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Online Sellers, Say Hello to New Postmaster Brennan

Technically there have been five Postmasters General since the advent of online selling, but merchants are likely most familiar with the previous two: Jack Potter and Patrick Donahoe. On Sunday, Megan Brennan officially became Postmaster General of the United States, succeeding Donahoe to become the first woman PMG.

The US Postal Service issued a press release describing the key themes Brennan outlined in her first missive to employees as Postmaster General. She said she would seek to advance transformative strategies that invest in the future of the Postal Service and shape growth opportunities for the organization and the industries it serves.

“Among these strategies are better use of data and technology, speeding the pace of product and service innovations, continual process improvements throughout the organization, and fully engaging and leveraging the talents of its 600,000-employee workforce,” Brennan said.

But she, like her predecessors, has many challenges ahead, including the decline in first class mail and the agency’s obligation to prefund employee retirement health benefits.

The US Postal Service is resuming its consolidation of mail processing centers after closing 141 mail processing facilities in 2012 – 2013, and it reduced service standards for First-Class mail and has eliminated nearly all overnight letter mail delivery.

And the Postal Service has faced criticism over some of its attempts to look for revenue beyond traditional mail delivery, such as its deal to deliver Amazon’s packages on Sundays and its test of same-day delivery services. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance is opposed to what it calls “costly business ventures and private-market abuse” and has urged the USPS to return to its core mission.

Mark Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union, issued a statement on Monday calling on Brennan to take steps to strengthen the Postal Service:

“That means taking full advantage of the boom in e-commerce and expanding hours. It also means offering new services, such as postal banking, which would meet the financial needs of tens of millions of consumers and generate new revenue for the USPS.

“Sadly, the previous Postmaster General chose a path that undermined the USPS – closing post offices, slashing hours of operations, virtually eliminating overnight delivery of first-class mail, and outsourcing key functions to unqualified private companies.

“We believe the American people deserve a vibrant, public Postal Service for generations to come. We are hopeful that the new Postmaster General shares our views and will reverse the destructive policies of her predecessor. We will work with her to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead for U.S. consumers, businesses, and the nation’s postal workers.”

You can read Brennan’s letter to employees in this PDF file on the USPS website.

Update 10/16/2019: Dimondstein’s statement can now be found on this page of the APWU.org website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.