Key Notes Volume 03 Number 06

USPS At Crossroads – Congress probably won’t produce much in the way of legislation in this election year, but one item that might well make it to President Obama’s desk is a postal reform measure.  Congress realizes the situation is dire and is coalescing around legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).  There is no question about the urgency.  The Postal Service lost $5.1 billion last year, its ninth straight year of multi-billion-dollar losses.  Since 2007, the USPS has rung up more than $51 billion in losses and used up a $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.  It delivers as many packages each year as Fed-Ex but receives half the revenues.  As James Millstein, a restructuring specialist and former Treasury Department official now looking into the Postal Service said, if the Postal Service were a private company, “it would undoubtedly be viewed as insolvent.”   Source:  The Hill

U.S. Postal Service Reports $1.3 billion Profit in First Quarter – The USPS reported an operating profit of $1.3 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2016, which ended 12/31/15.  Postmaster General Megan Brennan said in a news release: “Despite these achievements and the best efforts of our employees, our financial condition will worsen without legislative reform.”  Brennan said she was continuing to seek mailer support for making the higher emergency rates permanent instead of rolling back stamp prices in April.  A group of large mailers have said they are opposed to making the price increases permanent, dampening prospects for quick passage of the financial relief legislation that three successive postmasters general have sought from Congress.  Read the full press release here.  Source:  Linns

Congress Should Clarify Intent of U.S. Postal Service’s “Ghost Ship” Board – Congressional inaction on nominees to the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors has left the agency under the control of a Temporary Emergency Committee (TEC) for more than a year, a troubling precedent that could have wide-ranging impacts across the federal government, according to a new study from the R Street Institute.  Federal statute dictates that the Postal Service board needs a quorum of six members to exercise its authority.  But the U.S. Senate has refused to act on any of five nominations submitted by President Barack Obama to fill members’ expiring terms, leaving the board with just one governor serving alongside the postmaster general (PMG) and deputy postmaster general (DPMG).  Source:  R Street

Going Paperless Does Not Save Trees – Two Sides North America released a new study outlining key facts on why paperless initiatives do not save trees.  Their findings point to mounting evidence that loss of markets for paper and other wood products, a large portion of which are produced from wood harvested on privately-owned land, increases the risk of forest loss.  The study was conducted by Dovetail Partners, an environmental think-tank specializing in forestry research and analysis.  To read the full report please click here.  Source:  Two Sides

Gannett Explores Parcel-Delivery Business – If newspaper publishers such as Gannett are able to overcome the hurdles, they would have the advantage of both lower delivery costs and a huge network—something that could pose competition to United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. While print subscriptions have fallen in recent years, every major city neighborhood still has newspaper trucks out making early-morning deliveries, putting them close to e-commerce customers and making them a potentially attractive option for shippers.  Sources:  Postal News & WSJ

Obama Calls for Shedding 12K Postal Jobs – The U.S. Postal Service turned a profit in a financial quarter for the first time in five years.  The positive financial news did not prevent Obama from calling for the Postal Service to continue shedding jobs in his fiscal 2017 budget, along with a comprehensive overhaul of the agency’s operations. The projected 12,000 USPS job loss in 2017 falls in line with projections released by the Postal Service itself in 2012 as part of its five-year plan.  Source:  GovExec

Major Publishers Bet on Power of Print Ads with Money-Back Guarantee – Four months after The Association of Magazine Media (MPA) unveiled its Print Magazine Sales Guarantee model for the industry, interest among magazine publishers in giving clients money- or space-back propositions for print advertising effectiveness appears to be spreading.  The MPA guarantee is structured so that only advertisers of products whose sales can be tracked by syndicated research firms—and who buy a minimum of 150 GRPs within a 12-month period—can take part, ensuring verification and sufficient ad frequency.  A threshold ROI is established, and if tracking data fail to confirm that the threshold is met, the advertiser qualifies for a refund per the terms of the agreed-upon guarantee.  Source:  FOLIO