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Senator Tester is ‘going after the high salaries of top Postal Service executives’

Tester takes lead in reforming Postal Service
Senator introduces measures to protect rural post offices, cut executive pay

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

U.S. SENATE) – As the Senate works to reform the U.S. Postal Service, Senator Jon Tester is introducing multiple measures to protect rural post offices in Montana and clamp down on the salaries of the organization’s top employees.

Tester, Montana’s only member of the committee that oversees the Postal Service, is pushing an amendment (online HERE) that blocks the Postal Service from closing any rural post offices for at least two years. After the two-year moratorium, the Postal Service could only close rural post offices if it meets certain requirements, such as verifying that another post office is within 10 miles and that seniors and people with disabilities will be able to receive service similar to what they currently receive.

“The folks in charge of the Postal Service just don’t understand how shutting down rural post offices hurts rural communities and the people and businesses who live and work there, ” Tester said. “Putting a hold on rural post office closures and holding the Postal Service’s top leaders accountable will protect rural America, and make sure the Postal Service isn’t making irresponsible decisions.”

Tester also introduced an amendment with Senator Al Franken from Minnesota (online HERE) that allows the Postal Regulatory Commission to overturn any Postal Service decision to close a post office if the Postal Service does not meet criteria. The Postal Regulatory Commission is an independent agency with oversight over the Postal Service.

Tester is also going after the high salaries of top Postal Service executives. Tester introduced a provision (online HERE) to cut the Postmaster General’s base salary by at least one-third. The Postmaster General makes about $400,000 per year in salary and benefits. Tester is also seeking to cut the pay of other Postal Service executives and deny bonuses.

“The Postal Service is public service,” Tester said. “And there’s no reason folks at the Postal Service should be making more than the Defense Secretary–especially if they’re turning to rural communities for cuts.”

The Senate is considering the 21st Century Postal Service Act this week. The legislation is aimed at reforming the Postal Service as it struggles with financial troubles. Many of the problems are based on a 2006 law that required the Postal Service to prepay retirement benefits of postal employees at a rate higher than necessary.

The Postal Service has proposed closing or consolidating post offices and mail processing facilities around the country. At Tester’s request, the Postal Service delayed plans to close up to 85 post offices and processing facilities in Montana to give Congress time to pass a solution.

Tester last week got the Postal Service to delay closing any of Montana’s mail processing facilities during the state’s upcoming primary election season.

Tester also spoke on the Senate floor today about his amendments to the postal reform bill. Tester’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below. Video is available online HERE.

##

Floor Remarks
U.S. Senator Jon Tester
April 18, 2012

PREPARED FOR DELIVERY.

Thank you Mr. President. I rise today to discuss the Postal Reform bill.

The Postal Service keeps rural America connected. It helps Montana seniors receive everyday necessities like medicines. It allows small businesses to conduct business. It even makes sure our election ballots get counted on time.

That’s why this reform bill matters to folks across rural America.

First, I thank my colleagues on the committee for their hard work on the substitute amendment to the Postal Reform bill.

I want them to know how much I appreciate their efforts to work across the aisle and with my colleagues and me to address several of our concerns with the bill.

This bill has come a long way from the version that I opposed in committee.

But there is still work to be done to make sure it works for rural America.

I have been working for several months on some changes, such as preserving the requirement for overnight delivery and providing better protection for rural communities that could lose their post offices.

But we need to go further to find more ways to keep rural post offices open.

That is why Senator Franken and Senator Levin and I have introduced an amendment to prevent the Postal Service from closing a post office if it leaves rural communities without sufficient access to postal services, from buying stamps to regular mail service.

Our amendment gives the Postal Regulatory Commission more teeth in being able to reject the Postal Service’s efforts to close post offices and mail processing facilities if the Postal Service does not follow the criteria laid out in the bill.

Mr. President, the postmaster general is seeking to close thirty seven hundred post offices and over two hundred mail processing facilities.

This bill will result in the reduction of another one hundred thousand postal employees. It will re-write the rules of workers compensation across the entire federal government.

In short, it will change the lives of many, many people – to say nothing of the millions of Americans who will be impacted by a change in mail service.

So in my mind, it is critical that the upper management at the Postal Service and the Board of Governors lead by example.

That is why I am offering an amendment to reduce the number of governors on the Postal Board of Governors from nine to seven.

The Board is currently not at capacity, and it should be encouraged to work with the six governors who presently sit on the Board.

Governors receive compensation for expenses and a stipend of $30,000 per year, with total possible compensation up to $42,600. This may seem like small savings.

However, reducing up to $80,000 a year by cutting two positions could save three post offices in my state: In Dupuyer, Wyola, and Coffee Creek.

We need to make sure everyone is tightening their belts, not just folks who depend on mail service and the employees who will be forced into retirement or laid-off over the next few years.

My final amendment limits the six most senior postal executives – including the Postmaster General – to a base salary of not more than $200,000. That’s what a cabinet secretary makes.

I know some folks think the Postal Service should be a private enterprise and that the pay of postal executives should reflect that.

