The Postal Service Board of Governors

The Board of Governors was established by the Postal Reorganization Act of August 12, 1970. It is comparable to a board of directors of a private corporation. The Board includes nine Governors who are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

The nine Governors select a Postmaster General, who becomes a member of the Board, and those ten select a Deputy Postmaster General, who also serves on the Board. The Postmaster General serves at the pleasure of the Governors for an indefinite term. The Deputy Postmaster General serves at the pleasure of the Governors and the Postmaster General.

Originally, Governors of the Postal Service were appointed for terms of nine years. In 1970, when the Board was established, the first nine appointments were for staggered terms of one to nine years. Subsequent appointments were made for a full nine years or, when vacancies occurred, for the remainder of the unexpired terms. However, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 changed the terms of the Governors from nine to seven years. Each Governor’s term expires on December 8 of a given year. Governors can be removed only for cause.

The Governors are chosen to represent the public interest and cannot be representatives of special interests. Not more than five of the nine may belong to the same political party.

The Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General participate with the Governors on all matters except for voting on rate or classification adjustments, adjustments to the budget of the Postal Regulatory Commission, and elections of the chairman and vice chairman of the Board. While the entire Board approves requests to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission for changes in rates and classes of mail, the Governors alone, upon receiving a recommendation from the Commission, may approve, allow under protest, reject, or modify that recommendation.

The entire Board determines the dates on which new rates and classification adjustments become effective.

The Board directs the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service, directs and controls its expenditures, reviews its practices, conducts long-range planning, and sets policies on all postal matters. The Board takes up matters such as service standards, capital investments, and facilities projects exceeding $25 million. It also approves officer compensation.

A chairman and a vice chairman organize and conduct the meetings. The Governors elect the chairman and the vice chairman from among the members of the Board. There are four standing committees: Audit and Finance, Capital Projects, Compensation and Management Resources, and Governance and Strategic Planning.

The Governors employ a full-time secretary, who serves as the primary staff assistant to the Board. The secretary is generally responsible for coordinating the resources of the Postal Service so that the Board fulfills its statutory duties in the most efficient and informed manner possible.

The Board of Governors meets on a regular basis, generally in Washington, D.C., but meetings may be scheduled in some other city where the members can see firsthand a Postal Service or large mailer’s operation.

All meetings are open to the public unless the Board specifically votes to close all or part of a meeting in line with exemptions permitted by the Government in the Sunshine Act [5 U.S.C. 552 b (b)].