Postmaster General Pat Donahoe spoke to NAPUS members at their national convention in Oklahoma City. He discussed the Postal Service’s current situation and talked about plans for the future. “We really need to be thinking about the future and the positive opportunities this organization has,” he said.
Despite all the negative news, the USPS is the world’s largest postal system, has a tremendous infrastructure and reaches every American every day; no one else can make that claim. The PMG insisted the agency is not going to wither and die in the next couple years. Rather, it has a great future ahead of it.
He indicated there’s a lot of competition for advertising dollars. The agency has to figure how to get direct mail back on the top line instead of being an afterthought. “We’re just going to have to keep the pressure on,” he stressed. Advertisers talk about the challenges of labor costs and uncertainty with customers. Those kinds of changes are going on all around.
The Postal Service’s package business is up 10 percent over last year and7 percent over the previous year. “At the end of FY-14,” he asserted, “we’ll have more revenue in packages than Standard Mail. Our pricing and scanning gives us the ability to make some money in a competitive area. Things are changing dramatically and we have to focus on the upside going forward.”
He urged to Postmasters to keep their chins up and focus on service, scanning and getting information to customers. “Packages are very tough, cutthroat business,” he said. “Service dependability, delivery and scanning are very important. If we stay focused, we can be in control and will be fine going forward.”
Donahoe said he will continue to press Congress; the agency’s legislative issues have to get resolved. He said it has been frustrating, especially since he thought there would have been some progress by the end of summer. He credited the Senate for passing a bill.
Legislation needs to resolve the retiree health prefunding requirement and refund the Postal Service’s FERS overpayment. The agency also needs to move from six- to five-day delivery and have more freedom in pricing and developing products. The Senate bill is reasonable because it leaves the door open to positive things.
He said it is critical for the USPS to put money aside for everyone’s health care; it does not want to shirk that responsibility. And he needs to take care of people 10, 20 and 30 years from now. “We have overfunded FERS by $11 billion,” he declared, “and the premiums have gone up the past three years. We should get the money back and a reduction in the premiums.”
Donahoe said the USPS is the bedrock for a substantial amount of what happens in our country’s economy. “I will be pressing big time on that,” he vowed. Also, new products and the ability to get into those kinds of things are going to be critical.
Standard Mail is the most direct way of getting in front of customers’ eyes. People on average receive two pieces of direct mail every day; everyone looks at their mail and marketers know that. There will be special incentives next year to encourage people to try Standard Mail. And customers like Every Door Direct Mail because it’s easy. They can go on their computers and do it themselves. It’s a great entrée for mailers who’ve never used the mail.
The PMG stressed again packages are a big, big opportunity. He claimed the agency has the best network to deliver in this eCommerce world. And a number of customers are saying they want same-day delivery. “If we want business,” he stressed, “we’ll have to be flexible, then we’ll have to be perfect from a scanning perspective. We’ve got to continue to provide excellent service and scanning.”
“We can keep this organization on good financial footing for the young people in this room,” he said. “We’re an important part of this American economy. We just have to do the right things, make the right decisions. In the meantime, keep your chins up and make sure you keep your team in the loop.”
Newly elected NAPUS National Secretary-Treasurer Mike Quinn addressed his fellow NAPUS members. He said it was a privilege and honor to stand before them as the organization’s next secretary-treasurer. He thanked everyone for their support and faith. He said NAPUS is at a crossroads, but the light is green. “By working together,” he declared, “we will determine our future.”
Quinn said he looks forward to working with all the states as they work together for the best of NAPUS. So much has changed in the past six months. POStPlan has, in some way, affected all Postmasters. “Many of you have uncertain futures,” he acknowledged. “But Postmasters are devoted, loyal and selfless. Many, after hearing about the plan, asked, ‘What about my customers?’ That is what Postmasters do: They serve the American public!”
He said he is extremely proud NAPUS leaders have accepted what has happened and are working to determine the organization’s future. Quinn was a member of the recent Budget Committee; he explained the 2013 budget was difficult to put together and there will be further challenges in 2014 and 2015.
The committee met in early August. It spent the better part of a day developing the budget, then met by telecon a week and a half later after retirement numbers became know. “We realized that percentage of membership no longer applies. We need to look at real numbers by levels and dues contributions. We crunched those numbers and our income matched our expenses. I am confident in our 2013 budget,” he told Postmasters.
He commended President Bob Rapoza, saying he is the right man for these challenging times. He told him, “I know you’ve borne a great burden these past few moths, but we’re here to support you.”
Quinn recognized Secretary-Treasurer Ruthie Cauble for serving two terms for NAPUS. “She wears her passion on her sleeve,” he declared. “NAPUS loves you and we thank you for your hard work.”
He applauded the retirees in the room, commenting they look much younger than they should and are the ones with big smiles on their faces. “I applaud you,” he said. “You are the backbone of our organization and support all of us.” He thanked PM Retired President Jack Wilkins for his advice and encouragement.
Quinn said he had attended the two days of the Executive Committee meeting at this convention and was very impressed with NAPUS’ leaders. “They have the organization in mind,” he said, “and look out for our needs and make the tough decisions we need to make.”
He vowed to provide leadership and fiscal responsibility in order to make confident decisions for the long-term future of NAPUS and Postmasters. “I will perform my NAPUS duties with the highest integrity and professionalism,” he vowed. “I look forward to the challenges ahead. We will meet those challenges head on; there is no challenge too hard.”
Before adjourning the convention, President Bob Rapoza told convention attendees, “We have our work cut out for us, but, with our dedication, we will survive. And those who retired: Don’t think about the past—help us with our future.”