Nolan: USPS Board Focused on Reform

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WASHINGTON -- The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service is working hard to keep postal reform alive even though a reform bill will not pass this year, deputy postmaster general John Nolan told a packed audience at the quarterly Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting at postal headquarters here yesterday.

The board also is "holding our feet to the fire" to ensure the agency continues to tackle a projected $1.5 billion deficit for the 2002 fiscal year and declining mail volume. Though reform was part of the postal service's transformation plan, "that does not mean transformation is dead. ...We are still working on what we can control."

The agency meets regularly with White House officials to discuss ideas in the plan, and it is going through its FY 2003 budget line by line, and any budget needs that are not part of the transformation plan "are not being funded," he said.

Also, the USPS does not expect a major rise in mail volume for the upcoming fall mailing season.

"That is the feeling we are getting from talking to people in the industry such as list brokers, envelope manufacturers, paper manufacturers and printers," Nolan said. "If we are wrong, you have to tell us that. We would be thrilled to death if you would mail more, but we are planning for a slow season."

The postal service is focusing on revenue generation and is doing everything it can to get the word out about the USPS and its services, including using its employees to sell the agency however they can.

"We need to get 744,000 people selling our services," he said. "We can't do the job solely by cutting costs. We need new revenue."

Nolan said the postal service is trying to build new business with existing customers as well as acquire new ones. He also said the agency would use direct mail more than ever to do this.

"You will see more U.S. Postal Service advertising in the mail because we believe that mail works," he said. "You won't see as much advertising on television."

The USPS will continue targeting small businesses and tell them how to use mail, Nolan said, because they often don't understand how to use it effectively or because "it has been too tough for them."

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