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COMMITTEE ON POST OFFICE AND CIVIL SERVICE

GALE W. MCGEE, Wyoming, Chairman
JENNINGS RANDOLPH, West Virginia HIRAM L. FONG, Hawaii
QUENTIN N. BURDICK, North Dakota TED STEVENS, Alaska
ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina HENRY BELLMON, Oklahoma
FRANK E. MOSS, Utah

ROBERT J. DOLE, Kansas
ROD CROWLIE, Staff Director
CLYDE S. DuPont, Minority Counsel

(II)

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Mr. McGEE, from the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service,

submitted the following

REPORT

(Pursuant to S. Res. 61, 93d Cong., first sess.)

The following report is submitted by the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service in compliance with Senate Resolution 61, which authorized the Committee to "conduct open public hearings into the conduct of the Postal Service . . . [and to] undertake such other investigation into the Postal Service . . . as determined by the Committee." This report covers the last nine months of 1973 and January 1974. Senator Robert J. Dole wishes it noted that he was not a Member of the Committee during the period of this investigation.

THE COMMITTEE'S INVESTIGATION

The Postal Reorganization Act, signed into law in August of 1970, was intended to win for the U.S. Post Office what former Postmaster General Lawrence F. O'Brien called a "race with catastrophe". The Act grew out of the report of the President's Commission on Postal Organization, the Kappel Commission, which, in June, 1968, stated flatly that “the United States Post Office faces a crisis,” and among its major recommendations urged that [the Post Office] should take immediate steps to improve the quality and kinds of service offered". It was the Commission's view that the Nation should not be asked to run the risk of a breakdown in its postal service; far from it, the Commission said that postal management “should not only upgrade the reliability of day-to-day mail delivery to both urban and rural areas, but should also turn its attention to the unfilled needs of the public for additional postal service”.

Former Postmaster General Winton Blount, perhaps the most forceful advocate of postal reform through the application of modern business methods, testified before the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee in June, 1969, in behalf of the postal reorganization bill. He said, “The prime objective of the new Postal Service

will be to see that today's levels of service are not only continued, but, where possible, are improved to meet the Nation's growing postal needs."

As for subsidies as a financial cushion to prevent cuts in service, Mr. Blount appeared to disdain them. In response to a question from the Chairman of the Senate Committee in October, 1969, he said, “Of course, if the Congress decides they want to continue to limp along with the Post Office Department as it is presently constituted and provide the subsidies that you refer to, that is the prerogative of the Congress. It is our view that unless we give this Post Office modern management ... we are going to come to a point in time when it is not going to be able to handle it.”

In February, 1973, two years and four months after the enactment of the wide-ranging Postal Reorganization Act, abolishing the Postal Service's role as a Federal Department, taking away the Congressional rate-making function, establishing a Board of Governors to direct the new postal establishment, and endowing the Postmaster with unprecedented new powers and authority, the Postal Service was in serious trouble. If the Nation was not then plunged into the postal crisis predicted by the Kappel Commission in 1969, it nevertheless faced a serious general failure of the system. Citizens' coinplaints poured at an unprecedented rate into Congressional offices; business men complained of lost documents and agreements wrecked by late deliveries; 3,475 sacks of mail were laid by, unworked in Charleston, West Virginia ; train loads of massed immobile mail were reported in Philadelphia ; and mail trucks were said to be jammed up and unworkable in the New York truck terminal. Service nationwide was slow and unpredictable. The goals of the President's Commission clearly had not even been approached; and neither then nor now has there been anything like a victory in the race with catastrophe. Senate Resolution 61

The Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee, aware that the present postal administration had taken unusual steps to reduce its operating costs by cutting service, was also nonetheless cognizant of the charter, written into law, under which the Postal Service was enjoined to operate: “The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, education, literary, and business correspondence of the people. ... The costs of establishing and maintaining the Postal Service shall not be apportioned to impair the overall value of such service to the people.”

