Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

March 24, 2012

Wrong message

Postal Service executives not making sacrifices like others

ASHLAND — The struggles of the U.S. Postal Service are well known and documented. It has affected us here at home with the closure of the main processing plant in Ashland and the shuttering of other small post offices throughout the Tri-State area.

But did you know that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe received $384,229 in compensation last year?

Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, was shocked to learn how much top postal executives make and said it is time they consider cutting their own salaries and bonuses as they move to cut mail delivery services and shutter postal plants, laying off tens of thousands of workers.

We agree. The postal executives should realize the sacrifices being made throughout the agency and willingly take some cuts of their own.

Donahoe received a base salary of $271,871 in 2011, according to a November filing by the service with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But he also made another $81,954 in pension and deferred compensation. And he benefited from $30,404 in “other” compensation, including security costs, life insurance premiums, parking and financial planning services.

All of the top officers at the U.S. Postal Service had annual base salaries topping $200,000, according to the filing. Does that seem right given the dire situation the U.S. Postal Service appears to be in today? We agree with Sen. Tester on this one. It’s not right.

“To date, not a single executive has offered to forgo bonuses or reduce his salary during this difficult time,” Tester wrote.

Meanwhile, the Postal Service has already announced plans to close more than 200 plants that could come at a cost of 32,000 jobs. The agency is trying to get out of major debt caused by declining first-class mail volumes and a congressional mandate to prefund retirement health care benefits. The service reported a $5.1 billion loss for the year ended Sept. 30.

Postal executives are sending the wrong message by continuing to accept high salaries and lucratve benefits while the postal service is drowning in red ink. Sacrifices should be shared by all.

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