrupt for decades & as sad as it to say…the employees help allow it to happen also. Just as our national government of Congress & politics is corrupt so is USPS & it has been for too long. American citizens should not bail out the evil of these government functions especially when most do not have the monies to buy favors and special treatment because of the dollars we would have to lay down for them to be hear us. It’s all just sick. It’s sad. USPS & our politics make us a third world country of incompetent book educated individuals but no one has the backbone to stand up for common sense in making smart, wise decisions that will save USPS and our politics as we know it. Too many chiefs & not enough Indians in this country as the saying goes. It’s sad that this postmaster did not take a stand when his position gave him that authority but for his own selfish motives, keeping face, and saving his job…it is all Ritual Abuse of government greed & conformity in fear to save one’s self. No one else:( Unless we the people start uniting together away from our own special interests too of selfish greed and motives, kiss democracy goodbye. USPS is the prelude of goodbye to this government foundation and legacy & one of many that will follow of our rights being taken away…little by little. Wait & see:(

  14. Wow! I hadn’t read these other comments and I find it interesting that many can’t get past the fact that this postmaster was, just that, a postmaster and not a craft employee. They’re too busy analyzing him and what he represents to them than to actually take in the message that he is trying to convey.

    People, whether or not it is right or wrong, there are employees in the USPS who haven’t been in the ‘trenches’ with us who have been clerks, carriers or mailhandlers. But we have all been one entity to the public. And his experience is definitely different than that of most others, but does that make his message less important? He is a critical-thinking individual. He wishes to speak his truths, and yes, that could have jeopardized his job before he retired. Most people in “management’ will not say what they really think because it will jeopardize their jobs. (You know, they have families to feed and take care of, too.) Some of you people need to get off your high horses and get your heads out of the sand. We are not all enemies, as some would like to believe. It is not ALL an ‘us or them’ thing. This is part of the problem with the USPS (and rightfully so). But it is also a problem with our country and until the people making the laws in Washington can REALLY see themselves as US, then it’s gonna be all about THEM. Open your eyes and see what’s happening all around you! It goes so far beyond Democrats and Republicans and even beyond ‘management’ and the craft. Find the people who resonate the TRUTH and then you will have won half the battle.

  15. You know what? This guy knows what he’s talking about. And so many others know what he’s talking about too. To me, it is heartbreaking to see what is happening in these present times and to see what is happening to our established service of communication and interaction – the U.S. Postal Service. And it is sad to see these people running the country and the USPS and really just pillaging, not taking pride in their work product or what they represent. The postmasters really have a much better clue than many others in the USPS, they have seen what has been going on around them throughout recent years and how PMG Potter and Donahoe have ‘pimped-out’ the USPS, just like the way that President Obama and our Congressional lawmakers have ‘pimped-out’ the USPS.

    The Postmasters of small towns (and sometimes big ones) and the clerks and the carriers – they see what it really means to be a postal worker. They see the contribution that they give to their communities. But so many others, those who want to only work their 8 hour day and go home, those who are trying to take advantage of anything at anytime, basically those who just don’t want to give at all. The U.S. Postal Service has always been more than just a job to those who really cared. And those who really cared did so many ‘extra’ things for their customers and went that ‘extra mile’ for the people in the community.

    Now they have this POSTPlan, or whatever the freak it’s called. Where is the service in a service industry when you are cutting hours even more to people in a community who were already squeezed in to unrealistic hours to begin with? The postmaster who wrote this article is the kind I’d LIKE to have, because I’m stuck in one of these small towns where I don’t get curbside service and I can’t ever get my mail. Why? BEFORE they cut the hours, the P.O. here is only open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and is closed for lunch from 12-1:30 p.m. When you commute to work, and let’s assume you had a job working 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., then exactly WHEN can you get your mail? The post office is closed by the time you get home, and the P.O. boxes aren’t 24 hour access (even though it’s a dinko town). I’m wondering where the service really is now, much less when our ‘service’ hours are cut even more.

    Much like the author of this article, I was an Officer-in-Charge of a post office in a small town of about 5,000 people – Tipton, Indiana. That was in 2006. I have watched this scenario unfold since then and you cannot tell me that many of the ‘powers-that-be’ knew even then that they were planning all these changes. I believe – and know – that they have been making plans since AT LEAST then to enact all the things that we are experiencing now.

    The day of the USPS as we know it is over. The ‘small-town’ feel and the caring carrier/clerk who goes beyond the call of duty to get the mail to their customer is over. The world as we know it is over. All I can do is say ‘What a shame.’ But DO NOT expect me to buy-into all the lies that you spew. Like this guy said, you can show me all your charts and grafts and (manufactured) figures, but it doesn’t mean a thing to me, because what you have lost is your heart and your soul, and that goes for those trying to carry your message through the ranks. A lie is a lie. We’ve been sold-out, pimped-out, and bought-out.

  16. I had to stop reading this because the author was pissing me off. I completely understand and sympathize with his feelings of being powerless as he is forced to watch this once great institution intentionally destroyed by upper management, yet, he rubbed me the wrong way.

