Postal Board of Governors Is Down to One Member

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There should be nine, but the Senate's inaction on five nominations leaves James Bilbray the last man standing.

The terms of Postal Service Governors Louis Giuliano and Ellen Williams expired yesterday, leaving James Bilbray (pictured below) as the lone outside advisor to Postmaster General Megan Brennan and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman. It also leaves Bilbray, a former congressman from Nevada, as the de facto chairman of the board.

Five board nominees passed muster in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last year, but political pressure applied by postal unions have sidetracked their approvals.“The postal unions, through Senator Bernie Sanders, have placed a hold on the nominees,” said Gene Del Polito, president of the Association for Postal Commerce. “The unions object to having at least two of the former governors from being reappointed. Until this hold is lifted, everything will stay in limbo.”

The two nominees objectionable to the unions are former Postal Board Chairmen Mickey Cochrane and James C. Miller. The remaining three are Michael Bennett, Steven Crawford, and David Shapira.

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), who chaired the HSGAC committee that vetted the proposed governors, castigated his colleagues for not acting on their nominations. “Congressional inaction represents a failure to meet part of the Senate's most basic responsibilities: to provide advice and consent on nominations in a thorough and timely manner and to provide agencies with the leadership they need to be successful,” Carper said in a statement. “This would never occur in the private sector because shareholders would demand oversight from a strong board to protect their investment. Congress has failed to protect postal customers.”

Oversight of postal operations will now be left to a temporary emergency committee set up a year ago when the board dwindled to a quorum-less membership of three. Bilbray will be the only Postal Service outsider on the committee, whose other members are Brennan and Stroman.

The Postal Service issued a statement criticizing the Senate for refusing to adhere to law stating that Postal Service operations should have oversight from a bipartisan board composed of nine members. “The role of the Governors in ensuring the Postal Service's ability to effectively achieve its statutory responsibilities is simply too important for there to be only a single Governor in office,” the statement read. “We strongly urge the Senate to confirm the five nominees who have been approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.”

The Senate last approved a postal board nominee in 2010.


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