Board of Governors Openings Draw Attention

As informed members of the commercial mailing community are aware, the Postal Service’s Board of Governors consists of the Postmaster General, the Deputy PMG, and nine political appointees who are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The nine appointed governors serve staggered seven-year terms, and each can serve an additional holdover (or “grace”) year until a successor is seated; terms expire on December 8.  No more than five may be from the same political party, though that may not be the case temporarily because of unfilled vacancies or early departures.

This year On December 8, 2022, the terms of two governors will expire, one from each political party: Donald Moak and William Zollars.  Both had been confirmed in June 2020 to fill long-vacant seats whose terms had begun in 2015.  Though both can continue through their grace years, speculation has grown that the president might be considering possible replacements who could be confirmed before the end of the current Senate term, after which the political complexion of the chamber can be different because of the pending mid-term elections.

As reported on October 27 by Government Executive, two legislators who’ll be out of office in 2023 have expressed interest in a seat on the Board: Reps. Carolyn Maloney (NY 12th) and Brenda Lawrence (MI 14th).  Both “have reached out to postal unions and management associations soliciting support for their candidacies, according to several people involved in those discussions, and some vetting is underway.”

Maloney, now the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has emphasized her key role in the passage of the Postal Reform Act of 2022 and her efforts to increase the proportion of electric vehicles the USPS purchases.  Maloney lost a primary contest with Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY 10th) for the single seat remaining after redistricting Lawrence would also come to the position with extensive knowledge of postal operations, having worked at the Postal Service for 30 years as a distribution clerk, letter carrier, EEO investigator, and human resources manager.  Former Deputy PMG Ron Stroman is the only current Board member with prior postal experience.

Taking sides

The National Association of Postal Supervisors has already declared its support for Lawrence, favoring her experience over Maloney’s legislative contributions.  According to Government Executive,

“… multiple sources confirmed Lawrence has gone through preliminary vetting for a potential nomination.  Some stakeholders are more apprehensive about Lawrence, noting she formerly worked in human resources and therefore took adversarial positions against employees when representing management.” Of course, though both Moak and Zollars were selected by the president’s predecessor, there’s nothing inhibiting him from nominating either or both incumbents for another term.  Given their respective party affiliations, continuing their tenure also would be mean the partisan balance would be preserved.

According to the article, despite his party affiliation, Moak has been supportive of DeJoy and, though he once was president of the Air Line Pilots Association, “some observers have expressed concern over his connection to [the] orbit” of the former president.

Across the partisan aisle, Zollars, like the PMG, has experience in transportation and logistics.  Zollars led YRC Worldwide, Inc., from 1999 to 2011, a company that provided consolidation services for the USPS. Regardless, industry executives expect that neither Maloney nor Lawrence – let alone a re-appointed Moak or Zollars – will slow PMG Louis DeJoy’s relentless pursuit of higher prices.

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