Runyon Suggests Delaying Postal Increase

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Outgoing Postmaster General Marvin Runyon said last month that before he leaves his post he may ask the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors to delay implementing the rate increases for Standard A and B mail until October.

Speaking at a quarterly Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting in Washington, Runyon said that even though he will ask the board to pass the 1-cent First Class stamp increase by July 1 -- shortly after the Postal Rate Commission makes it rate decision by May 10 -- implementation should be delayed for categories that involve software vendors so they can get their software up to speed.

Barry Brennan, director of postal affairs at the Mail Advertising Services Association, Alexandria, VA, said that previous rate increases have been implemented over time and that this increase could very well be delayed.

"The Board of Governors has discretion over how they implement the rate case," Brennan said, "and Runyon certainly said that this could be a way to go."

Software vendors seemed pleased with Runyon's speech.

"This shows that there are some positive signs that the postal service is understanding the problem of implementing software and that they are not going to be as dogmatic as they were last time around," said Paul Greene, executive director of industry relations at Pitney Bowes Software Systems, Rockland, MA.

Reasons for the USPS' possible change of mind vary, but most said it's because the USPS is finally listening to mailers.

"[The USPS] is showing signs of understanding the process of implementing software and understanding that a hasty implementation could have a negative effect upon their customers -- the mailers," Greene said.

In other news, Runyon, who is leaving his post May 15, said he has recommended a successor to the Board of Governors. Although he would not reveal the person's name, industry insiders have speculated that it most likely is someone from inside the USPS.

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