Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister
After 20 months with no members, the United States Postal Service Board of Governors is no longer empty as two members were confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 28.
The board, which is charged with overseeing the federal agency and setting postal rates, had been without any members because of political stalemates that effectively blocked confirmation of new board members for years. The members are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The board also includes the postmaster general and deputy postmaster general.
Two of President Donald Trump’s initial nominees for the panel broke the impasse when the nominations of Robert M. Duncan of Kentucky and David C. Williams of Illinois, the former inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service, were confirmed by voice vote.
Both were nominated by Trump on Oct. 31, 2017. Their terms could be short, however. Duncan’s term will expire Dec. 8, and Williams’ appointment will expire Dec. 8, 2019. A third nominee, Calvin Tucker of Philadelphia, withdrew his nomination.
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The two confirmations leave seven seats unfilled on the board.
That is not enough for a quorum, but should allow the two new members to sit with the emergency committee of senior postal officials who have replaced the formal board.
Trump has announced he intends to nominate Ron A. Bloom of New York for a term expiring in 2020 and Roman Martinez IV of Florida for a term ending in 2024.
“One clear consequence of the confirmation is that we can expect a usual CPI [inflation]-capped postage rate increase in late January 2019,” said the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers in announcing the confirmations.
In this Aug. 29 announcement, the alliance predicted a rate increase filing will be made in mid-October and should be “about 2.5 percent” for each class of mail.”