WASHINGTON — Schools and libraries, churches and charities and some newspapers were hit with their second postal increase in a week today when the Postal Service Board of Governors voted to boost rates on Jan. 18.
On the heels of a Jan. 1 increase, which ranged from 23% to 41%, these mailers will have an additional rate hike of up to 11%.
The rate increase is designed to make up the $72-million difference in what the Postal Service expected to receive from Congress and what it actually got when Congress appropriated money for the Postal Service on Dec. 19.
The taxpayers make up the difference between the normal postage rates and the cheaper preferred rates ordered by Congress for mailing items such as church bulletins, charitable appeals and newspapers delivered in the county where they are published, farm and classroom publications, and mail between libraries.
George Miller, president of the Nonprofit Mailers Federation, said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles that the rate increase may be challenged in court on the ground that nonprofit mailers are already paying the full cost of sending their mail.
Once in the past, in 1981, Congress stepped in with a supplemental appropriation to roll back a postage increase for nonprofit mailers. Miller said he will urge his members to lobby Congress to get the latest increases reduced.
John McKean, chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, told reporters that the agency has "no right to expect" that Congress will continue to spend tax dollars to give reduced rates to some mailers.
Meanwhile today, McKean announced the appointment of former American Airlines chief Albert V. Casey as the nation's 67th postmaster general, replacing Paul N. Carlin--fired Monday for his inability to make key changes at the $30-billion agency.
"It is imperative that the Postal Service adopt new management approaches to ensure its continuance as a government enterprise supported solely by its own revenue," McKean said.
Served One Year
Carlin had served in the $86,200-a-year job only a year, but McKean said the nine-member board had lost confidence in his abilities to streamline Postal Service management. The board sought a major reorganization of district and regional offices, but Carlin wanted to eliminate only one level of management.
"Mr. Casey will not make that mistake," McKean said.
Casey, 65, a Harvard-trained executive who led American from 1974 losses of $49 million to a $228-million profit in 1984, said he plans to strengthen the Postal Service's ability to compete, running it even more like a private corporation--the agency's objective since the old Cabinet-level Post Office Department was reorganized in 1970.
"I welcome this opportunity to serve my government," said Casey, a Boston native who was also once president of the Times Mirror Co. and an assistant vice president of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Referring to the frequent-flyer program he pioneered at American, he joked, "Maybe we can give you two 'advantage miles' for every stamp."