USPS Will Keep Running, Despite Congressional Inaction
Three governors do not a U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors make, but it's good enough to keep the USPS running until there's a full board. That's the gist of comments from a USPS spokesman and the Federal Register, the federal government's daily newspaper.
As of Dec. 8, the board lost its quorum because Congress failed to confirm board nominees. But ahead of time, the board ensured its remaining members would have the powers available to board members who need to keep the postal service running. Effective Nov. 14, the board created a "Temporary Emergency Committee" to "provide for continuity of operations," according to Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register.
On Wednesday, Dead Tree Edition published a blog post titled "Legal Trick Means No Postage Increase—For Now."
USPS had already said there wouldn't be any postage increases in January, but the Dead Tree post mentions a rate hike rumor slated for this week. But that rate hike won't happen, the post states.
"Assuming the resolution withstands any legal challenges," reads the Dead Tree post, "it means congressional deadlock won't prevent USPS from increasing rates when it chooses. That appears likely to be in a few months, after an appeals court rules whether the 4.3 percent 'exigency' surcharge on most postage should be increased or extended."
USPS Media Relations Manager Dave Partenheimer previously told Target Marketing that unless the postal service's appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, is successful, USPS will need to wait until exigent rate increase brings in $3.2 billion to the USPS. That mile-marker will likely arrive during the second half of 2015, he believes. There's no opinion yet from the court (opens as a PDF).
On Wednesday, Target Marketing asks Partenheimer:
1. How temporary can "temporary" be?
2. Does this temporary situation allow the board to have the full power of the full board?
3. Does this vote mean the remaining board members don't have to meet to take action? (Including, but not limited to, closed-door meetings and/or decisions without meetings?)
4. Will they move on a postal rate increase?
Partenheimer's response provides a quasi-answer to question No. 3.
"Beyond what is in the Federal Register notice, I have the below statement," he responds. "I don't have anything further for you on this at this time. ...
"We are disappointed that the U.S. Senate failed to act on the five nominations for the Postal Service Board of Governors," Partenheimer continues. "Former Board Chairman Mickey Barnett's term expired on Monday, Dec. 8, leaving the board without a statutory quorum. We urge the president to promptly provide board nominations for the Senate to consider when the 114th Congress convenes in January, and for the Senate to move expeditiously in considering those nominees. The current Governors are Acting Chairman James H. Bilbray, Louis J. Giuliano and Ellen C. Williams. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman are also members of the Board. Given the loss of a statutory quorum, the Postal Service filed a Federal Register notice that was published Dec. 16, 2014, advising the public of actions taken during the November 2014 Board of Governors meeting to ensure the postal service continues to operate, notwithstanding the loss of a statutory board quorum. Specifically, the Board of Governors adopted a resolution during its November 2014 meeting, establishing a Temporary Emergency Committee composed of the remaining members of the board to exercise those powers reserved to the board necessary for continuity of operations. The governors of the postal service also issued a resolution regarding the exercise of the powers vested solely in the governors, as distinguished from the Board of Governors. The resolution clarifies that the inability of the board to constitute a quorum does not inhibit or affect the authority of the governors then in office to exercise those powers vested solely in the governors, upon the concurrence of an absolute majority of the governors then in office."
Are marketers now less concerned about the board quorum situation?
Please respond in the comments section below.