USPS’s Board of Governors Doing Some Fancy Footwork on Rate Hikes

[responsive]USPSeagle[/responsive]The drama continues around possible rate hikes at the USPS. Earlier this month we wrote about the uncertainty surrounding possible spring rate hikes. (To recap, the USPS’s Board of Governors is being hamstrung by Congress, which is sitting on approval of new members that would give the Board the quorum it needs to pass any new hikes.)

Now, Dead Tree Editions (generally an excellent and reputable source on this topic) is reporting on a legal maneuver that will help the Board skirt around the Congressional roadblock, avoiding an immediate spring hike but giving them the power to raise rates later.

“With some parliamentary maneuvering, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors has apparently avoided the need to raise postage rates sooner than it wanted,” Dead Tree Editions notes. He refers to the possible rate hike the Board was considering which had to be submitted last week before they lost their quorum.

“As the board drew close to losing its quorum last week (because of — what else? — Congressional inaction) there was talk the governors were preparing rate hikes that would be announced this week and implemented in the spring. (See USPS May Seek a Rate Hike After All.) That appeared to be the last chance for the governors to raise rates until Congress got around to approving new governors.”

But that was not the end of their action, the article explains.

“While they still had a quorum, they passed a resolution naming the remaining members to a Temporary Emergency Committee that will exercise those reserved Board powers necessary for operational continuity until such time as sufficient members are available to enable a quorum of the Board to convene,” the article continues.

In other words, the USPS Board of Governors voted themselves a defacto quorum, a move which in essence means that Congress can’t prevent them (through their inaction) from increasing rates as needed. And that will likely be in a few months when the ruling comes down on whether or not the emergency rate hike of 4.3% will expired, be extended, or possibly increase.

Clearly it’s a mess on the Hill, and the lingering uncertainty and confusion leaves mailers and marketers frustrated. We haven’t heard the end of all this, and we’ll continue to monitor it. Until then, now is a great time to talk to your mailing provider and make sure you are taking every opportunity to maximize efficiencies in your mailing workflow. Even if rates don’t rise anytime soon, it’s a smart move.