    What I have a problem with is:
    1) His office, at it’s peak, brought in $120k annually, (‘revenue’, not ‘profit’) that’s not even enough to cover the costs of two full time employees. Even if he were the sole employee at this location, after expenses, his salary and his benefits, There was probably nothing left.
    2) If there were any profit left -it went to him as well. Conveniently, not only was he the postmaster – he’s also the landlord, and his own home sits on the same property as well.
    3) He’s made a career out of double-dipping, after spending 28 years with postal service, having guaranteed his retirement and benefits, he also hoped to ‘triple-dip’ by continuing to draw rental income from the postal service, and I think his real dismay comes from potentially losing that bonus income.
    4) He claims the market value of the rent is approx. three times more than what he charges the postal service – if that were true, then he should be glad to have the PO vacate the property so he could recoup his losses.
    5) The fact that he’s in a supervisory position leads me into not trusting him right off the bat. Add in the fact that he’s in a very rural area, with no real oversight, and he’s been given the freedom to do as he pleased with his position for all these years, and that he appears to really only be focused on his financial standing,,,,it makes me wonder, what are the odds his home’s utilities are hooked up to the meters on the building he leases to the postal service?

  17. To little Timmy,

    This ex-PM wrote about what he could not say while he was working without risking his job as a manager. I don’t blame him.

    As you are one of the lemmings of the class warfare crowd, there is little hope for you or your family. Striving to achieve greater things, ie more money acquired through hard work is not part of your manifesto (communist), you need to blame those who succeeded for your failure and therefore you are bitter. Your petty comments and opinions weigh little in the real world which you do not live in.

  18. It’s sounds like sour grapes on the part of the Postmaster. He took in his pay from the “scum bags” for 28 years and now he wants to throw them under the bus. So much for biting the hand that fed you!

  19. sorry postmaster. most postal employees are well aware that
    postal management is a bunch of unethical, incompetent scum that treats its employees like crap and makes idiotic decisions that screw over their own
    customers. however, you are so entangled with the slime in business dealings
    that anything you say must be dismissed. you simply don’t have ‘clean hands.’
    if your giving the post office such a great deal on the rent price then you should be elated they will be moving on and you can finally get the fair market rental
    for your property. don’t be such a pussy next time, if you have inside information about postal management fraud, corruption, or waste be a man and report
    it and tell eveyone you know to report it BEFORE you retire!

  20. The Rich & Wealthy are afraid of a Revolution in this country. They lobby our, and I repeat, our representatives in Congress and the Senate to protect their best interests and not ours of “We the people.” Think about the American Revolution for a second. How did “We the people” get news to organize against the red coats? All Donohoe wants to do is kill the messenger for the Rich & Wealthy. He is a puppet for the Rich & Wealthy and knows nothing about running a business. All the rhetoric about the fraudulent financial crisis of the Postal Service is just that, rhetoric and fraud. It’s time that “We the people” take back our country and tar and feather the fools that think they are doing the most good for the most (and not for the good of the greedy Rich & Wealthy).
    Yes, we are a melting pot but the pot has overflowed and extinguished the fire of DEMOCRACY. Ben Franklin is rolling over in his grave as we speak.

  21. The Rich & Wealthy are afraid of a Revolution in this country. They lobby our, and I repeat, our representatives in Congress and the Senate to protect their best interests and not ours of “We the people.” Think about the American Revolution for a second. How did “We the people” get news to organize against the red coats? All Donohoe wants to do is kill the messenger for the Rich & Wealthy. He is a puppet for the Rich & Wealthy and knows nothing about running a business. All the rhetoric about the fraudulent financial crisis of the Postal Service is just that, rhetoric and fraud. It’s time that “We the people” take back our country and tar and feather the fools that think they are doing the most good for the most (and not for the good of the greedy Rich & Wealthy).
    Yes, we are a melting pot but the pot has overflowed and extinuished the fire of DEMOCRACY. Ben Franklin is rolling over in his grave as we speak.

  22. I will soon retire from the postal service after 32 years of service. Everyone at the plant I work at tells me how lucky I am to be going now before the demise of the postal service is complete. I can do nothing but agree with them. I have given 32 years to the postal service and 4 more to the military which equalls more than half of my life to government service. I must say that I do not envy anyone who must stay in the postal service under the current conditions. I truely believe that the postal service will not survive the current administration and their idea of how to save the postal service. True, there is much to be done to save this top heavy and failing agency. However, to destroy it is not the answer. It is after all in the Constitution of the United States. Isn’t there supposed to be a Constitutional convention in order to change the Constitution? Just asking.
    We Americans who remember a diferent time in America, A time when we actually had some respect for those people who got elected to public office to ” represent the wishes of the people of America” can but wonder what ever hapened to that once great country , America.

  23. Well said. Congress and the PS should be ashamed of themselves. What giant egos they all have at Americas expense. Again, well said Sir. You and many of us like you are the reason the Post Office needs to be here. Too bad Washington is out to destroy it (and us). Surely our Fore Fathers are wondering what is going on with this country. It used to be so great. Sad, sad, sad.

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