How will Pat Donahoe Change the Postal Service?

Economist Alan Robinsin suggests that new Postmaster General Pat Donahoe is making his mark on the USPS:

The place where Pat Donahoe’s mark is most clearly seen is in the new structure of Postal Management. In particular, the new structure makes the follow statements about the future of the Postal Service:

  • Strategic planning appears to have been split. Financial issues are placed within the Finance Department under the VP of Finance and Planning. Public Policy Issues are placed within the realm of Government Relations and Public Policy. These two departments are going to have to work closely together as many of the policy issues and expected proposals to change postal law focus on changes designed to ensure the financial viability of the Postal Service.
  • The Postal Service organization of its marketing operation appears to recognize that it serves two different markets: retail (i.e. customers who send less than 500 pieces at a time) and wholesale (i.e. customers who send more than 500 pieces at a time). What is unclear is whether the marketing department has the authority to focus the attention of operations management on making operating changes that reduce operating costs to the extent that regulated or unregulated prices can ensure margins that promote postal self sufficiency.
  • The Postal Service has placed greater attention on both customer communications and the presentation of its public policy positions. Susan LaChance’s new mandate should give the Postal Service’s customers, and in particular its larger customers, a headquarters contact that can cut through the bureaucracy in dealing with service and other complaints.
  • Management at all levels faces continuing downsizing. The new management structure reduces the number of officers, the number of areas by one and eliminates 10 districts. The elimination of one area comes about a year after another consolidation in the Northeast. The elimination of districts represents an initial effort to consolidate management at that level.

Robinson asserts that “The announcement that RIF rules will be used suggests that the Postal Service may have shifted its strategy for reducing its workforce and will no longer primarily use attrition as a means to reduce the workforce.” That’s overstating things- Donahoe told the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe that the 7,500 positions being eliminated would be cut by attrition. Eliminating an entire area office requires the use of RIF rules- it’s nothing new. Those rules were followed in all of the previous area and district consolidations, and don’t automatically mean that any employees will actually be involuntarily separated from the USPS.

via Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: How will Pat Donohue Change the Postal Service?.

  • Lifetime Employee

    You could also save millions by “buying out” the over 35 years of service employees and replacing them with new hires. Offer them $25,000 and maybe a few years of service added in as a bonus. Considering that a 35+ year veteran makes about $90K in salary and benefits you could recover the $25K in about 6 months. You would also have the benefit, if needed, of hiring another body.
    Carrier duties are expanding with added delivery stops each year. Whether a “stop” gets 1 piece of mail or 1000 they still have to stop and deliver the mail.
    Cut clerks and add carriers.

  • brian

    How does giving you $25K, paying you to stay at home, and then hiring a replacement for you save the USPS money?

  • In Limbo

    No added service time, Fed loses money in the long run. No buyouts, RIF instead. Move EAS back to craft.

  • Beamer

    Cut more clerk jobs? What the public does not know – when management jobs get “eliminated” it is just the position on paper. The supervisors just get shuffled around until a position becomes available. They still get their same level pay even though it is a lower level position. So what is the point? Districts that have merged are so behind in administrative work as it is! Also they should cut out scheduled awards to every one who gets an IOD. And spend the money investigating the ones that are raping the Postal System.

  • 35 year employee

    I’m a FERS transfer trying to rebuild my TSP funds back up to the pre market crash level so I can retire. If Congress would allow the Post Office to buy back my 2800 hours of sick leave at a reasonable rate and let me transfer that money into TSP for retirement, I’ll leave in a heartbeat. That would stop the “FERS flu” usage among Federal employees and get people off the rolls pretty quickly.

  • brian

    “What the public does not know – when management jobs get “eliminated” it is just the position on paper. ”
    I think the public is well aware of that- but it’s true of all postal employees, not just management.

  • A Letter Carrier

    Let’s keep filling the crafts with T/E’s..Thats a great way to save money ! (sarcastic) Less Pay !! How Smart is that? Why Should they care about the Postal Service and it’s future, when they have no future with it.? Our office delivers mail at 7pm at night in “not so great areas” due to lack of carriers, but yet we have a Manager, and 2 Supervisors.., making sure their numbers are met.. Volume is up, and service is way way down..Not a great way to run a business…but yet, hey as long a we have hit our scans..everything will be ok..

  • PM

    The problem is twofold.
    1. Pay for performance: There are too many managers that are only looking out for their own butts. I.E. Plants vs.
    AO’s. Plant managers don’t give a crap about when or how the mail gets delivered only their budgets. This is killing the post offices.
    2. Manager Upward Mobility: Managers are promoted and the minute they are in the new position, they volunteer for a detail and wham, their gone. All promotions should be in the postition for a minimum of 18 months before you vammoose. Eliminate all details because they are none productive and waste much money.

