The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service 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 the postmaster general, who becomes a member of the Board, and those 10 select the 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.
In 1970, when the Board was established by the Postal Reorganization Act, the governors of the Postal Service were appointed for terms of nine years. The first nine appointments were for staggered terms of one to nine years. Subsequent appointments were made for the full nine years. On December 20, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, P.L. 109-435, which changed the terms of subsequently appointed governors from nine to seven years. The Act also added some professional qualifications for the governors. The governors are chosen to represent the public interest generally and cannot be representatives of special interests. Not more than five of the nine may belong to the same political party. They shall be chosen solely on the basis of their experience in the field of public service, law or accounting or on their demonstrated ability in managing organizations or corporations (in either the public or private sector) of substantial size, except that at least four of the governors shall be chosen solely on the basis of their demonstrated ability in managing organizations or corporations (in either the public or private sector) that employ at least 50,000 employees.
Appointments are made when vacancies occur or for the remainder of unexpired terms. Each governor’s term expires on December 8 of a given year. Governors may continue to serve following expiration of their term or until a successor is appointed but not for more than one year. No person may serve more than two terms as a governor.
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.
To organize and conduct their meetings, a chairman and a vice chairman are elected from among the members of the Board. The governors elect the chairman and the vice chairman. Mickey D. Barnett is the chairman, and the vice chairman is James H. Bilbray. There are three committees: Audit and Finance; Governance, Regulatory and Strategic Planning; and Compensation and Management Resources.
The governors employ a full-time corporate 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. Julie S. Moore is the secretary of the Board.
The Board of Governors meets on a regular basis. Meeting locations are generally in Washington, D.C., but 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. 552b(b)].
Each governor receives $300 per day for not more than 42 days of meetings each year and travel expenses, in addition to an annual salary of $30,000. Four vacancies exist on the Board.