Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Senate committee advances two USPS Board of Governors nominees

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC) held a business meeting on May 7 and voted to advance the nominations of David Williams and Robert Duncan to the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors. Their nominations now proceed to the Senate floor where they will likely be considered in the coming weeks. Such nominations are often adopted by unanimous consent.

David Williams, nominated to serve until Dec. 8, 2019, has a long history of government service, having joined the Secret Service after his tour in Vietnam, and then as part of the Department of Justice Organized Crime Strike Force in the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General. Following his work on President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Organized Crime, he led the Office of Special Investigations at the General Accounting Office (since renamed the Government Accountability Office) before being confirmed as the Inspector General (IG) at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and subsequently as IG at the Social Security Administration, the Treasury, the IRS, HUD and finally at the Postal Service from 2003 until his retirement in 2016.

Robert M. (Mike) Duncan, nominated to serve until Dec. 8, 2025, is a banker and currently the chairman and CEO of Inez Deposit Bank, as well as chairman of the President’s Commission on White House Fellows. He served on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2007 to 2009.

In April, HSGAC held a hearing on their nominations where Williams called for a thorough presentation of postal finances and liabilities as well as a clearer definition of the universal service obligation (USO). Duncan echoed that sentiment on the USO as well as an increase in transparency and an examination of the USPS business model, governance structure, delivery frequency and standards, rate changes, rural service and the opioids issue.

As letter carriers know, the USPS Board of Governors consists of a nine-member panel in addition to the postmaster general and deputy postmaster general, and is comparable to a board of directors for a publicly held corporation. The Board has not been fully staffed since 2010; it has lacked a quorum since 2014 and it lost its final appointed governor in December 2016, leaving all nine positions vacant.

Of note, Calvin Tucker, the third nominee to the Board of Governors, was not included in the business meeting. It is unclear if his nomination will be advanced at a later date or removed entirely.

Two additions to the Board are a welcome start, but more are necessary if it is to achieve a quorum. There is currently no word on additional nominees for the remaining six to seven vacancies. NALC will continue to work with the Senate and the Trump administration to ensure that letter carriers’ interests are represented.

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