Posts by a postmaster: Articles by Mark Jamison

SteveJamison Articles, News

Mark Jamison is a retired postmaster who serves as an advisor, resident guru, and regular contributor to Save the Post Office.  He can be contacted at [email protected] His posts can be read in an e-book format here. There’s more about Mark here.

Stop girdling the Post Office

Stop girdling the Post Office

By Mark Jamison In forestry the practice of tree girdling is well known. Although there are some circumstances where this can be a useful practice, in most cases the technique is used for nefarious ends. Girdling involves removing the bark ... Read More
DeJoy's Fix for the Post Office: The Wrong Time, the Wrong Plan, the Wrong Man

DeJoy’s Fix for the Post Office: The Wrong Time, the Wrong Plan, the Wrong Man

By Mark Jamison After years of being a journalistic backwater the Postal Service is all over the news. From the usual contextually vacant reports about financial losses, we shifted to meaty and sometimes sensational coverage about the removal of Blue ... Read More
Preserve the People's Post Office: Let Us Do Meaningful Postal Reform

Preserve the People’s Post Office: Let Us Do Meaningful Postal Reform

Mark Jamison It is said the Postal Service is mired in debt, that it is unsustainable, a burden to the American people. This is the position of the current postmaster general, supported by the board of governors who hired him ... Read More
Asking the wrong questions: Reflections on Amazon, the Post Office, and the Greater Good

Asking the wrong questions: Reflections on Amazon, the Post Office, and the Greater Good

MARK JAMISON “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” — Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow I haven’t written or said much about postal issues for the last couple of years.  After seven years ... Read More
Measure to Measure: Data, management, and the reliability of the mail

Measure to Measure: Data, management, and the reliability of the mail

MARK JAMISON Reliable.  It seems like a simple and straightforward word.  It conveys, if not a very specific meaning, at least a pretty concrete sense of satisfying expectations.  In some contexts, like certain forms of statistics and technical applications, reliable ... Read More
When Titans collide: UPS petitions the PRC to change USPS costing methodologies

When Titans collide: UPS petitions the PRC to change USPS costing methodologies

BY MARK JAMISON The United Parcel Service is very concerned that you might be paying too much for a postage stamp. If you’re wondering why UPS would be worried about something like that, it has to do with the way ... Read More
Epic Fail for the Postal Service: The wrong model and the wrong BOG

Epic Fail for the Postal Service: The wrong model and the wrong BOG

BY MARK JAMISON In 2001 Postmaster General Bill Henderson submitted the first blueprints for a transformation of the Postal Service into a sleeker, more efficient business entity. To justify the transformation, the rhetoric has repeated one mantra: the problem with ... Read More
Who owns the Postal Service?

Who owns the Postal Service?

BY MARK JAMISON Who owns the post office? Who is the post office designed to serve? What is the system’s ultimate function? These questions are fundamental to the future and the fate of the post office, the postal network, and ... Read More
Why Congress should not get out of the way of the Postal Service

Why Congress should not get out of the way of the Postal Service

BY MARK JAMISON News that Ron Johnson, the Tea Party favorite from Wisconsin, will be taking over as chair of the Senate committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs has caused an overwhelming sense of panic among progressives and postal ... Read More
Jamison dishes on US Postal Management’s Dysfunctional and Failing Culture

Jamison dishes on US Postal Management’s Dysfunctional and Failing Culture

Retired postmaster Mark Jamison, a regular contributor to Save the Post Office, has a great piece in Angry Bear this week.  “Over the years,” writes Jamison, “Congress has held hearings about the toxic postal work environment but they never amount ... Read More
We don’t care, we don’t have to, we’re the Postal Service

We don’t care, we don’t have to, we’re the Postal Service

MARK JAMISON It looks like the folks in L’Enfant Plaza will be the last to acknowledge what everyone else in the country already knows — customer service at the Postal Service is going way down hill, and fast. The plant consolidations ... Read More
Giving Away the Store: The Postal Service discounts the mail

