USPS Defends Efforts on Accountability

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The U.S. Postal Service told the chairman of a congressional panel working on postal reform that the agency is moving to increase transparency and accountability for decisions involving changes to its processing and transportation network.

The USPS sent a letter July 8 to Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, in response to recommendations made in a Government Accountability Office report. That report, issued April 8, said the postal service lacked a clear plan to realign its infrastructure amid declining mail volumes and excess capacity. It also took the USPS to task for failing to communicate with stakeholders and make its planning efforts sufficiently transparent.

The GAO report had been requested by McHugh and Rep. Danny Davis, D-IL. McHugh and Davis are chairman and ranking minority member of the House Special Panel on Postal Reform & Oversight, which is involved in postal reform.

In its response, the USPS said one of its strategies is to consolidate processing functions, typically from several facilities to one centralized facility.

The agency also said it is using three criteria to evaluate realignment decisions: capacity, cost and site-specific factors.

To develop a system to inform stakeholders, the USPS said that any consolidation of mail processing functions will begin with planning at the local management level, "with input from ... stakeholders in the local business community, mailers, employees and their union representatives and local elected officials." A review occurs after any consolidation takes place, the USPS said.

As for other changes that require an investment, "we will use our existing investment processes to obtain funding approval and to track our physical infrastructure programs in the future," the USPS said.

The postal service said it is positioned to make, evaluate, communicate and review its infrastructure and network realignment decisions objectively.

"Our vision is to build a flexible network composed of core distribution and air/surface transfer centers that will enable us to keep our mail processing and transportation networks efficient while enhancing the availability of workshare participation," the USPS said. "In doing so, we will ensure that we provide the lowest combined cost to our customers."

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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