A Common-Sense Plan to Save the Postal Service Pt. II
It's very easy to criticize the postal service. Everyone does it, because much like congress the agency has become so dysfunctional over the years that it's made itself an easy target. But it hasn't been my intent over the past nine months to drag the postal service through the mud just for the pure joy of it. In fact, I get very little joy out of it, but postal workers are literally drowning in a cesspool of corruption and injustice that's destroying their health, well being, and their home lives. So it is imperative that every American take heed to what's going on in this government agency, because the United States Postal Service signals a pronounced change in this nation's attitude toward poor and middle-class workers.
The postal service is suffering from the very same ailment that led to the collapse of Wall Street--the bonus program that the agency embraced for its top executives in its attempt to emulate private enterprise has led to the people at the very top focusing more on their own greed than to the agency's mission, to serve the public.
Since their bonuses are based primarily on the way they look on paper, their primary motivation has been to curtail service to the public, steal wages from their employees, and cooking the books to make them reflect a totally false reality.
So as a direct result of the self-serving policies of a handful of corrupt executives, the postal service has lost the confidence of the public, lowered the morale of its employees, and since the agency's projections are based on the inaccurate data of books that are being routinely falsified on a daily basis, every year the situation gets worse. This has been going on for so many years now that the only way that management can keep its head above water is to lie, cheat, and steal just to justify the lying, cheating and stealing they did the previous year.
This situation has led to management having to live from hand-to-mouth. All of their creativity is going into their greed, and covering their collective butts, instead of trying to come up with innovative ways to address the agency's problems.
They're currently trying to find a way to lower the cost of labor, for example, but the way they're approaching the problem is by trying to grab a handful of water. In their attempt to try to say revenue, they're trumping up meaningless charges against some of their most experienced employees in an attempt to push them out the door. They're also violating their own regulations against the discrimination of employees with job-related disabilities. But most seriously, they're violating federal law by falsifying government documents to literally rob gainfully employed workers of their hard earned wages.
Even with all that, however, they're only managing to save enough revenue to get their hands wet, while most of the revenue that they'd hoped to save is dripping through their fingers. Their corrupt and shortsighted policies are causing the agency in the cost of EEO, MSPB, and grievance litigation; the loss of experienced personnel, and the costs related to poor employee morale, such as higher sick leave usage, higher accidents rates, a rise in inefficiency, and the unquantifiable cost of passive aggression.
If these executive managers were not so preoccupied with their greed and their shortsighted penchant to just get by one day at a time, someone might have considered working out a plan that would allow experienced retired managers and craft employees to come back and fill the void for half salary.
Retired employees would jump at the opportunity. Then, not only would the postal service benefit from the knowledge and expertise that's being wasted by many of these former employees in retirement, but the agency would save a tremendous amount of revenue by not having to pay any benefits. In addition, such a program would go a long way toward getting employees who are currently on the rolls to decide to retire. Many of these employees would undoubtedly come to the conclusion that by drawing their retirement then coming back to work for half of their salary would be more cost efficient than staying on the rolls--and if they worked a three or four day schedule they could enjoy the best of both worlds.
A few kinks may have to be worked out, but the net effect would resolve several of the postal service's problems with just one common-sense administrative decision.
In part III we'll be discussing how to raise productivity and employee morale.
(Correction: In last week's column we inadvertently identified former Postmaster General John E. Potter as David C. Potter. Please accept our apology for the error).