The commission is supposed to be an independent oversight panel to monitor the dealings of a postal monopoly. Instead the commission endorsed a sweetheart deal with a specific business, and betrayed long-standing customers and the public.
The commission approved a three-year negotiated service agreement (NSA) with Valassis Direct Mail, Inc., which offers potential rebates ranging from 20 percent to 34 percent for new mailings of preprinted advertising for national retailers.
Advertising from targeted national retailers is now delivered as newspaper inserts, and to nonsubscribers via the Postal Service.
The Newspaper Association of America said it would appeal the Aug. 23 decision, which was opposed by individual papers, including The Seattle Times, the commission’s own public representative and companies in the industry.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and other members of Congress were on record against the proposal. After the commission’s 4-1 vote, Cantwell was quoted as saying, “This decision does nothing to solve the Postal Service’s problems and does great harm to the newspaper industry.”
The only commissioner to vote against the plan, Tony Hammond, noted “too much evidence was presented to the Commission by the many opponents of this NSA for me to conclude that it will not cause unreasonable harm in the marketplace.”
The Postal Service needs to get its own internal financial dealings in order. Inventing cozy deals that create harm for other longtime customers is no solution.