Although some mailers expected a decision on implementation of the rate case at last week's U.S. Postal Service board of governors meeting, the issue was left for a later meeting.
New Postmaster General Bill Henderson addressed the board for the first time and discussed the results of a Price Waterhouse study of First-Class service performance, underlined the importance of public policy issues to the USPS and introduced Clarence F. Lewis Jr., who became chief operating officer June 3.
The study found that for the third quarter, 18 cities received 95 percent or more of their First-Class mail on time, and 13 major metro areas received 92 percent or more on time.These results are similar to those for the second quarter.
Henderson credited area vice presidents for these performance levels. “We met our goals for this quarter, which some thought would be difficult to achieve,” he said.
Henderson also stressed the importance of public policy saying it is “growing increasingly more important in our business. [And], it will take the full management team and the board of governors to think through how we build a broad-based public policy that is easily understood by our major customers and the American people.” He said that positive postal initiatives designed to broaden the USPS' reach are too often misunderstood.
Henderson welcomed Lewis, his replacement as COO. A former letter carrier, Lewis previously was vice president of area operations for the Allegheny area, which includes Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, parts of New Jersey, East Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana.
He will report directly to Henderson and is responsible for the postal service's national operations, which process and deliver 630 million pieces of mail every day to 130 million addresses.
In other news, the BOG approved funding to purchase 175 next-generation sorting machines for catalogs and other nonletter-size mail.
Features include automatic feeders, online video encoding for rejected flat mail, scope for expansion and robotics handling and a greater depth of sort than existing machines.
The USPS and the Board of Governors think the new machines will allow the automation of processing for more than 3 billion flats per year.
National deployment will begin in September 1999, with completion scheduled for October 2000.