Former Indianapolis Mayor Next PMG?

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Postal insiders are betting that former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, an adviser to President Bush on government reform issues, is the leading candidate to become the next postmaster general.

Goldsmith, who is also a lawyer at the firm Baker and Daniels in Indianapolis, is best known for privatizing nearly 70 public services in Indianapolis and for downsizing city government.

Goldsmith could not be reached for comment, and his level of interest in the job is unclear. The postal service offered no comment as well.

But postal watchers say he is definitely a possible choice.

"I've heard his name a few times and heard it fairly consistently for a while," said Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association. "That doesn't mean that anything is going to happen, but it's not a name that pops up and then goes away."

Insiders also said Goldsmith is known as an intelligent and ambitious innovator. While mayor of Indianapolis, he was named Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine. Perhaps most importantly, he would have the ear of the president.

Current postmaster general William Henderson, a 29-year postal veteran who has been in the top job for three years, will leave his post next month. Henderson's retirement comes in the middle of a fiscal year in which the postal service is projecting a financial shortfall of up to $3 billion.

Over the past few months, the USPS has repeatedly promoted reform, stating that the 30-year-old statutory model that governs the postal service must be changed to protect universal service at affordable rates. A major part of reform proposals involves privatizing part of the postal service.

Other possible choices are agency insiders such as deputy postmaster general John Nolan; chief operating officer Jack Potter; and John Kelly, president of the USPS expedited package services division.

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