Postal Panel Forms Study Groups

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WASHINGTON -- The Presidential Commission on the U.S. Postal Service announced four subcommittees at yesterday's first public meeting.

Each consists of at least three commission members and will have a chairperson.

· The business model subcommittee will assess the postal service's current government corporation business model. It will study the agency's universal service obligation, mail delivery infrastructure, current rate regulation system and pricing flexibility.

· The private sector partnership subcommittee will analyze the private sector's role in mail delivery, including negotiated service agreements, outsourcing and work-sharing.

· The technology challenges subcommittee will assess the effect of online bill payment and presentment, e-mail, electronic funds transfer and other new technologies and determine whether they will continue to erode USPS market share.

· The workforce subcommittee will examine the postal service's collective bargaining and dispute-resolution procedures and review alternative models.

· The commission also announced a Web site to make information about itself available to the public. The address is

The commission will seek public comment on how to restructure the postal service with e-mail messages due by Feb. 12.

Its next open meeting is Feb. 20 in Washington. Meetings are planned in California, Illinois and Texas, though cities and dates have not been set.

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