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"Citizens Against Government Waste" bash USPS(20 posts)

"Citizens Against Government Waste" bash USPSPseuZQ
Jul 8, 2003 12:23 PM
Nothing new here but thought someone might be interested:

"USPS Races Downhill and Loses Money; Postal Officials Continue to Waste Millions on Sports Sponsorships"

WASHINGTON, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today criticized the United States Postal Service (USPS) for its abysmal track record of botched marketing initiatives and mismanaged sports sponsorship expenditures. The USPS has sponsored the U.S. Cycling team since 1996, and Lance Armstrong, who came on board in 1998, is the odds-on favorite to win his fifth consecutive Tour De France. While Armstrong has a well earned reputation for athletic excellence, a February 25, 2003 uncensored, draft report by the USPS Office of Inspector General (IG) and obtained by CAGW, shows that USPS has bungled its sports sponsorship programs.

"Lance Armstrong is a champion and hero to millions of Americans. Each year, he delivers a stirring performance at the Tour De France," said CAGW Director of Special Projects Leslie K. Paige. "Unfortunately, Armstrong's top sponsor, the USPS, is going downhill fast financially and managing to lose millions on its sports sponsorships. Despite a corporate loss of $676 million in 2002, the most recent sponsorship contract with the cycling team reportedly cost the USPS more than $40 million. This does not include the costs associated with sending postal executives and their spouses on junkets to the Tour De France as they have done in the past."

The IG report reviewed expenditures of $48 million for 11 USPS sports sponsorship programs active between the years 1996 and 2002. Besides the U.S. Cycling Team, USPS sponsorships included the New York Yankees ($3.7 million), the New York Giants ($1.9 million), the Chicago Bears ($632,500), and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays ($630,500). The IG found that the USPS was unable to verify revenue claimed as a result of the sponsorships, lacked goals and objectives for 10 of the 11 reviewed, and did not track or properly use events tickets and invitations in 2001. Since 1998, according to the report, the USPS has eliminated 200 sponsorships, leaving only 5 as of October 2002.

"Postal officials routinely pedal the line that sponsorship of the cycling team raises 'brand awareness' in Europe and results in $19 million in revenue annually. Yet, they present no verifiable evidence of this and, according to the IG report, fail to quantify any impact to the bottom line with any of its sports sponsorships. International sales account for only 2.6 percent of the USPS' total revenue and anecdotal evidence suggests that the USPS' performance in the international arena is substandard. Congress, the Presidential Reform Commission, and the USPS Board of Governors ought to put the brakes on these wasteful expenditures," Paige said.

"The USPS is a government-owned monopoly and does not need to spend money on 'brand' advertising. In its current fiscal crisis, it cannot rationalize sponsorships of any kind. Postal officials simply recycle the feel-good mantra that these sponsorships boost the agency's image and make postal employees feel good. If postal officials want to retread their image, they should bow out of the sports sponsorships, redirect those revenues to improving mail delivery, reduce costly overhead, and furnish better customer service. Lance Armstrong will continue to deliver without USPS sponsorship," Paige concluded.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

SOURCE Citizens Against Government Waste
TBH: They've got a good arguement...biknben
Jul 8, 2003 12:49 PM
I know...this comes up every year around the time of the TDF. The USPS commited to sponsor the team for "x" number of years. Their financial situation got much worse after they started sponsoring the team. I suspect the anthrax related problems really hurt the USPS. My Trenton post office (where anthrax letters originated) is still working out of trailers.

I expect the USPS brass is just trying to ride out this sponsorship. Using Lance's winnings as a cover for their poor money management, enjoying it while it lasts, and doing a lot of paper shredding. I remember reading that the USPS sponsorship contract ends next year (could be wrong). I'd expect that once Lance is done winning the team will fold quickly.
"Proof"filtersweep
Jul 8, 2003 1:05 PM
How can anyone tangibly prove how much revenue is brought in by paying for the rights to name a stadium??

How do you measure the results of effective advertising?

The USPS is not entirely a monopoly. Sure, they provide the cheapest 1st class postage, but for parcels? There is competition and alternatives.
surely USPS wasted more cycling then Pentagon on Iraq nmcyclopathic
Jul 8, 2003 1:16 PM
the USPS has spent more on executive bonusesrufus
Jul 8, 2003 1:18 PM
over the past few years than they have sponsoring the cycling team, by a wide margin. something like $800 million.
I guess that stupid Anthrax scare didn't cost anything....eschelon
Jul 8, 2003 1:28 PM
to the business bottom line, nor the additional equipment and training to get machines and equipment to test, detect, and sterilize biological and chemical hazards in mail...yeah, those must have been freebies from good 'ole Dubya? Right? And let's face it, the USPS will always operate at a loss when you consider that they will deliver all mail and related goods wherever...I repeat WHEREVER in America regardless of the bottom line, regardless of demographics or location...whereby all profit driven service entities would never even think twice about doing business in an unprofitable location.
re: "Citizens Against Government Waste" bash USPSdave woof
Jul 8, 2003 1:59 PM
Contrary to popular belief, the USPS is NOT a government office. Strictly private.

