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Friday Feedback: The Postal Service; NHTSA and GOP; the presidential transition; diversity on Capitol Hill

By Ed O'Keefe

A sampling of some of the comments from this week's most popular Federal Eye items. The thoughts expressed below do not represent the views of The Federal Eye or The Washington Post:

Regarding a new GAO report on the Postal Service...

The GAO proposals are workable: I would be opposed to outsourcing of USPS work - we have learned that such contracting of other govt work to private companies generally cost's the agency 2 or 3 times as much as with the original company; the cost of contracted work during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has made millions of dollars for the companies with shoddy work, abuse, and less productive results overall. One thing that is badly needed is the buyout or forced retirements of many 'elderly' or long time postal employees who are well past their retirement dates but are hanging on. -- davidmswyahoocom
FedEx actually uses the Postal Service to deliver non-overnight packages to the final destination in small towns and rural areas. Apparently they think Postal Service is pretty reliable.
If private companies were require to fund retiree benefits in the same way Postal Service is, they'd be broke too. Without that burden Postal Service makes a small profit. -- billj1
Everyone doesn't own a computer and UPS and FED EX are way to expensive. They should keep the postal service. They may not serve the public as they used to due to the internet but they are still needed, especially in winter when the snow is a foot deep. -- safmmail
The USPS could save a whole lot of money by minting one stamp per denomination, not 20 or more. They need to decide what their core business is - is it sending mail, or catering to collectors? It costs a bundle for every new stamp design from start to finish. -- SpeaknUp

About news that NHTSA won't share some sensitive Toyota information with a Republican lawmaker...

NHTSA is 100% correct, and the POST should do some basic research on the subject. Your run-of-the-mill Congressman has no greater right than you do to get confidential business information from the Government. He is treated as no different from the general public requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act.
Confidential business or financial information is not releasable, and the general public should be glad about that. Would you want your neighbor to get any confidential business or financial information that the Government happens to have about YOU or your business? No. Unless it is a Committee Chairman asking, they are treated the same as the general public. Darrell Issa knows this; it's been the law for ages. He's really just angry that he's not a committee chair, but an ordinary Congressman. -- gasmonkey
Hey, the Republicans set the rules for this when they ran the Congress and the Executive Branch. Minority members have every right to file a FOIA request. -- westomoon

Regarding a new bill to start the presidential transition sooner...

Don't the senators have enough on their plate as it is? Is office space for candidates really that important? Why can't the campaigns foot the bill? Must be a slow day, I guess. -- clanton28
Our transition process is indeed profoundly broken: it takes forever to get the 6,000 Presidential appointees in place.
The answer isn't to start earlier. The answer is to have fewer Presidential appointees. Cabinet secretaries and their immediate staff, sure. But do we really need to change 6,000 top staffers every time we get a new President?
This is cronyism run rampant. We shouldn't further institutionalize it. -- 12008N1

Regarding moves to make Capitol Hill more diverse...

More diversity hogwash. Whatever happened to hiring the most qualified, regardless of race, creed, etc? If the government concentrated more on seeing that our people could receive proper education and training, the pool of those qualified would be larger. When you artificially "equalize" anything, it just lowers the bar, resulting in poorer quality. -- Lilycat1

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 16, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
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Comments

Issue #1, Postal Service: Like said in many of the statements, one of the major contributes to the cost is retirement. Another one is the continuous changes that are made. But two major contributors are the benefits that are offered and the ability to fire or layoff employees. The benefits that are offered are one of the most expensive ones. And as far as firing an employee for stealing or looking at peoples mail or even laying people off due to the lack of funds, it's easier impeaching a president.

Issue #2, NHTSA: Congress does have the right to all information, whether it is classified or not. Congress has the power to control and regulate under Article I; Section 8. Also, it was with Congress's approval to form the NHTSA. Just for the fun of it. Congress has the authority to restrict a case from court. They may also make rules for the courts. It states it in Article III and has been done before. There has been a few cases that Congress restricted the Supreme Court from ruling on. It was made that way so that the Judicial System didn't get too much power. Remember, the three branches were designed in a way so that one wouldn't be able to dominate above the other.

Issue 3; Transition: Yes the president has many positions to fill and with Senate approval. But also, a high majority of the positions that need replaced are because of retirements. Federal judges are in for life or until they retire and US Attourney's are in only as long as the president is in office, because at the end of the president's term the next president will look at them and decide whether to keep or replace them.

Issue 4 diversity: You have seen how far behind the government is from the real world. You see the outside of D.C. is in tone with everything that happens in todays time. However, things in D.C. are 15+ years behind. That is oftenly why things that are happening now aren't being addressed, because they are still stuck on something that happened 10 years ago. Another thing that contributes to this is that over the last ten+ years it has been what your name is and how much money you have. How do you think many of our senators and representatives have stayed in office for so long. Look at the one that has been in Congress for more than 40 years. He's in a wheel chair and on oxygen and hasn't introduce a bill for more than five to ten years and the last vote that he made was the Senate Health care in late Dec. And I will bet you that he will put his name on the ballot and win again without doing any campaigning. That is another reason why we have all of these pet prodjects (pork), because they are paying back to their contributors and they know that they won't get voted out. This is why many states are puting the right to recall in their Constitution.

Posted by: mjj4677 | April 20, 2010 3:16 AM | Report abuse

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