Public Comment

Mr. Potter and the Postal Service

By Allen Sanford
Wednesday February 25, 2009 - 07:59:00 PM

A few days ago I heard on the radio that Postmaster John Potter was justifying his $800,000 bonus by saying that he gets paid less than most of the C.E.O.s in the country. 

When Mr. Potter comes before Congress, I hope our Representative Barbara Lee points out to him that he is the only C.E.O. in the country that presides over a monopoly. A monopoly that distributes a product that is paid for in advance. A product that is costing the public more every year and they have no input regarding the matter. 

Also remind Mr. Potter that he does less than most C.E.O.s because his business is managed by machines. Take the machines and the prepaid mail away and the Postal Service would not exist. Managers in the Postal Service, at the lower levels are just biding time until the hammer falls. When the public realizes that Mr. Potter and the other postal officials have eliminated all of the full time clerks and carriers, he will be forced to eliminate more managers. Those managers will be the people that were convinced to give up their bargaining unit jobs for jobs in management, in other words, the junior managers will be let go of first. 

If Potter were the C.E.O. of any other company and he lost money for 25 consecutive years, he would have been unemployed long ago. 

Congress should put Mr. Potter and the other postal officials, along with the people who wish to be managers, on the same contract with the postal equipment manufacturers and the mass mailers. Give them three years. If Mr. Potter and the gang can’t show that a profit can be made from the processing and distribution of prepaid mail, terminate the contract and get some new managers. 

The Postal Service derives its primary revenue from the precessing and distribution of prepaid mail. The majority of this mail comes from public institutions such as schools, churches, the utility companies and from the various government agencies. 

The contracts are perpetual and increase as the population increases. The Postal Service does not pay taxes or buy the equipment that is used to process the mail. If they do buy it the the equipment manufacturer is committing income tax evasion. 

Mass mailers must have the same equipment or there would not be any mail flow. If they get it from the Postal Service, and they pay for it, once again we have income tax evasion. 

Let us suppose that Mr. Potter and the boys do make a profit one day. Who gets it? They do. Or it will go to their retirement plan. 

The Postal Service is a service. A public service. The concept of making a profit only came about when Postal Officials, mass mailers and equipment manufacturers, reolized that they could get people to buy into the idea. Now, with the “Forever Stamp,” the public has been even further removed from the decision-making process regarding rate increases. 

As postal rates increase the elderly and the disabled will be disproportionately affected. Mr. Potter could care less as long as he and the rest of his buddies continue to get their bonuses and cost of living increases at the public expense. 

The Postal Service is a criminal enterprise. Were it not for the Hatch Act Amendments, postal officials, equipment manufactures, and the mass mailers would be under indictment for violating the RECO statute which deals with racketeering. 


Berkeley resident Allen Sanford is a retired postal worker and union representative, and was the first maintenance craft director for the American Postal Workers Union, Oakland Local.