On February 8, 1973, the Senate considered and agreed to Senate Resolution 61 introduced by the Chairman of the Post Office and Civil Service Committee. The Resolution, among other things, authorized the Committee to conduct open public hearings into the conduct of the Postal Service and to undertake a thorough investigation of why service was so bad and what could be done to improve it. The Resolution, in part, provides as follows: Whereas the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service in

carrying out its responsibilities to the Senate did in 1970
recommend the enactment of legislation relating to the
organization of the United States Postal Service; and

Whereas the postal policy of the United States as enacted in

the Postal Reorganization Act in 1970 was established as follows: " 101. Postal policy

"(a) The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress, and supported by the people. The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities. The costs of establishing and maintaining the Postal Service shall not be apportioned to impair the overall value of such service to the people.

“(b) The Postal Service shall provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas, communities, and small towns where post offices are not self-sustaining. No small post office shall be closed solely for operating at a deficit, it being the specific intent of the Congress that effective postal services be insured to residents of both urban and rural communities.

"(c) As an employer, the Postal Service shall achieve and maintain compensation for its officers and employees comparable to the rates and types of compensation paid in the private sector of the economy of the United States. It shall place particular emphasis upon opportunities for career advancements of all officers and employees and the achievement of worthwhile and satisfying careers in the service of the United States.

"(d) Postal rates shall be established to apportion the costs of all postal operations to all users of the mail on a fair and

equitable basis. “(e) In determining all policies for postal services, the Postal Service shall give the highest consideration to the requirement for the most expeditious collection, transportation, and delivery of important letter mail.

“(f) In selecting modes of transportation, the Postal Service shall give highest consideration to the prompt and economical delivery of all mail and shall make a fair and equitable distribution of mail business to carriers providing similar modes of transportation services to the Postal Service. Modern methods of transporting mail by containerization and programs designed to achieve overnight transportation to the destination of important letter mail to all parts of the Nation shall be a primary goal of postal operations.

"(g) In planning and building new postal facilities, the Postal Service shall emphasize the need for facilities and equipment designed to create desirable working con

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ditions for its officers and employees, a maximum degree
of convenience for efficient postal services, proper access
to existing and future air and surface transportation

facilities, and control of costs to the Postal Service”; and
Whereas it is the duty of the Congress to exercise its over-

sight and investigations authority to insure that the public
policy shall be faithfully executed by the President
through the executive branch: Therefore be it

Resolved, That the Committee on Post Office and Civil
Service shall conduct open public hearings into the conduct
of the Postal Service:

That the committee shall undertake such other investigations into the Postal Service, including, but not limited to, on-the-spot investigations of postal facilities and installations without advance notice; interviews on and off the record with postal officials, administrators, and employees; investigation of official documents and statistics of postal services relating to volume, revenue, costs, levels of service, employment, and other matters as determined by the committee; and such other matters as the committee may deem necessary.

Sec. 2. The committee shall report its finding, including recommendations for legislation, not later than August 31,

1973. On February 9, 1973, the Committee Chairman wrote to Postmaster General Elmer T. Klassen about the Resolution.

There is no necessity, as I'm sure you understand, for the Committee or the Senate to adopt a resolution authorizing an investigation of any executive agency; that authority is inherent in our constitutional power. But because of the prevalent and increasingly unfavorable attitude of many Members of Congress from both parties, I thought adoption of a formal resolution would set a proper stage for a thorough review of what has happened since August 14, 1970.

Our success will depend in large measure upon our attitude and the degree of cooperation the Committee receives from officers and employees of the Postal Service. More than anything else, I want to avoid any symbol of a partisan fishing expedition to prove preconceived notions. As one of the authors of the Postal Reorganization ict, I have pride in that effort and I have no intention of joining anyone in destructive criticism of the Postal Service. I wish only to determine the success of the program, and, in the event evidence substantiates allegations of poor service, to recommend courses of action which will lead to better postal service. I am confident that you and I agree on that objective.

I Management Meeting

The Postmaster General offered the Committee his full cooperation. Responding to a rising tide of public criticism and perhaps to the imminence of the Committee's investigation, he convened in Washington in February a meeting of Postal Service's 85 District Man

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