But the reality is, the Postal Service is a public service. It’s right there in the Constitution that the Congress has the power to establish Post Offices. You can’t get much more public than that.

Again, the savings from this amendment may seem like a drop in the bucket, but saving just $200,000 a year in reduced executive compensation is the same savings you would get from the closure of the mail processing centers in Helena, my state’s capital, and Havre, an important town in north-central Montana.

To me, the choice is simple. If the Postal Service is out of money and painful cuts have to be made, they need to be felt up at the top just as much as at the bottom.

I hope we get the chance to consider these amendments. They are relevant to the bill.

This is a debate that is long overdue. It’s time to have a serious debate in the Senate about what we want the Postal Service to look like.

That is why I voted to begin the debate on a bill that I cannot support yet.

I want to get to the point where we have a bill that is going to save the Postal Service, not lead to its dismantling.

So let’s have the debate. Let’s look at amendments and start voting.

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

18 Responses to Senator Tester is ‘going after the high salaries of top Postal Service executives’

  1. Pingback: Senator Tester is ‘going after the high salaries of top Postal Service executives’ | Postal Employee Network - intelisent Postal Affairs Blog

  2. carlos p

    April 21, 2012 at 1:23 am

    i fully support prop 1789 to cut executive salaries and bonuses which have been no more thsn legalized theft by management as a postal worker you have my support and have hit the nail on the head

  3. uspsgal

    April 22, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Thank you Senator Tester, as a hardworking dedicated Letter Carrier for over 24 years, someone needs to step up and take this ‘bullsh*#” by the horns. The Postal Service could survive if it we’re for these bloodsucking creatures at the top, that have no clue as to what it really takes to run this organization. They invoke ‘bullying’ techniques trying to make a buck on the backs of thousands of employees that truly want to make a difference. They literally lie, cheat and steal the life right out of us. There is a reason they say ‘going postal’, it is a genuine feeling from the constant harrassment on a daily basis to MEET their numbers. I only wish they could do my job for one day (believe me they couldn’t).

  4. Jimmy Harrison

    April 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Sen. Tester

    It’s about time some one started at the top to rid the postal service of these blood sucking so called managers who know absolutly nothing about the post office.
    While your at it you might look at article 28( i think it is) of the constitation which says that the( congress, senant shall make no law that doesn’t apply to every one) so when you look at taking benefits from the letter carries, then you better look at taking some benefits away from the congrees, and senant.

  5. jelaine donovan

    April 25, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Senator Tester, wish you were in my district. You would get my vote.

  6. jelaine donovan

    April 25, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Has anyone ever calculated how much “free” postage these senators and congressmen receive? Maybe paying for their postage would help the USPS.

  7. uspsgal

    April 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I been a carrier for 23 years, you and I are the only ones paying 1st class fees. The amount of bulk rate, not for profit, and business class, is just staggering. Some of these mailers pay pennies to have billions of pieces delivered directly to the customers front door. The Postal Service provides huge discounts to these mailers to encourage business. The letter carriers are forced to carry more mail than ever on their backs at the direction of these idiots. If they charged a fair and reasonable rate to these organizations we would clearly be turning a profit. However, our current management team accuse the carriers, clerks and mail handlers that we are not pulling our weight! No, we are not pulling our weight, we are pulling yours!

  8. debbie ealinger

    May 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    i work for postal service. i am a rural carrier and i have never worked for a company that takes money from employees and just keep requiring more from us for less money. the big dogs at the top are the ones that need to be brought down to doing without not those of us who do the work. wish i could make the money soe of these supervisors and station managers make and leave when they want, play golf when they want and god knows what else and usually done on the clock. alot of things that the po does is a joke and very costley. its no wonder we are loosing money. need to check out the big dogs and start cleaning house with them like the cars companies and banks where done. 800thousand to pay a [postmaster general is a joke and also the fact he is on the board of fedex. sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

  9. debbie ealinger

    May 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    i work for postal service. i am a rural carrier and i have never worked for a company that takes money from employees and just keep requiring more from us for less money. the big dogs at the top are the ones that need to be brought down to doing without not those of us who do the work. wish i could make the money some of these supervisors and station managers make and leave when they want, play golf when they want and god knows what else and usually done on the clock. alot of things that the po does is a joke and very costley. its no wonder we are loosing money. need to check out the big dogs and start cleaning house with them like the cars companies and banks where done. 800thousand to pay a [postmaster general is a joke and also the fact he is on the board of fedex. sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

  10. JC Copeland

    October 14, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Senator Tester, I truly believe if you were able to show the total annual saleries of the top USPS employees (EVERYONE above a postmaster) you would find where the deficit arises from. Not Email, nor USP (who uses USPS) nor from the funds paid (in advance) for the USPS retirement system, nor from the rediculous requirement of the Federal Government to dictate business practices within the USPS (They were supposed to cut the USPS loose when Nixon was in office). The USPS should not be in the business of fleet vehicle management, nor should they be in the business of redundant mail distribution centers (Austin, TX). What established the USPS should continue and. if you calculate the cost of the enormous layers of administration between the rursal postmaster and the postmaster general, you could to a service to the customer – oh, what a concept.