People cannot seem to understand this. Changed several years ago.

Dave
USPS "strictly private?" Source please.jtolleson
Jul 8, 2003 3:10 PM
I consider myself fairly well informed and I've heard nothing of this privatization of the United States Postal Service "several years ago." We still have a postmaster general, too.

Am I out of touch or are you all wet? (or something in between...)
i think...rufus
Jul 8, 2003 4:01 PM
they're still a government organization, but they are supposed to operate entirely on their own resources. no federal money to subsidize their operations, they have to make do on their income from postage fees alone.

not like that's happening but...
I note that the maker of the strident statementjtolleson
Jul 8, 2003 7:26 PM
has not come back with a source. Saying that the USPS is "strictly private" and that those who think differently just "don't understand" really struck me as surprising.

Anyway, needing to be self-contained budget-wise is a far cry from being a private sector entity.
re: "Citizens Against Government Waste" bash USPSMikeC
Jul 8, 2003 3:16 PM
I wouldn't mind some of my tax money supporting USPS. The blue train, despite their multi-national makeup, says "America" to the rest of the world, and states that we're in the game.
re: "Citizens Against Government Waste" bash USPSrevdre
Jul 9, 2003 3:03 AM
Doug is right. They are no longer a US government agency.
From the USPS website:1983- Ended public service subsidy from federal government
Postal Service as a Federal Agencyjtolleson
Jul 9, 2003 12:03 PM
Since the poster who originally claimed that the Postal Service became "private" a couple of years ago has not come back to explain his claim, I did a little homework.

I think the issue of having a self-contained budget is being confused with whether they are an arm of the government. It is true that the postal service is no longer cross-subsidized with income tax revenues, which probably has something to do with the fact that stamp prices have increased 9-fold since I was a kid in the early 70s.

The United States Postal Service is an agency of the federal government. Its employees are federal employees who receive federal benefits and are paid on a federal pay scale.

Its operations are funded by the revenue it generates as opposed to tax dollars. Postage increases still require the approval of Congress. Its latest strategic plan was published in the Federal Register. There is, however, a current presidential commission evaluating whether it can enjoy a reasonable rate of return on its work.

It still describes itself as an arm of the federal government.
Been in a post office lately?94Nole
Jul 9, 2003 3:59 AM
The problems with the USPS is far more than a few million bucks paid to support some cyclists.

How about 1 person standing around doing nothing and 4 or 5 others standing around helping him? That's the problem. The USPS has become a social project. More and more people hired to misdirect more and more mail.

I have heard stories from people in the PO where old timers made newer workers slow down because they were making the older guys look bad by the amount of work the newer guy was getting done.
Been in a factory lately?Mel Erickson
Jul 9, 2003 6:14 AM
Sounds familiar to me. I've heard stories from people in the tire factory where old timers made newer workers slow down because they were making the older guys look bad by the amount of work the newer guy was getting done. Not defending USPS but it's certainly not limited to them. It's pretty universal.
Read Charles Bukowski's "Post Office"shamelessgearwhore
Jul 9, 2003 7:22 AM
You'll never walk into a post office and not laugh again. Still relevant after all these years.
This gets discussed every year...MXL02
Jul 9, 2003 5:59 AM
and last year, I was one of those questioning whether it was appropriate to have the USPS sponsor the team, but I have to say that the commercial they are using this year..."neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night...etc" is very stirring and I hope helps their image.
This gets discussed every year...dave woof
Jul 9, 2003 7:45 AM
Taken from the USPS website:

And, please, Mr. Turner, at least get this one straight. Postal Service operations are not tax-funded. It is self-supporting and generates revenue through the sales of postal services and products. Might I suggest to Mr. Turner that the next time he revs up his Internet search engine for a column about the U.S. Postal Service that he go first to www.usps.com to get the facts.

another snippet:

The Postal Service needs to advertise its products just as our competitors do. We don't have a monopoly on the delivery of messages and parcels. Since we are not taxpayer supported, we have to generate new revenues as any enterprise does—by advertising. No one in the business would deny that we have received exceptional bang-for-the-buck by sponsoring one of the world's most recognized athletes.

the link: http://www.usps.com/news/fyi/newhaven_response.htm

Also see this link:

http://www.usps.com/news/fyi/usnwr_response.htm

Dave

End of Line
And now, the rest of the storyMel Erickson
Jul 9, 2003 12:43 PM
The Postal Service is a different animal but it is still a government entity. Check this out from their site.
http://www.usps.com/history/his3.htm#REFORM
Postmaster General pronouncements don't change the Postal Reform Act. Yes, they operate more independently than other agencies but they're still guvment, nonetheless.
re: "Citizens Against Government Waste" bash USPSMikeDee
Jul 11, 2003 6:58 PM
These stupid public watchdog agencies (that know nothing about running a business) should realize that businesses need to advertise maintain and increase their business, and USPS sponsorship is part of advertising. How many corporations that are losing money stop advertising to save money? To do so would really put them out of business.

The statement that the USPS is a monopoly is false - witness UPS, FedEx, Airborne, etc. that compete with the post office, not to mention electronic means like email and faxes.