chapter 1
compliance with statutory policies
Previous Page page 1 of 108 Next Page


     In 1976 the Postal Service™ filed its first annual Comprehensive Statement. That was done in accordance with some changes to the original 1970 law, 39 U.S.C., that mandated that a comprehensive statement must accompany submission to Congress of the annual Postal Service budget and specified the contents of such statement. Now codified as 39 U.S.C. 2401 (e), the law requires that the comprehensive statement explain and address: (1) the plans, policies, and procedures designed to comply with the statutory mission of the Postal Service; (2) postal operations generally, including data on service standards, mail volume, productivity, trends in postal operations, and analyses of the impact of internal and external factors upon the Postal Service; (3) financial information relating to expenditures made and obligations incurred; and (4) other matters necessary to ensure that Congress is "fully and currently consulted and informed on postal operations."

     Unlike the Annual Report of the Postal Service, which has been published since 1789 and which focuses primarily on Postal Service finances, the Comprehensive Statement provides a summary of the initiatives, accomplishments, and challenges faced by the Postal Service the previous year. In short, it is the history of that particular year. To obtain a quick and succinct snapshot of how the Postal Service has changed over time, what policy decisions directed that change, and what influenced those policy decisions, one would first read all the Comprehensive Statements published since 1976.

     The format of the documents has remained consistent. Chapter I deals with statutory requirements and details how the Postal Service met those requirements for the year addressed. Chapter II reviews operational changes, including automation and technological improvements, and explains current products, and services. Chapter III provides an overview of Postal Service finances for the preceding year, and Chapter IV is devoted to strategic planning, administrative, and management issues.

     As the Postal Service addresses calls for greater public transparency to meet the needs of policymakers and stakeholders, it recommends a thorough reading of the 2003 Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations.

A. Fundamental Service to the People

1. General

     Despite considerable challenges in 2003, including a difficult economy that contributed to a mail volume decline of some 600 million pieces, the Postal Service's continued focus on Transformation Plan activities resulted in significant success in service performance, customer satisfaction, cost management, and other key areas. Major milestones this year included legislation adjusting the Postal Service's payments to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the Postal Service Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003 [Public Law 108-18], and the report of the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service.

     Expansion of the postal delivery network continued with the addition of 1.9 million new addresses in 2003 even as the Postal Service enacted strong cost-cutting initiatives, including the reduction of 54 million workhours, and still achieved record levels of performance in all measured service categories. In fact, during the second quarter, which coincided with widespread, extreme winter weather conditions, independently measured on-time overnight First-Class Mail delivery reached a new high of 95 percent — a level that was matched in the following two quarters. Customer Satisfaction Measurement, also independently measured, held at a record 93 percent during the first three quarters and jumped to 94 percent for the fourth quarter.

     A focused program of cost management contributed to an unprecedented fourth consecutive year of growth in total factor productivity. Career employment was reduced to approximately 729,000 positions through attrition, the lowest since 1994. This

Chapter 1
Compliance with Statutory Policies Introduction
  1. Fundamental Service to the People
  2. The Workforce
  3. Service to Small or Rural Communities
  4. Postal Cost Apportionment and Postal Ratemaking Developments
  5. Transportation Policies
  6. Postal Service Facilities, Equipment, and Supplies
Chapter 2 Postal Operations

Chapter 3 Financial Highlights

Chapter 4 2003 Performance Report and Preliminary 2005 Annual Performance Plan