The final MTAC meeting of 2019 occurred the week of October 28th. Many attendees were thinking this was likely the last MTAC meeting for Post-Master General™ (PMG) Megan Brennan with the recent announcement that she would be retiring. PMG Brennan will officially retire on January 31, 2020. At the same meeting, the dates for the 2020 MTAC meetings were officially announced, with the first MTAC meeting occurring during her final week of service before retiring (January 28th and 29th). So, it is possible that she may make one more final appearance at MTAC before retiring. PMG Brennan received a warm welcome from attendees at the MTAC Open Session. She has served as PMG for the past five years, which could arguably be considered the most difficult and unprecedented years of service for any PMG since the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. The financial situation of the Postal Service™ will not be resolved until some form of postal legislative reform is passed by Congress. The lack of postal reform was then combined with having no active Board of Governors for over a year. The Board of Governors just recently achieved quorum status with five seated board members. However, four Board of Governor seats remain open and a couple of recently approved Board Member terms are set to expire in the near future if they are not renewed by the Senate. Best wishes to PMG Megan Brennan in her retirement.
The Postal Service™ shared information on the preparations that have been made to ensure a successful peak holiday mailing season. The peak mailing season is going to be more compressed than normal with the Thanksgiving holiday being later than normal resulting in six fewer days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, compared to last year. Even with the shortened window, the Postal Service™ is expecting to deliver 13 billion pieces during that timeframe and is expecting the busiest mailing days to occur from December 16th to December 22nd. The Postal Service™ will significantly expand the delivery of packages on Sundays starting November 24th. They are planning to deliver up to 8 million packages each Sunday during this peak season.
The Postal Service™ reviewed the upcoming price change which will be going into effect on January 26, 2020. Overall the price increase will be 1.9% for market dominant products such as much of First Class™ , Periodicals, and Marketing Mail, but changes to specific rates can vary. So, mailers will need to determine what the increase means for their individual mailings.
The Postal Service™ reviewed the planned promotions for 2020. These proposed promotions align closely with the promotions and timelines of 2019. There will be a few modifications to the promotion incentive amounts and associated rules which the Postal Service™ will discuss in more detail with the mailing industry when they are officially approve by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The Postal Service™ also shared information on the results of completed 2019 promotions along with the status of promotions that are still in progress. The Informed Delivery promotion, once completed, is going to be the largest postal promotion to date with over a billion mail pieces already having earned the promotion discount.
MTAC also included discussions with the mailing industry on ways to improve communication around natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes. Timely communication on where mail needs to be entered when it needs to be diverted will benefit the mailing industry and help the Postal Service™ to keep the mail flowing as smoothly as possible when unexpected “events” occur.
The Postal Service™ will continue to work with the mailing industry to migrate from CAPS to the new EPS-Enterprise Payment System. It was noted at MTAC that 87% of the revenue is currently flowing through EPS which reflects 67% of the permits. The USPS will be sunsetting the legacy CAPS system with a target retirement to be announced in Q2 of 2020.
The move to Seamless Acceptance for Full Service mailers continues. The goal is to have everyone moved to Seamless by July 1, 2021. The USPS will be working with each Full Service mailer to help successfully migrate to Seamless Acceptance.