Mailers Seek Standard Time to Implement Rate Cases

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The Mailers Council wants the U.S. Postal Service to standardize the amount of time when implementing rate increases, and its members have been discussing the issue with postal officials over the past few months.

While Bob McLean, executive director of the council, would not say what is being proposed, a newsletter from the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association reported that the council is requesting a minimum of 90 days notice. Postal officials are unwilling to go that far, MFSA said, instead offering 60 days notice because of "considerable financial pressure at the time of a rate implementation."

Since 1991, the average number of days to implement a rate case is 57, according to MFSA, and the range spans from 10 days for the R90-1 rate case in February 1991 to 180 days for the R97-1 case in January 1999.

MFSA said it supports "a minimum of 90 days notice before rate case implementation and will work closely with the Mailers Council to convince the postal service of this necessity."

McLean said a standardized implementation period is important, no matter how many days are agreed upon.

"If we know how many days we have, then we can plan the activities based on the time we have," he said.

McLean also said this is not an attempt to play for time to avoid a rate increase.

"This is simply recognizing that as the number of rate categories and classes and subclasses have expanded, the number of things required for any implementation have also expanded," he said.

McLean said the association created an ad hoc committee that has met twice with postal officials this year. The council will discuss the committee's recommendations at its July 16 meeting. If accepted by the board, the recommendations will be presented to senior postal management and the board of governors.

The Mailers Council is a coalition of corporations, nonprofit organizations and major mailing associations.

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