The Postmaster General Hangs Up His Mail Bag, With a Parting Shot at Congress

Amazon, booze and benefit cuts: How Patrick Donahoe tried to remake the struggling U.S. Postal Service

photo credit: TIME

When Patrick Donahoe began his job as an afternoon shift postal clerk at a Pittsburgh post office in 1975, the mail was still sorted by hand. Packages weren’t much of a priority. And email, let alone online shopping, were decades away.

“It was a dusty, dreary old place,” Donahoe says. Yet he stuck it out for nearly 40 years, rising to become postmaster general of the institution he joined as a 20-year-old student at the University of Pittsburgh making $4.76 an hour in pocket money. On Friday, Donahoe announced the end of that run. He’ll retire on Feb. 1, 2015 after four transformative and tumultuous years running the USPS.

Donahoe’s modernization efforts have had plenty of critics, many of whom have accused him of attempting to dismantle an American institution while eroding its services. Many small towns have bristled at the thought of their local post office closing. Postal unions have protested against closures of distribution plants. And what looked like cost savings to Donahoe struck many as reducing customer service to the lowest possible level at a place where it was already in short supply. Just ask anyone who’s stood in line at their own post office.

“I think Congress has been irresponsible,” Donahoe says, adding that he believes the Carper-Coburn bill is a reasonable way of fixing the postal service’s problems.

Read more: The Postmaster General Hangs Up His Mail Bag, With a Parting Shot at Congress | TIME.

13 thoughts on “The Postmaster General Hangs Up His Mail Bag, With a Parting Shot at Congress

  1. Good luck to the PMG. I think he did a great job considering what he has to work with, Most of the 400000 craft employees are not worth a damm.

  2. this is the problem with the Post Office: 491,000 employes. 95,000 on limited/lite/IOD, next we have over 100,000 po mismanagers with various made up titles and 45 Vice Presidents, that leaves you with 300,000 odd give or take union mailhandlers, clerks, letter carriers…………1 po mismanager for every 3 able bodied worker. in the private sector, depending on the industry, ratio of management to worker is 1-25 or 1-50 and because private industry pays into State Disability/Workers Compensation Funds by law they do not have 95,000 slugs hanging on the side like an anchor. mismanagement sucking up payroll and being to stupid to run a business is the problem. donehoe with 39 years in, last 4 as postmaster general….enjoy your 80% of $296,000. ps above post, have not made money in last 10 quarters….stop smoking that weed.

  3. Mr. Donahoe, If you are really upset by the position congress has put the postal service in, make a commerical letting the American people know that is is congresses fault they are losing the service.

  4. Pat said he didn’t know if he had enough gas in the tank for another 3/4 years. Some people might say he should have checked his gas gauge a few years ago…..that the indicator was banging on E back then.

  5. Well, well, didn’t we see this coming? Of course he wasn’t wrong about anything, to hear him tell it, it was all Congress. Not that Congress didn’t do its part to screw us too, they did, but to deny responsibility in the face of overwhelming evidence against his policies and a ton of criticism from every outlet he worked with, unions, Congress and the public, is a case of pure egomania out of control.
    He isn’t running out of gas – the SOB is fearing the investigation into the hacking crimes and letting them go for so long. I got a sob story letter from the USPS about the incident, portraying the Service as poor unwitting victims, just like the others whose networks were compromised. Well, with an important exception: did these other outfits like Home Depot wait 13 months to tell customers about the hackers? I doubt it.
    I think Donahoe or a nearby henchman knew and abetted the hackers for a fee, and allowed it to continue until there was no choice but to go public and act surprised. He’s getting out to protect his retirement and no doubt a huge bonus for an outstanding job, presented by his ass kissers. It’s like TV local news networks who all claim to be award winning, when they are the ones who award themselves. I hope charges are filed against him if he’s proven to know about the hacking for months and either been a part of it or let it go unimpeded deliberately.

  6. Well , Patrick , hard put to take up for Congress , but just maybe the pot calling the kettle black ? What chu think ? ?

  7. It was a dusty, dreary old place and out of it came a dusty, dreary old manager who learned how to play the game. And off he will go with the dusty, dreary bonuses he pulled out of this wrecked service, perhaps to a golden job he got from the favors he gave to Big Mailers?

  8. Seriously, “When you’ve lost 30% of your volume, you’ve got to get your head out of the sand,” the volume loss is a problem but why are we not charging a fair price for the volume we have? Or why don’t we understand that like the rest of the financial world the USPS has peaks and valley’s? Why are we hamstringing the USPS when we should become more aggressive?

    Stop giving contracts to UPs, Fedex and other out sourcing for work our own employees can and would do. Go after their business, push back, stop standing there like a tackling dummy, use our biggest advantage; delivery infrastructure.

    “We jokingly say, the Internet has giveth, and the Internet has taketh away,” Donahoe says. “We lost the bill payment world, which was very profitable for us. But the nice thing is, with e-commerce and the Internet, we’ve had the opportunity to deliver packages for companies like Amazon.”

    Sounds great, so why would you close a plant that sits on a main north/south highway, is 6-7 miles from a main east/west highway, and is 5-6 miles from an airport all of which is not in a major congested city? You wouldn’t. You don’t build a strong company without the infrastructure to handle the needs of that business now and in the future.

    The USPS is solid with a slow steady recovery like the rest of the financial world. Revenue is steady and increasing not for one or two quarters but for the past Ten quarters. If Congress would do the right thing and give the USPS the over payments to various retirement funds and stop this punitive pre-payment demand there would be no USPS financial hardship.

    • I hope Donahoe doesn’t include me in his “we”. He has nothing to do with the system except to corrupt and screw it up for financial gain. I’ll bet as a clerk he spent more time with his nose up management’s ass than sorting mail. That’s how you get ahead. Good riddance and here’s hoping you get indicted for allowing the hackers to access our computer network for 13 months before you bothered to tell anybody.

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