Giving Away the Store: The Postal Service discounts the mail

MARK JAMISON In her book Captive Audience:  The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, Susan Crawford describes how the American public has been imprisoned by monopoly arrangements in the delivery of broadband and wireless Internet services ... Read More
The masquerade continues: Playing politics with the Postal Service's unfunded liabilities

The masquerade continues: Playing politics with the Postal Service’s unfunded liabilities

MARK JAMISON The House subcommittee on Federal Workforce, US Postal Service, & the Census held a hearing on Thursday, March 13, to receive testimony on the Postal Service’s $100 billion “unfunded liability.”  Initially the hearing was billed as another Darrell Issa ... Read More
Under same management: Some reservations about postal banking

Under same management: Some reservations about postal banking

MARK JAMISON A recent report by the USPS Office of Inspector General on offering financial services at the post office won immediate support from Senator Elizabeth Warren, and postal banking was thrust into the limelight.  A big front-page story in Huffington Post entitled “Breaking the Banks” ... Read More
Premature motion: PRC dismisses bid to view non-public Amazon docs

Premature motion: PRC dismisses bid to view non-public Amazon docs

MARK JAMISON Almost three months ago, I filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission seeking access to documents filed under seal in the docket that dealt with the Postal Service’s deal with Amazon to deliver its parcels on Sundays.  Last week, ... Read More
The Senate puts the PRC in the backseat — or maybe not even in the car

The Senate puts the PRC in the backseat — or maybe not even in the car

BY MARK JAMISON On Thursday of this past week, the Senate held the second of two hearings to mark up the postal reform bill, a.k.a. the manager’s or substitute amendment, submitted by Senators Carper and Coburn. At the first session ... Read More
Can it get much worse? The Senate tries postal reform, again

Can it get much worse? The Senate tries postal reform, again

BY MARK JAMISON The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs finally took up its postal reform bill at a markup session on Wednesday, January 29.  The new S.1486 the committee took up is significantly different from the Carper-Coburn ... Read More
The disappearing postal workforce: Counting up the losses

The disappearing postal workforce: Counting up the losses

BY MARK JAMISON On the first Friday of each month, economists, policymakers, and professionals in the finance industry wait for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to release the current jobs report.  The BLS report, which quantifies unemployment in the U.S., ... Read More
The Privatization Ruse

The Privatization Ruse

BY MARK JAMISON Accusations that the PMG’s ultimate goal is to privatize the Postal Service are apparently starting to make some of the folks at L’Enfant Plaza a little touchy. On January 17, the Washington Post ran a story about the new ... Read More
Thinking inside the PO Box

Thinking inside the PO Box

BY MARK JAMISON On January 26, postage rates are going up — about 6 percent across the board, which means a First Class stamp will go from 46 to 49 cents. But there's another rate increase going into effect on ... Read More
A New Year’s Resolution: Support the People’s Post Office

A New Year’s Resolution: Support the People’s Post Office

BY MARK JAMISON Here’s a resolution for the New Year: Support the people’s post office. That means working to preserve an essential national infrastructure and rejecting initiatives to dismantle it, like closing post offices and cutting window hours, delivering the ... Read More
Why I did it and what’s at stake: Shining the light on NSAs

Why I did it and what’s at stake: Shining the light on NSAs

BY MARK JAMISON A couple of weeks ago I filed a motion with the Postal Regulatory Commission requesting access to the documents related to the Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) on the program to deliver Amazon parcels on Sundays.  As I ... Read More
What Would JFK Do? The Yale Commencement Address

What Would JFK Do? The Yale Commencement Address

INTRODUCTION BY MARK JAMISON For the past couple of weeks, the media have focused, almost obsessively, on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, November 22 being the fiftieth anniversary of his death. I found myself wandering through some of ... Read More
The path to postal nirvana: An entitlement program for the mail industry

