Eye Opener: Postal Service defends cutbacks
Happy Friday! Postmaster General John E. Potter defended his proposals to cut Saturday mail delivery and close post offices on Thursday, arguing that several major American brands and industries have made cuts to ensure future viability.
"If the Postal Service were provided with the flexibilities used by businesses in the marketplace to streamline their operations and reduce costs, we would become a more efficient and effective organization," Potter said in his prepared testimony to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. "Such a change would also allow us to more quickly adapt to meet the evolving needs, demands, and activities of our customers, now and in the future."
Potter wants Congress to give him more flexibility to manage delivery schedules, increase prices and close post offices, if necessary.
Here are the examples of cutbacks he cited on Thursday:
• In 2009, Sears closed 62 underperforming stores and initiated an aggressive global digital strategy.
• In November 2009, L.L. Bean announced it would be closing an outlet store in Portland, Maine.
• In September 2009, a news item reported that Citigroup was considering shutting or selling some of its 1,001 branches in North America following a $45 billion federal bailout. In 2008, Citigroup announced it was cutting its workforce, worldwide, by 14 percent, through the sale of some units or through layoffs.
• In 2008, Starbucks announced it was closing 5 percent – more than 600 – of its stores. In 2009, it announced it would close an additional 300 stores.
• In 2009, GM told 1,100 dealerships that it would drop them from its retail network effective October 2010; GM also discontinued the Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer lines of cars.
• A January 2010 news item reported a 10 percent cutback in the number of available airline seats, caused by airlines using smaller planes or reducing the number of flights.
Potter's efforts to cut Saturday delivery formally begin next week when he meets with the Postal Service Board of Governors on Wednesday. He'll try to convince postal regulators on March 30 before making his case to Congress again in mid-April.
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• Please Note: The Federal Eye is enjoying a three-day weekend, so blogging will be light today. Normal blogging resumes on Monday.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Cabinet secretaries name their NCAA March Madness Final Four picks. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton faults Russia for its plans to complete a nuclear power plant in Iran. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. receives the Chesterfield Smith Award and speaks at the 2010 Pro Bono Institute Annual Seminar/Forum today in Washington. How Richard Holbrooke wants to spend your money. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan concedes the Federal Reserve failed to gauge the bubble. Nawar Shora is taking the battle for Arab and Muslim rights inside the TSA.
• Defense official says Afghan program was authorized: The senior Defense Department employee under investigation for allegedly running an unauthorized intelligence-gathering operation in Afghanistan, says his now-suspended program was fully authorized by top U.S. military commanders.
• Pentagon sees a threat from online muckrakers: To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added WikiLeaks.org, a tiny online source of information and documents that governments and corporations around the world would prefer to keep secret.
• EPA to study natural-gas drilling's effect on water: It's a $1.9 million study into how drinking-water supplies are affected by hydraulic fracturing, a method used to turn shale rock into natural gas wells.
• U.S. agents target El Paso gang in effort to solve 3 killings in Juarez: More than 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officers swept through El Paso on Thursday, picking up suspected members of the Barrio Azteca gang in a bid to learn who killed three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, last weekend.
• NTEU joins call for union election at TSA: The union filed a petition with the Federal Labor Relations Authority asking for an election to determine which union will represent Transportation Security Administration workers once its employees are granted collective bargaining rights.
• Obama's Asia trip delay shows lower priority of foreign policy: The situation might not be all bad. The June trip might allow more time for the administration to work out key cooperation issues with both Indonesia and Australia and a new schedule might be more relaxed than the hurried agenda put together for the trip.
• U.S., Russian negotiators 'at the finish line' on new START nuclear pact: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Russian foreign minister said after talks here that they awaited word soon from negotiators in Geneva who have been working 18-hour days to wrap up the agreement.
• Interrogation work by TSA nominee's firm under review: Senate aides vetting President Obama's pick to head the agency are looking into whether the company he founded worked at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, which became notorious in 2004 after stories emerged of prisoner abuse there.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
• Poll: Most OK with 5-day mail service: A majority of Americans are willing to accept cuts in mail delivery days to preserve the U.S. Postal Service, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found.
| March 19, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener, Workplace Issues
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