Lawmakers tout new postal reform measure as employee-friendly

Lawmakers are stepping up efforts to reform the U.S. Postal Service, with a bill they say takes good care of agency employees.

Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., on Wednesday introduced legislation that would allow USPS to realign its workforce and to relieve financial burdens related to employee benefits. Under the proposal, the Postal Service would receive a refund for the reported $6.9 billion overpayment to its Federal Employees Retirement System account. That money would pay for early retirement and voluntary separation incentives. The bill also would adjust the schedule for prepaying retiree health benefits, currently set at $5.5 billion annually.

According to lawmakers, the bill takes employee well-being into consideration. USPS would be allowed to use reduction-in-force procedures, except when prohibited by collective bargaining agreements, and would be required to develop a performance evaluation system to guide the RIF process. Employees would be able to contribute a portion of voluntary separation incentives toward Thrift Savings Plan accounts.

Postal officials have announced plans to cut 120,000 jobs by 2015 in addition to an expected job reduction of 100,000 through attrition.

"The Postal Service is not on death's doorstep, but it is facing serious financial challenges," Cummings told reporters Wednesday. "This bill tackles fundamental challenges with fundamental changes."

The legislation also would require the Postal Service to conduct a study on workforce reduction methods; create a chief innovation officer job at the agency; allow flexibility to offer new products and adjust rates; and improve efficiency in evaluating and implementing service changes.

Lynch and Cummings agreed that the bill is a response to legislation sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., scheduled for markup Wednesday afternoon. The new bill takes better care of postal employees and looks at long-term solutions, they said. Lynch earlier this year introduced a proposal that would reduce the agency's burden to fund its retirement accounts and transfer any surplus back to the agency. He will keep that measure on the table in addition to the new bill.

"Too often we put the Postal Service in somewhat of a straightjacket," Cummings said. "We need to give them the flexibility . . . to move into this era."

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

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

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

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download

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