  11. YES WE CAN

    November 10, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Thank you Senator, I do believe your job will be fun to see where really go USPS moneys because they have too much vacations, bonuses and are overpaid when others hard workers can’t pay their rent or mortgage.

  12. Alicia D.

    November 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I applaud you Mr. Tester. You are going where someone should have gone long ago and maybe the PO would still be as we have all known it. There is no cirteria set for being in management other than the PO couldn’t get you to do the job you were hired to do so they gave you a supervisors position so you would be doing something for 8 hrs. From there you were just picked because you were a favorite of someones. The hide the ones whos jobs are in jeopardy, because they LIKE THEM and put the ones “injured on the job” out of work on the National Reassessment Program process even though we were doing a job NECESSRY to the organization. This now creates a class action and more money to have to pay out than if we were working. The ADA was violated and they don’t care because once again they are making those BIG ENORMOUS salaries doing nothing. See them in COURT!!!

  13. haha

    December 4, 2012 at 10:13 am

    well its about time this is only the begining and Alicia you got that right about how they put people up for a supervisor. Need togo after the 204′s also and the lazy people that just shows up and spends time on thier phone or plasying domimoes or cards all day.

  14. Greg

    December 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    And there is no money available to give the City Carriers a pay raise in their contract. But plenty of money for the big dogs at the Elephant Plaza.

  15. Anrew

    December 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    will this happen i think not ! to many politicians involved greasy palms notheing changes carriers are always the bottom tho we are the ones that deliver

  16. Dorothy

    January 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

    i say pass a bill to get rid of PAEA which was nothing more than a power grab by Republicans to break the Post Office and so that some of their elitists could grab on to the private side.

    We are guaranteed a postal service in our Constitution which is a helluva lot more important than the idiots screaming about their blessed Second Amendment..

    The money loss in the last years can be traced back to a single, artificial restriction forced onto the Post Office by the Republican-led Congress in 2006.

    At the very end of that year, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). Under PAEA, USPS was forced to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span” — meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something “that no other government or private corporation is required to do.”

    As consumer advocate Ralph Nader noted, if PAEA was never enacted, USPS would actually be facing a $1.5 billion surplus today.

    It seems to me if the American People are not constantly monitoring Congress or any Republican faction we are in for takeovers. Perhaps they need some monologues over Hitler and others thrown in their faces.

  17. Walter Robinson

    January 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Dorothy – you’re not very intelligent nor do you understand politics. PAEA was written and birthed and PASSED by both republicans and democrats. As a matter of fact PAEA was passed by voice vote so nobody, including you, would know who exactly voted yes on the bill.

    2nd amendment rights are much bigger then you and much more important than your liberal thoughts or ideas. The vast MAJORITY of citizens feel their 2nd amendment rights are one of their most IMPORTANT rights – and, feel that without those rights the only ones having guns would be crooks, law breakers, thieves, illegals, etc etc.

    You are correct in that PAEA is killing USPS – but you are WRONG in thinking that only republicans are responsible for the bill…your precious democrats are just as responsible and guilty…if they were not, wouldn’t “your” president and his demo majority have gotten rid of the bill? Yes, they would…but oh no…they don’t want to do that because they enjoy spending that money on nanny tit suckers.

    You mention Hitler….man, are you correct on that one…with our current potus and demo majority and left wing liberal idiots that is exactly where we’re headed…socialism or communism or something extremely close to it.

    Those that are BLINDINGLY following democrat leads, left wing media, idiot liberals are leading this great nation into nothing more than a third world order.

    Keep voting for your liberal democrat friends and leaders wathc your childrens country disappear before their eyes. Ignorance is wildly abundant among the left.

    Of course unions want you to vote for whatever candidate they can BUY with YOUR unions dues – its always been that way. But, why not think of this nations future and how in the hell we’re going to keep paying for the things your democrat friends are giving away to those that won’t work – to third world nations, etc.

    Yes, many republicans in office are well off and many don’t love USPS – but mostly they’re against unions BUYING political votes and YOU should be too. Unions should fight with employers for YOUR rights – NOT with our government for ‘their’ desires.

    Your democratic leaders are just as guilty as republican leaders for not supporting USPS and its employees…if they were not then PAEA would no longer a law. But no, you still have PAEA and now your have to pay for Obamacare as well. Check your payroll deductions.

  18. balaam

    August 23, 2013 at 5:37 am

    USPS wants to cut customer service jobs, like rural post offices that serve the customer while adding high paying district office jobs that serve no useful purpose other than to waste the services revenue, it is more important to postal management to have people driving around all day trying to catch people doing something wrong.intimination and harassment which slows production and cost the postal service revenue in sick leave usage, workers comp claims and overtime. it would appear than postal service management is determined to waste money this way. 500 million dollars a year could be saved by closing district offices which serve no useful purpose.

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