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USPS Is Recruiting a Firer-in-Chief

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This story has been updated with comment from USPS. 

We’ve been down this road before.

As mail volume has trended downward in recent years, the U.S. Postal Service has cut jobs. Lots of them.

In 2005, USPS employed more than 700,000 people. It now has fewer than 500,000 workers.

These reductions, postal management is always proud to note, have come through attrition rather than layoffs. USPS does not replace every employee who retires, and sometimes pays employees to leave. It has also offered incentives for employees to retire early.

The latest example of this will occur in January 2015, when USPS will separate 3,000 postmasters. While the Postal Service is offering these employees incentives to leave, it will resort to reductions in force -- government speak for layoffs -- if enough workers do not voluntarily separate.

To ease this process -- and perhaps in a sign of more such arrangements to come -- the Postal Service has posted a job opening for “RIF Administrator.”

The employee will “develop and implement policies and procedures governing the conduct of all reduction-in-force activities that take place within the Postal Service,” according to the posting.

The Lord of Layoffs will administer all RIFs, analyze organizational changes to determine if personnel actions constitute a RIF, maintain certain personnel data and develop automated systems to coordinate the process.

A well-qualified efficiency expert will have deep knowledge on federal and USPS-specific RIF regulations, a familiarity with managing large data sets and an ability to synthesize the data to describe the “impacts of organizational change initiatives.” 

Perhaps adding insult to injury, the internal position posting is open to Executive and Administrative Schedule -- read: non-union -- employees. The position is classified as EAS-23, one of the highest rankings of the 25-level pay grade, and will pay between $60,000 and $104,000 annually.  

USPS said the employee will better position the agency for future layoffs.   

“As the Postal Service’s business model continues to change, there will continue to be a need for the reduction-in-force process for the foreseeable future,” said Darlene Casey, an agency spokeswoman. “Having a dedicated, qualified individual in this position will ensure that the RIF process continues to be administered accurately and efficiently.”

(Image via Kekyalyaynen/Shutterstock.com)

Eric Katz joined Government Executive in the summer of 2012 after graduating from The George Washington University, where he studied journalism and political science. He has written for his college newspaper and an online political news website and worked in a public affairs office for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. Most recently, he worked for Financial Times, where he reported on national politics.

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