February 28, 2012
(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is taking the leaders of the U.S. Postal Service to task, demanding that executives be willing to cut their own salaries as they propose cuts to the nation’s mail service.
Tester said that if senior postal executives were willing to cut mail delivery standards and close rural post offices, they should also be willing to “forgo bonuses or reduce salary.”
The Postal Service’s Board of Governors recently told Tester that cutting the salaries of its top employees would have a “chilling effect on the management of the organization.” Although the Postal Service is struggling financially, the Postmaster General last year earned $800,000 in pay and benefits.
Tester responded by pointing out that the heads of both the Treasury and Defense departments – facing their own difficult challenges – earn much less than they might in the private sector.
“Civil servants, like the Postmaster General, have unique public responsibilities and sacrifices inherent to their positions,” Tester wrote the Postal Service’s Board of Governors. “The reality is that many of our government’s senior leaders share this distinctive burden. Public service is uniquely different [from the private sector] and the Postal Service must rise to meet that expectation.”
Tester also took issue with the Board of Governors for suggesting that the Postal Service is a “private enterprise whose operations should be dictated solely by the private marketplace.”
‘The Postal Service is a public entity with unique service requirements that are critical to rural America,” Tester wrote. “Yet the Service’s plans to erode service standards, close facilities and thus reduce its own effectiveness suggest that this public requirement is lost on the Board of Governors and senior executives of the Postal Service.”
The Postal Service in August announced plans to consider closing 85 Montana post offices, and more recently recommended consolidating mail processing facilities in Kalispell, Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Wolf Point. Pressure from Tester and Montanans eventually convinced the Postal Service to keep Missoula’s facility open.
Tester, a member of the Senate committee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, said that he remains committed to reforming the Postal Service in a way that preserves the “public nature of the institution.”
Tester’s letter to Board of Governors’ Chairman Thurgood Marshall Jr. and Board Member Louis Giuliano is available below and online HERE.