No rain or sleet de­ters postal pay pack­ages

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY JIM MCELHATTON

De­spite nearly $16 bil­lion in an­nual losses an­nounced by the U.S. Postal Ser­vice on Nov. 15, all but one of the top five ex­ec­u­tives for the na­tion’s mail ser­vice had an over­all com­pen­sa­tion in­crease this year, records show.

Un­like past years, when the Postal Ser­vice’s po­lit­i­cally ap­pointed, bi­par­ti­san board of gov­er­nors awarded ex­ec­u­tives lu­cra­tive de­ferred com­pen­sa­tion deals and in­cen­tive bonuses, this year’s com­pen­sa­tion in­creases came mostly in the form of pen­sion plan earn­ings.

Post­mas­ter Gen­eral Patrick Don­a­hoe, for in­stance, earned a base salary of $276,840, but even with­out a bonus or in­cen­tive pay­out, his over­all com­pen­sa­tion came to $512,093, com­pared with $384,229 in 2011, ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tory fil­ings.

Fu­el­ing the rise was the fact that his re­tire­ment ac­count grew by $186,536. A 37-year em­ployee of the Postal Ser­vice, Mr. Don­a­hoe was paid $4.76 per hour dur­ing his first job as a postal clerk.

Mean­while, two other ex­ec­u­tives — El­lis Burgoyne, chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer, and Mary Anne Gib­bons, gen­eral coun­sel — also re­ceived hefty in­creases in their re­tire­ment plans.

In fact, Mr. Burgoyne’s re­tire­ment plan grew by more than $270,000, bring­ing his to­tal com­pen­sa­tion to $510,505, slightly less than Mr. Don­a­hoe’s.

Com­pen­sa­tion for Joseph Cor­bett, the Postal Ser­vice’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, rose from $310,483 in 2011 to $315,841 last year, though he earned more than $330,000 in 2010.

In ad­di­tion, the Postal Ser­vice’s chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer, An­thony J. Vegi­lante, re­ceived $60,000 in re­ten­tion bonuses for fis­cal 2011 and 2012 on top of his $240,000 an­nual salary, fil­ings show. Nonethe­less, Mr. Vegi­lante’s over­all com­pen­sa­tion for 2012 dipped to $363,002, com­pared with $364,667 the pre­vi­ous year.

A sixth postal ex­ec­u­tive, act­ing Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer and Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Stephen Masse, was not sub­ject to com­pen­sa­tion re­port­ing re­quire­ments un­til this year, and he earned $222,919 over­all.

Dave Parten­heimer, a Postal Ser­vice spokesman, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion has more than a half-mil­lion work­ers and op­er­ates more than 32,000 lo­ca­tions. He said postal ex­ec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion lags com­pared with pri­vate-sec­tor cor­po­ra­tions.

“As we continue to ad­just to a chang­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, it’s im­por­tant that we re­cruit and re­tain the for­ward-think­ing lead­er­ship we need to continue to re­main vi­able,” he said. “Com­pen­sa­tion is im­por­tant to that equa­tion.”

Un­like most pri­vate com­pa­nies, how­ever, the Postal Ser­vice has bor­rowed bil­lions of dol­lars from the U.S. Trea­sury and has a le­gal mo­nop­oly over first-class mail ser­vice.

To­tal com­pen­sa­tion for top postal ex­ec­u­tives is capped at $276,840, based on a rule that ex­ec­u­tives can’t earn more than 120 per­cent of the salary of the vice pres­i­dent of the United States. But the board of gov­er­nors, which ap­proves ex­ec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion for the Postal Ser­vice, can au­tho­rize hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in de­ferred com­pen­sa­tion pay­ments.

The Wash­ing­ton Times re­ported last year, for in­stance, that re­tired Post­mas­ter Gen­eral John E. Pot­ter, now chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Metropoli­tan Wash­ing­ton Air­ports Author­ity, was still owed more than $800,000 in de­ferred com­pen­sa­tion pay­ments with pay­outs sched­uled over a decade.

In an an­nual fi­nan­cial re­port re­leased Nov. 15, the board noted that no per­for­mance awards would be paid in 2012 be­cause of the Postal Ser­vice’s “dire fi­nan­cial con­di­tion.”

“De­spite the many sig­nif­i­cant ac­com­plish­ments of postal man­age­ment dur­ing fis­cal 2012, the gov­er­nors based their de­ci­sions on com­pen­sa­tion on the fact that the Postal Ser­vice con­tin­ues to face sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial chal­lenges,” the re­port says.

Mean­while, the day’s fi­nan­cial news con­tin­ued to raise sharp ques­tions about the mail ser­vice’s long-term fu­ture.

An­nounc­ing $15.9 bil­lion in losses for fis­cal 2012, postal of­fi­cials urged Congress to pass leg­is­la­tion that would ad­dress a host of is­sues, in­clud­ing a re­quire­ment that the Postal Ser­vice pre­fund re­tiree health care ben­e­fits. That man­date alone ac­counted for about 70 per­cent of the Postal Ser­vice’s net loss for fis­cal 2012, of­fi­cials said.

J.M. EDDINS JR. / THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

Spe­cial de­liv­ery for ex­ecs: Post­mas­ter Gen­eral Patrick R. Don­a­hoe

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