Postal Service runs $3.9B surplus; White House backs reforms

The Postal Service announced Tuesday that it finished fiscal 2003 with a $3.9 billion budget surplus, exceeding its projections by $300 million.

"These financial results are important to the American consumer and American businesses, for they reinforce our confidence that we can hold current stamp prices unchanged until 2006," said Richard Strasser, the Postal Service's chief financial officer, at a meeting of the Postal Board of Governors.

Strasser said the financial results were partly the result of a $2 billion cost-cutting initiative postal managers undertook early in the fiscal year. The productivity of the postal workforce in fiscal 2003 was twice that anticipated in the agency's financial plans.

The results come at a time when Congress is considering major reforms to postal operations. On Monday, President Bush met with members of the nine-member bipartisan commission created a year ago to recommend steps to overhaul the Postal Service. After the meeting, the White House urged Congress to pass postal reform legislation based on five principles:

  • Implement best practices. Ensure that the Postal Service's governing body is equipped to meet the responsibilities and objectives of an enterprise of its size and scope.
  • Transparency.
  • Ensure that important factual information on the Postal Service's product costs and performance is accurately measured and made available to the public in a timely manner.
  • Flexibility.
  • Ensure that the Postal Service's governing body and management have the authority to reduce costs, set rates, and adjust key aspects of its business in order to meet its obligations to customers in a dynamic marketplace.
  • Accountability.
  • Ensure that a Postal Service operating with greater flexibility has appropriate independent oversight to protect consumer welfare and universal mail service.
  • Self-Financing.
  • Ensure that a Postal Service operating with greater flexibility is financially self-sufficient, covering all of its obligations.
The White House did not make specific recommendations for implementing the principles.

In response to the White House statement, House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman D-Calif., Rep. John M. McHugh, R-N.Y., head of the committee's Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight, and the special panel's ranking member, Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., Monday said they would make postal reform a top priority for the second session of the 108th Congress.

"The Postal Service continues to be hampered by flagging revenue, high costs and an untenable debt load," the legislators said in a joint statement. "This crisis has been brewing for years, and it's time to act on comprehensive reform."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.