The path to postal nirvana: An entitlement program for the mail industry

BY MARK JAMISON The postal monopolies have been the subject of much discussion recently.  In last month’s Senate hearings, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma offered his view that the monopolies weren’t worth much anymore so the Postal Service doesn’t need ... Read More
Lady Justice turns a blind eye: The PRC dismisses the Freistatt appeal as "untimely"

Lady Justice turns a blind eye: The PRC dismisses the Freistatt appeal as “untimely”

BY MARK JAMISON “The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men.  It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of ... Read More
A few modest proposals concerning the rules on post office closures and appeals

A few modest proposals concerning the rules on post office closures and appeals

BY MARK JAMISON The Postal Regulatory Commission recently dismissed two appeals on post office closings — Freistatt, Missouri, and the Franklin Station in Somerset County, New Jersey. Both appeals were dismissed because they were filed late – in both cases, ... Read More
Shades of deception: The PMG testifies to the Senate

Shades of deception: The PMG testifies to the Senate

BY MARK JAMISON The Senate held another hearing on the Postal Service on Thursday, September 19. The hearing was titled: “Outside the Box: Reforming and Renewing the Postal Service, Part I – Maintaining Services, Reducing Costs and Increasing Revenue Through ... Read More
What we have here is a failure to communicate: Learning from Jekyll Island

What we have here is a failure to communicate: Learning from Jekyll Island

BY MARK JAMISON On September 12, we reported this story on Jekyll Island, Georgia, where the Postal Service apparently attempted to end delivery service for the island’s residents and businesses in exchange for maintaining a post office.  The island is ... Read More
Democracy rests finally upon us: Saving the Bronx General Post Office

Democracy rests finally upon us: Saving the Bronx General Post Office

On Saturday, September 21, there will be “Day of Action to Save the Post Office” in the Bronx, New York.  The event begins with an “Emergency Meeting to Save the Post Office” at 11:00 a.m. at the Lincoln Hospital Auditorium, 234 ... Read More
The Postal Service has a brand new bag: A post office or mail delivery, but not both

The Postal Service has a brand new bag: A post office or mail delivery, but not both

BY MARK JAMISON Off the Georgia coast just above the Florida border lies Jekyll Island, a popular tourist destination that boasts a beautiful beach, a historic district, and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. A couple of hundred miles up the ... Read More
The PMG has a bridge to sell: The GAO report on the Postal Service healthcare plan

The PMG has a bridge to sell: The GAO report on the Postal Service healthcare plan

BY MARK JAMISON One of the cornerstones of PMG Pat Donahoe’s plans for the Postal Service is the transfer of postal employees and retirees from the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) into a plan run by the Postal Service ... Read More
Christmas for Pat: A heartwarming tale in which everyone gets what they want — and then doesn’t

Christmas for Pat: A heartwarming tale in which everyone gets what they want — and then doesn’t

BY MARK JAMISON You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there. – Yogi Berra It’s August and Congress is on its annual five-week summer break. Despite statements by folks ... Read More
Fiasco in Freistatt: How the Post Office Became a Cluster Box

Fiasco in Freistatt: How the Post Office Became a Cluster Box

BY MARK JAMISON The Postal Service didn’t think the folks in Freistatt, Missouri, should have a post office, so they closed it. The Postal Service didn’t think the folks in Freistatt, Missouri, should get rural carrier delivery like their neighbors, ... Read More
What it’s all about: The war on workers goes to the post office

What it’s all about: The war on workers goes to the post office

BY MARK JAMISON What if the postal crisis we’ve read about over the last five years isn’t really about saving the Postal Service after all? What if the story really isn’t about an archaic Federal agency struggling to find a ... Read More
USPS: A wholly owned subsidiary of Mailers Inc.

USPS: A wholly owned subsidiary of Mailers Inc.

