U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who swept into Vancouver on Tuesday to promote a service that predates the American Revolution, said he just wants to run an agency that is fiscally sound.
But Donahoe, a 37-year veteran employee of the U.S. Postal Service and its 73rd postmaster general, has plenty of detractors, and some of them were outside the Hilton as he spoke to hundreds in the hotel’s ballroom. Charged with transforming the cash-strapped agency into a profitable enterprise, Donahoe has tightened the purse strings with hiring freezes, post office closures and a host of well-publicized, cost-cutting proposals such as eliminating the Saturday mail delivery and shutting down processing centers. He is looking for billions of dollars in savings.
“It’s an institution that’s being dismantled right before our eyes,” charged James Cook, president of the Portland-area letter carriers’ union, which represents about 1,400 mail delivery workers.
Cook attended Donahue’s talk as about 50 union members and supporters marched outside the speech venue, passing out “wanted” posters with an image of Donahoe as the postmaster spoke inside to firms that depend on the mailing industry. The fliers charged Donahoe with the “willful destruction of mail service,” among other charges.
Tight security downtown
Donahoe’s visit prompted high security measures, with Vancouver police on the scene and procedures that included a required press escort into the conference.