Brennan Takes the Helm at USPS

Today Megan Brennan (above) begins her first full day in the office where, for the past four years, Pat Donahoe dug into the dirty business that was largely ignored by his predecessor, John Potter. Donahoe introduced the network rationalization plan that cut more than 200 mail process facilities, hundreds of Post Offices, and thousands of jobs. But much, much more remains on the plate of the new Postmaster General.

Among the issues demanding the attention of the 53-year-old Brennan will be speeding the passage of postal reform in a new Congress pre-occupied with more pressing issues like tax reform and immigration. For the Postal Service to grow, something must be done about the Postal Service’s pre-funding requirement for retiree health benefits. It has defaulted on the last three payments and has maxed out its $15 billion borrowing limit.

Also on the horizon for Brennan is the development of new business opportunities (such as the shipping and package focus initiated by Donahoe), replacing an outdated truck fleet, and negotiating new union contracts.

In a letter sent to Postal Service employees today, Brennan asserted that the pace of change will intensify in the coming years and that she intends to depend on strategies that will strengthen core offerings. She pledged to meet customers’ digital and mobile expectations with more pilot projects and investments in technological tools and training for the workforce.

Decrying the Donahoe Administration’s decreases in facilities, jobs, and service standards, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein today issued a statement calling on Brennan to hold the line on operations.

“We call on her to take steps to strengthen the Postal Service,” Dimondstein said. “That means taking full advantage of the boom in e-commerce and expanding hours. It also means offering new services, such as postal banking. We hope the new Postmaster General will reverse the destructive policies of her predecessor.”

It’s not likely that Brennan’s administration will be much of a departure from Donahoe’s, however. She was a member of Donahoe’s hand-picked senior management team. Like Donahoe a decades-long veteran of the Postal Service who started at the bottom in a Post Office in Pennsylvania, Brennan served under him since the ’90s when he was the postmaster in Lancaster. Brennan rose to become VP of Eastern Area Operations before being named COO of USPS in 2010.

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