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PRC Chief: USPS is Not Using Opportunities

DENVER — George Omas, acting chairman of the Postal Rate Commission, told a group of nonprofit mailers yesterday that the U.S. Postal Service could improve its performance even without the passage of postal reform.

“The postal service has the ability to make substantial improvements, even if no new legislation is enacted,” he told the group at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers and printer Fry Communications Inc. The meeting was part of the National Postal Forum.

Omas said the USPS has several pricing and discount options available under current law but simply has not used them.

“Ten years ago, the Postal Rate Commission implemented rules that make it easy for the service to market-test new products on an experimental basis,” he said. “[But] those rules, in 10 years, have only been used once, for [a USPS program called] Mailing Online.”

Omas said that in the past the USPS proposed several mini-classification cases that essentially created national service agreements that allow mailers to receive volume discounts. The PRC promptly approved them, he said.

“My question is, why haven't more of these kind of programs [been implemented]?” he asked. “The law does not limit postal service innovations — inertia is what limits the postal service's ability for innovation.”

Several USPS executives were in attendance, though none commented on Omas' ideas.

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