President Bush Names Commission to Explore USPS' Mission

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President Bush signed an executive order today creating an independent commission to develop solutions to the fiscal difficulties confronting the U.S. Postal Service.

The commission will be tasked with tackling the postal service's primary challenge -- dealing with added costs from increasing delivery addresses in a time of declining mail volume, said Peter Fisher, Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance. Inaction, and saddling taxpayers and ratepayers with the cost of meeting that challenge, will be the only outcomes beyond the commission's consideration.

"The nation cannot afford a postal crisis," said postmaster general John E. Potter, who joined Fisher at the press conference. "The mail is just too important to the health of our nation."

James Johnson, vice chairman of merchant banking and private equity firm Perseus LLC and former chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae, and Harry Pearce, chairman of Hughes Electronics, will co-chair the commission. Other members of the nine-member panel include: Dionel Aviles, president of Aviles Engineering; Don Cogman, chairman of CC Investments; Carolyn Gallagher, former president and CEO of Texwood Furniture; Richard Levin, president of Yale University; Norman Seabrook, president of the New York Corrections Officers' Benevolent Association; Robert Walker, chairman and CEO of Wexler Group; and Joseph Wright, president and CEO of PanAmSat.

The commission will follow one appointed last month to look into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Led by former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, that 10-member group has 18 months to probe the intelligence and security flaws that allowed the attacks to occur.

President Johnson appointed the last postal commission in 1968. Its findings formed the basis for the Postal Reform Act of 1970.

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