  • wisconsin

    Brian… if you get rid of some at the top of the Level 21 scale and replace them with someone promoted into the bottom of the Level 21 scale, there are tens of thousands to save right there.

  • brian

    So by your logic, the USPS should just fire everyone and hire new people at lower starting wages?

  • Alan Robinson

    Thanks for the correction on the RIF Rules.

  • Frank

    Why we need 1 postmaster,3 supervisors , and a 204b , for 35 employees?? Do the math, my kids kindergarten teacher has more kids per adult then these guys do! Cut at the top we know how to do our job just let us do it! Don’t worry that I was late 10 minutss, maybe I needed to take a sh*t!

  • charlie k

    After 26+ yrs. One would hope the problems from the 80s would fixed. Brian (which craft?) you come across like you’ve been on the job about two weeks. One method to save the bucks would be to convert suburban park&loops and dismounts, except hardship deliveries, to curb side or greater use of cluster boxes. Marvin Runyon was right when he said if you don”t touch the mail you are extraneous. Has anyone ever actually seen the regulation against telling a customer to move their mailbox after delivery has been established. One can almost see the sweat start dripping when I mention this idea to a postmaster. I’ve been offered management training three times “NO THANKS”. I’ve seen how the 204bs are treated from above . My conclusion is they want someone who will do as they are told not someone who is looking for ways to move along a good idea or solution.

  • sunny az

    Well frank maybe if you wouldn’t act like kindergartens we you wouldn’t need so much supervision. And about letting you do your job part of your job is to be on time. Kindergarteners are

  • brian p

    if they want people to retire without offering any money, just change the high 3 rule to a high 5 rule. Many will leave so they don’t have to work an additional 2 years and receive less money after retirement.

  • csrs

    Lifetime employee, If your 55, get the hell out. Why should you get any kind of incentive to retire. Your incentive is your pension. 18 months,and i won’t need no incentive to leave.

  • BMEU Supervisor

    As an EAS employee I would love to go back to carrying mail at this point. The amount of stress in the management ranks is unbelievable right now. I have checked into going back to craft, but everything is frozen right now.

  • Ralf

    I am 54 yrs. with 32 yrs. in. I can out carry 90% of any of any workforce. I have rec’d numerous productivity awards (when they used to give them); and have the respect from any EAS who hears my name.
    FEDX rehires retirees partime because older folks have a better work ethic,don’t need to be trained, and showup to work in Blizzards!!
    There’s dead weight in Management and labor; Lean out the EEO & Affirmative action losers, and hire the best of both labor & management.AND FOR GOD”S SAKE START WORKING TOGETHER!

  • Luke

    Brian, I am in my 30th year of service with the PO and I am 52 years old. I would like to retire early but will only take it if I am not penalized for age. When you retire from the P.O. , OPM pays your retirement, not the postal service. That is how it is cheaper for the P.O. to offer these early outs with incentive to those of us that are at max pay and then hire in new people at the lower rate.

  • brian

    charlie k- actually, I’m retired after 31 years in the USPS. I’d be interested to know which of my comments made you think I’d only worked 2 weeks, and why, exactly.
    As for your suggestions- you repeat the simplistic “Runyon said” line that’s been repeated ad nauseam. Fine with me! Get rid of all the people who make sure you get paid, maintain the buildings, arrange the transportation, etc., etc. (Why does it never occur to you guys that your hero Runyon never touched the mail either?). The USPS would absolutely save a ton of cash! For at least a day- before the “people who touch the mail” realized that they needed those “bean counters”.
    And the business about curbside delivery- please- do you honestly think that’s something you invented?? And I know your claim is pretty far-fetched, but if someone actually DID offer you a supervisor position as you claim- and that person is still in management, they need to be RIF’d!!

  • outofthebox

    Ben Franklin knew everything, and he probably was better suited to run the PO than our current floundering fathers. Had he been flying a ‘box’ kite he would have been electrocuted. The carriers should case the mail in the ndbcu’s and they should be trucked to mini-residential area’s for delivery. Why have carriers on the street?

  • brian

    Luke- you’re correct that OPM issues the retirement checks postal retirees receive. But where do you think OPM gets the money? Every single penny paid to postal retirees comes from the funds contributed by the employee, and funds contributed by the USPS- not from the federal government. So every additional dollar paid out to postal retirees comes directly, dollar for dollar, from USPS revenue.

  • Retired PM

    I recently retired from a job I used to love after 30 years. I started as a carrier and retired as a Level 20 Postmaster. The reason I retired was I lost that love from the daily incompetence of the people above me. People who were promoted who couldn’t do the job they were in, but knew someone above them. My office was one of the best. The employees were fantastic. There was no stress. We made our numbers. Then the micromanagement started. Along come the people who couldnt run their own offices instructing me on how to run mine. The moral in the office diminished. The numbers were’nt any good anymore. They should get rid of the POOM’s .Get rid of the Districts and the incompetence leading this company I loved so much in to ruins