BY MARK JAMISON I am a card-carrying member of the DAV — Disabled American Veterans.   The organization has been a wonderful source of support over the years and does fine work on behalf of veterans. So I was disappointed to ... Read More
Betrayal without remedy: The unwinding of the Postal Service

Betrayal without remedy: The unwinding of the Postal Service

BY MARK JAMISON The United States Postal Service is not a corporation in the traditional sense of the word, but that hasn’t stopped its leadership — the folks at L’Enfant Plaza and the men and women who sit on the Board ... Read More
It's Presidents' Day: The good, the bad, and the BOG

It’s Presidents’ Day: The good, the bad, and the BOG

BY MARK JAMISON On Wednesday, February 7, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe stood before members of the press and the American people to announce that the Postal Service would end Saturday mail delivery and collections in August.  An announcement like this ... Read More
At what price profit? The battle for the soul of the Postal Service

At what price profit? The battle for the soul of the Postal Service

BY MARK JAMISON The new year has begun, and the country is still waiting for Congress to address the problems facing the Postal Service.  In the meantime, the Postmaster General blames the crisis on congressional inaction and the diversion of ... Read More
Manufacturing Emergencies: An open letter to the PRC on post office suspensions

Manufacturing Emergencies: An open letter to the PRC on post office suspensions

BY MARK JAMISON [The following letter was recently sent to the Postal Regulatory Commission and Chairman Goldway in response to issues arising from the implementation of POStPlan.] Dear Chairman Goldway, I am writing to you directly but I hope you ... Read More
How the Postal Service foundered: Parceling out the responsibility

How the Postal Service foundered: Parceling out the responsibility

BY MARK JAMISON Over the last several months the situation surrounding the fate of the Postal Service has become increasingly clear. How can that possibly be the case, when Congress has utterly failed in its efforts to pass postal reform ... Read More
Ignorance, incompetence, favoritism, bullying, and obsession: Just another day at the Post Office

Ignorance, incompetence, favoritism, bullying, and obsession: Just another day at the Post Office

BY MARK JAMISON On September 30, 2001, the management of the Postal Service published a document entitled Outline for Discussion: Concepts for Postal Transformation.  As the title suggests, this document described the terms of future discussions about what the Postal ... Read More
HuffPost talks Post Office

HuffPost talks Post Office

Huffington Post’s new streaming television station did a spot on the Postal Service yesterday, and one of the guests was Mark Jamison, former USPS postmaster and a regular contributor to Save the Post Office: ... Read More
An Open Letter to Senator Collins: It's time for a new vision of the Postal Service

An Open Letter to Senator Collins: It’s time for a new vision of the Postal Service

[A few days ago, former postmaster Mark Jamison wrote a letter to Senator Susan Collins of Maine, urging her to exert her influence in Congress to change the direction of the Postal Service before it's too late. Mr. Jamison can ... Read More
To NSA or not to NSA? The Valassis Question

To NSA or not to NSA? The Valassis Question

BY MARK JAMISON I would earnestly warn you against trying to find out the reason for and explanation of everything….  To try and find out the reason for everything is very dangerous and leads to nothing but disappointment and dissatisfaction, ... Read More
On behalf of infrastructure: Rethinking the postal environment

On behalf of infrastructure: Rethinking the postal environment

BY MARK JAMISON It's been four years since the Great Recession began to take its toll on postal revenues, and we appear no closer to a resolution to the crisis than when it first arose. Of course, if one looks ... Read More
By Default or Design: The Demise of the Postal Service

By Default or Design: The Demise of the Postal Service

BY MARK JAMISON, FORMER U.S. POSTMASTER Default. It’s an ugly and dangerous word. It gives the impression that the individual or enterprise attached to it has utterly failed. It implies defeat and irresponsibility. The news media use the word with ... Read More
"A half-vast plan": A postmaster comments on POStPlan

“A half-vast plan”: A postmaster comments on POStPlan

[Today, Postmaster Mark Jamison of Webster, North Carolina, shared these comments on POStPlan with the Postal Regulatory Commission.] July 27, 2012 Commissioners, I am not an intervener in this docket. I understand that these comments cannot become a part of ... Read More
Free the Post Office

Free the Post Office

BY MARK JAMISON The United States Postal Service has abandoned the American people.  At the direction of its Board of Governors and through the efforts of its primary officer, the Postmaster General, it has abandoned its mission of service and ... Read More
What are people — and the Post Office — for?

