On December 8, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman James Bilbray served his final day. The board is now without any independent governors for the first time since the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 created the governing body, which operates much like a corporate board providing strategic direction to the Postal Service.
While Postmaster General Megan Brennan and Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman serve on the Board of Governors, the board is also made up of nine independent governors appointed by the president and approved by the Senate.
The board has not always been fully staffed, but it has never fallen to zero governors. For the past year, Chairman Bilbray was the only independent governor. The Board of Governors can delegate many things to the Postmaster General, but, by law, only the presidentially appointed governors can conduct certain actions. These include:
- Appointment, compensation, term of service, and removal of the Postmaster General.
- Set compensation of the deputy postmaster general.
- Authorization of rate and fee changes for market dominant postal products.
- Establishment of rates and classes for competitive postal products.
- Authorization of a request to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to add, remove, or reclassify products.
- Authorization of a notice to the PRC of substantive changes to product descriptions in the Mail Classification Schedule.
- Appointment and removal of the inspector general.
- Transmission of the OIG’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress.
- Selection of a firm to conduct required USPS financial audits.
As our recent white paper on the governance of the Postal Service noted, the Board of Governors’ statutory role is to provide independent strategic guidance to the Postal Service while ensuring that it fulfills its mission to the American people. In addition, the Constitution requires that executive branch entities, including the Postal Service, be run by presidential appointees. We believe that together, these factors demonstrate the need for a strong, independent board with a diversity of knowledge and experience.