Potter Could Be Next Postmaster General, Sources Say

Jack Potter, chief operating officer at the U.S. Postal Service, is rumored to be the leading candidate for postmaster general, industry sources said yesterday.

Mail industry insiders said the Board of Governors is waiting until after congressional hearings on the USPS scheduled for today and Wednesday to make the announcement.

Members of the Board of Governors and the Postal Rate Commission, along with USPS management, including retiring postmaster general William J. Henderson, are scheduled to testify before a Senate panel at a postal oversight hearing today. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Government Reform will hold a hearing on the state of the USPS, with a panel of mailers expected to testify.

Insiders speculated that the USPS is withholding the announcement to prevent the new postmaster general from being called to testify at the hearings.

A USPS spokesman said no official announcement on the new postmaster general has been made. Previous speculation among industry insiders had placed USPS deputy postmaster general John Nolan in the lead for the job. Stephen Goldsmith, an adviser to President Bush and former Indianapolis mayor, withdrew his name from consideration earlier this month.

Potter, a 23-year veteran of the postal service, has been chief operating officer since Oct. 12. Previously, he was senior vice president of labor relations; during that tenure he led the first successful negotiations with USPS labor unions since 1987.

“[Potter] is accessible to mailers and respected by his colleagues,” said Neal Denton, executive director at the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. “I don't know anybody who wants that job. But if he wants it, he'll do a fine job.”

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