*Coughlin: No Clue When New Postal Rates Will Begin

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WASHINGTON -- Deputy postmaster general Michael S. Coughlin told delegates at the DMA Government Affairs conference here May 14 that he doesn't know when new postal rates will be implemented and hinted that he may be ready to retire.

Coughlin did say there are four criteria that the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors will consider when making its decision on the rate case: Readiness, in terms of how long it will take software vendors to develop new computer programs, which are required because of classification changes; readiness, in terms of internal USPS operations and its ability to handle the technological changes; timing, since the USPS' heavy holiday season starts soon and "where we are financially."

As for when the new rates will begin, Coughlin didn't offer any answers. When asked for specifics, he replied, "I don't really know enough about them yet." Coughlin said a decision may come at the board's June meeting.

Lastly, when asked about his future plans, Coughlin said he is, "thinking about retirement," but he wants to stay on board to be sure the transition is smooth for newly appointed PMG William J. Henderson.

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