Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Senate holds hearing on two Postal BOG nominees

Today, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs’ Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management held a hearing to consider the nomination of Captain Lee Moak and William Zollars to be members of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors (BOG) in addition to three nominees to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Captain Moak currently serves as the CEO of the Moak Group, a consulting firm located in Washington DC and on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee. He previously served as a Marine Corps and Navy fighter pilot, a B-767 Delta Air Lines captain, and recently as a co-chair of the U.S. DOT’s Special Committee to Review the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aircraft Certification Process as well as the President and CEO of the Air Line Pilots Association.

Mr. Zollars was the former president and chief executive officer of YRC Worldwide, Inc., an American holding company of freight shipping brands. Prior to that, he was an executive at a number of other various transportation and supply chain management companies.

In their opening statements, Moak committed to ensuring USPS is able to continue its mission of providing reliable, affordable, and universal mail to the American public and committed himself to engaging all stakeholders including the incoming Postmaster General, USPS management, USPS unions, and others. Zollars stressed that he is working to build his knowledge of the Postal Service and is intent to put the agency on a sustainable path while stressing his background in the private sector as a means of achieving that goal.

During the hearing, senators questioned the nominees on a broad range of topics including: the current financial state of the agency and its long-term outlook, the role of the BOG in the USPS response to the COVID-19 pandemic, postal products and opportunities for innovation, maintaining service obligations and strong rural delivery, and the universal service obligation (USO), and the BOG’s duty to prioritize the health and safety of letter carriers and the broader postal workforce during this ongoing crisis, among others.

“Postal workers are certainly the heart of the Postal Service,” said HSGAC Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI).” They're front line workers that you see every day when you go into the Postal Service. They deliver for you every day. They check in with you. They work rain and shine, which they're famous for.  And as you know, the board's strategic and financial decisions certainly directly affect this workforce in a very tangible and very real way.” After highlighting the importance of the workforce, Peters went on to seek a commitment from both nominees in “seeking the views and ideas of postal workers as part of [Postal Service] strategic planning.”

Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford (R-OK) focused on the current financial state of the Postal Service, questioning the BOG request to Congress for financial assistance citing the increase in recent package delivery negating that need. Moak pointed to the importance of accurate numbers and predictions for the purposes of addressing the current situation so timely decisions and adjustments may be made when needed. Zollars added that stakeholders must also be engaged with when such serious plans are made.

When questioned on the 2018 White House Postal Task Force report (link to write up), Sen. Lankford lauded the report and asked the nominees if they had any opinion on any specific recommendation laid out in that document. Moak stressed that the report outlined the importance of Congressional input when it comes to future reforms. Zollars focused on the advantage that last-mile delivery brings to the Postal Service as well as what he referred to as first mile, suggesting that they ought to be leveraged even more to the agency’s benefit.

On the issue of utilization of the Postal Service during this time and in the future, Sen. Jacky Rosen’s (D-NV) questioned the nominees regarding utilization of the Postal Service at this time. “As we continue to combat COVID-19 and also prepare for a next pandemic or any other crisis we may consider, how do you think the Postal Service can use its network to innovate and aid the nation when other institutions or entities are unable to function normally, like they are now?”

Moak stressed the importance of the agency in times of crisis and the direct input from stakeholders is vital to that response. Zollars echoed previous statements on how vital USPS is to the nation and leaned on his history in the private sector on optimizing what he described as the biggest logistics network in the world.

When prompted regarding putting the Postal Service on more solid financial footing, Moak reiterated his point on the importance of engaging stakeholders in addition to USPS management and the incoming Postmaster General in order to improve the agency. Zollars agreed with that suggestion while also stressing the need for an open mind to the ideas coming from Congress.

On the issue of rural service, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) highlighted his home state of Missouri’s dependence on the Postal Service as a “critical lifeline for first-class mail and package delivery.” He went on to question the nominees on ensuring that rural communities continue to receive service as Congress considers reforms while meeting its USO.

On the issue of prioritizing worker health and safety, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) questioned both nominees. “The men and women of the postal workforce are risking their health to serve their fellow Americans, and we have to find ways to ensure that Postal Service can continue to serve the American people while keeping its workforce safe... what role does the board play in protecting the postal workforce from this deadly virus? And how will you, if confirmed, prioritize worker health and safety?”

Zollars suggested that he thought the safety of employees must be the number one priority and that without them, there is no Postal Service. Moak agreed with the sentiment and noted that by protecting workers, customers are simultaneously protected as well. He made the point the country and the agency have gone through challenges before and up to the task at hand.

Throughout the hearing, Moak emphasized his commitment to working with stakeholders and in learning more about the agency, and Zollars was particularly interested in the financials though had less to say about engaging the workforce. Both nominees will be voted on next week before advancing to the full Senate.

To watch the full hearing, click here.

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