August 16, 1991
Once again, the U.S. Postal Service finds itself in a fiscal bind not of its own making. It is running a $1.6 billion deficit due to the manipulations of Congress and an ill-advised decision by the commission that sets postal rates.Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank wanted to bring the agency's $48 billion budget into balance through a 30-cent rate for first-class mail and lesser increases for other categories. But he was rebuffed by the independent Postal Rate Commission, which devised its own plan -- 29 cents for first-class and a whopping 25 percent hike in third-class bulk mail.
February 14, 1992
There's something about donating food that makes it an enormously effective form of charity. Perhaps it speaks to a basic human need to share one's larder, or perhaps it's simply easier than other forms of giving. Whatever the reason, this week's Postal Service campaign for area food banks is a stunning success.In just two days, area residents left 375,000 pounds of canned, boxed, bottled and plastic wrapped foodstuffs near their mailboxes. Neighborhood letter carriers, the critical link in this chain of caring, are hauling donations back to their post offices where they are boxed and trucked to the Maryland Food Bank.
January 29, 1991
Even the postmaster general is laughing at the ludicrous decision by the Postal Rate Commission to impose a new first-class postage rate on Feb. 3 of 29 cents, instead of the requested 30 cents. It is bad enough that postal costs rise so quickly that prices must be hiked every few years. But to settle on the odd-ball figure of 29 cents simply creates a new irritant for the American consumer.Why 29 cents? As Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank noted, all it will do is prove a boon for the copper mines, since billions of pennies will be needed to provide change when customers purchase their stamps.
April 20, 1994
What's going on here? Why is the largest group of business postal users linking arms with the postmaster general in support of a 3-cent increase in first-class mail? Why would businesses that stand to see their postal costs rise 10 or 15 percent cheer the decision to approve this higher rate?And why is the postmaster patting himself on the back for this 32-cent proposal?Because the situation could be a lot worse. The requested increase (it still must be adopted by the independent Postal Rate Commission)
February 6, 1992
Anthony Frank soon will leave his job as postmaster general after having brought the world's largest company, kicking and screaming, into the era of automation. He did his job well, but the United States Postal Service remains mired in excessive red tape and too many customer complaints. Everyone, it seems, has a grudge against the post office.Yet given the assignment, Mr. Frank and his army of 750,000 workers do amazingly well. Every day, they must sort and deliver 525 million letters to 118 million mail boxes.
May 27, 1992
During his four years as chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Marvin T. Runyon Jr. earned the nickname "Carvin' Marvin" for hacking away at the federally owned electric utility's vast bureaucracy. By the time he was finished, 14,000 of TVA's 35,000 workers had been discharged. Now that the 70-year-old Mr. Runyon has been named postmaster general, does the same fate await the U.S. Postal Service?Mr. Runyon may not be the postal hatchet man that some fear. For one thing, the groundwork has already been laid for a gradual downsizing of the huge postal bureaucracy (work force: 750,000)