What are people — and the Post Office — for?

BY MARK JAMISON It’s likely that I will be the last postmaster to serve the town of Webster, North Carolina. The first postmaster, Allen Fisher, began his term in 1857, shortly after Jackson County was founded and Webster became the ... Read More
Why Postal Reform Will Fail

Why Postal Reform Will Fail

BY MARK JAMISON By any meaningful measure, whatever postal reform bill emerges from the current legislative process, it will be insufficient to staunch the flow of blood draining from the Postal Service. More likely than not, the bill will facilitate ... Read More
Satisfaction Guaranteed (not!): Redefining "service" — the Postal Way

Satisfaction Guaranteed (not!): Redefining “service” — the Postal Way

A POSTMASTER'S STORY by Mark Jamison I want to tell you a story about the state of customer service in today’s Postal Service. It’s about a solitary incident, a small incident really, but it holds a larger truth. PS Form ... Read More
"Because we said so": The unassailable logic of postal managers and their salaries

“Because we said so”: The unassailable logic of postal managers and their salaries

BY MARK JAMISON Last week Kathy Hochul, Representative of New York’s 24th district, where Buffalo stands to lose a mail processing plant employing 700 workers, made a modest proposal — legislation to limit the salaries of the Postmaster General and ... Read More
The Clock Nears Twelve: The Approach of Postal Doomsday

The Clock Nears Twelve: The Approach of Postal Doomsday

BY MARK JAMISON "These men combine to bring about as much financial stress as possible, in order to discredit the policy of government and thereby secure a reversal of that policy, so they may enjoy unmolested the fruits of their ... Read More
A post office worth preserving

A post office worth preserving

BY MARK JAMISON [Mr. Jamison serves the town of Webster in the mountains of North Carolina as its postmaster. He has written extensively on postal issues. In keeping with the USPS Administrative Support Manual, Mr. Jamison does not "speak for ... Read More
Unbinding the Nation: America and the Post Office

Unbinding the Nation: America and the Post Office

[Yesterday the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued its Advisory Opinion on the Retail Access Optimization Initiative (RAOI), the Postal Service’s plan to close 3,652 post offices.  On this Christmas Eve, Mark Jamison shares his thoughts on reading the Opinion.] THE RAOI OPINION points ... Read More
Bad News Comes in Threes: How Congress, Industry, and Management Have Made a Mess Out of Things

Bad News Comes in Threes: How Congress, Industry, and Management Have Made a Mess Out of Things

By Mark Jamison [The author is a postmaster for the USPS. In keeping with the USPS Administrative Support Manual, section 363, Mr. Jamison does not "speak for or act on behalf of the Postal Service." His comments represent his personal ... Read More
A Conflict of Visions: The Pension Dispute, Periodicals Mail, and the Great Postal Debate

A Conflict of Visions: The Pension Dispute, Periodicals Mail, and the Great Postal Debate

GUEST POST BY POSTMASTER MARK JAMISON Two competing visions are defining the great postal debate of 2011. The management of the Postal Service, along with the mainstream media and many stakeholders in the mail industry, are advancing a narrative that ... Read More
Setting the Record Straight, part one: The Postmaster Takes the National Review to School

Setting the Record Straight, part one: The Postmaster Takes the National Review to School

The Oct. 3 issue of the National Review has an article by Robert VerBruggen entitled “Dead Letter – Tough Unions, Weak Management Doom the USPS.”  The National Review Online is subscription only, so you’re spared having to read it, but if ... Read More