The U.S. Postal Service is trimming its workforce, starting with senior executives, to save $750 million and boost efficiency.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who took over in December 2010, on Friday announced a 16 percent reduction in agency officer positions. The Postal Service also has eliminated the title of senior vice president and is consolidating the responsibilities of its top executives, he said.
"It is imperative that the Postal Service continues its evolution as a forward-thinking, fast-acting company capable of providing quality products and services for customers and a welcoming, diverse, professional workplace," Donahoe said in a statement.
According to spokeswoman Joanne Veto, USPS cut its officer positions from 44 to 37. The duplication of services across jobs led the Postal Service to combine the responsibilities of several employees under fewer officers, she said.
In a Jan. 7 letter to USPS officers, Donahoe said the changes are only the beginning of a complete restructuring of the postal workforce. Employees can expect district closures, and the agency will begin reduction-in-force and voluntary early retirement procedures this quarter, he wrote.
According to Veto, the Postal Service is taking a top-down approach, first reorganizing its executive leadership and officer corps, followed by managers and other employees. In addition, the agency is rightsizing its workforce to address declining mail volumes.
"It's really a matter of restructuring in the truest sense," said Veto. "Do we need these positions, do we need these functions, and are these functions still relevant in today's marketplace?"
The information technology department likely will see the most significant changes, she added.
The Postal Service on Friday also announced plans to shut its Southeast Area Office, located in Memphis, Tenn. The closure will affect 119 employees.
"While [the National Association of Postal Supervisors] understands the need for the Postal Service to reduce costs, we also are cognizant that the rights of our members need to be protected by ensuring compliance with provisions that govern reductions in management staffing," said NAPS President Louis Atkins. "NAPS will be working closely with both the Postal Service and all impacted employees who are subjected to the loss of their position due to restructurings and closing of facilities. NAPS will ensure that our members' rights are protected and that the changes the Postal Service will attempt to implement make sound business sense."