Key Notes Volume 03 Number 02

Exigent Rollback UpdateSpeaking before the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) this week the Postmaster General Megan Brennan announced that the exigency rate surcharge is scheduled to be rolled back the first week of April.  A 45-day notice will be issued in February.  This contradicts the news that the Postal Service has made a last ditch effort to stop the April postage rate rollback by filing a brief in Federal Court to require the PRC reconsider its decision to have the exigent rates end in April.  The brief was filed January 4, 2016.  If successful, the rollback in postage rates of 4.3% would be halted.  Read the full court brief here.  Source:  MAIL

Printers Remain Anxious About the Future of MailAs the printing industry marches toward Q2, there are three primary points of anxiety for print firm owners and managers for the remainder of 2016 where postal issues are concerned, believes Leo Raymond, VP of postal and member relations for the Epicomm association (formerly NAPL, NAQP, and AMSP).  The first is the question around rates.  Secondly, there continues to be ac concern over how the USPS is realigning its services.  According to Raymond, the reality is that “there is 27 percent less flat, letter mail in the system than there was a few years ago.”  Lastly, Congress is the real problem facing the Post Office and the one who can fix it.  Source: PrintingNews.com

What’s the Buzz on Newspaper Pot Ads Although the legalization of both medical and recreational use of marijuana continues to grow at the state level, the U.S. Postal Service has cautioned that ads promoting the drug or a dispensary that appear in a publication sent through the mail may violate federal law.  According to the USPS, the mailing of marijuana and the mailing of an advertisement that “advocates the purchase of clinical marijuana through a Medical Marijuana Dispensary” is unlawful.  As the number of states legalizing recreational and/or medical marijuana use continues to grow, problems have increasingly arisen with regard to the application of federal law.  Source:  Lexology

Market Dominant Price Adjustment FilingsA recent Office of the Inspector General report found opportunities exist for the USPS to improve the price adjustment process.  The Postal Service Pricing department is responsible for compiling market dominant price adjustment proposals for the five market dominant classes of mail: First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, Package Services, and Special Services.  These proposals are filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for approval.  The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), enacted in 2006, limits the price increase for each market dominant class of mail to no more than the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.  The PAEA also limits the PRC rate setting process to 45 days.  To meet this requirement, the PRC allows 20 days for public comment and 14 days for its own ruling on whether a proposed price adjustment complies with applicable laws and regulations.  The OIG recommended the executive vice president, chief marketing and sales officer, establish a documented and repeatable process to guide the preparation of price adjustment proposals and to ensure comprehensive internal reviews of price adjustment proposals were performed prior to filing with the PRC; and establish and document internal procedures for filing complex mail classification changes separately from price adjustment filings.  Source:  USPS OIG

APWU Contract Arbitration to BeginArbitration hearings for a new American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Collective Bargaining Agreement with the U.S. Postal Service will begin on Feb. 17th.  The case will be presented to a three member panel comprised of a union-appointed advocate, a management-appointed advocate, and a neutral arbitrator, who determines the outcome. Under federal law, the APWU and USPS must mutually agree on the neutral arbitrator.

Does the USPS even need a board of governors? The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors is supposed to have 11 members.  It currently has three: one governor, the postmaster-general and the deputy postmaster-general.  As Congress slogs away at postal reform legislation, one hopes it will rethink the USPS board of governors. It may determine that a board is still needed, but if so, lawmakers should define its purposes, and craft the board in a way that would give its members the ability and incentive to be successful.  Source:  R Street

Cochrane Named USPS CMOForty-one year veteran James P. Cochrane was named chief marketing and sales officer and executive vice president (CMSO) for the Postal Service.  He reports to the Postmaster General and is responsible for all domestic and international products marketing, development and management.  He is also responsible for the Postal Service Pricing, Global Business, Sales and Stamp Services organizations.  Source:  USPS