Those that have carefully read some recent Postal Regulatory Commission decisions will recognize that who President Obama appoints to replace Commissioner Blair could have a major impact on how the Postal Regulatory Commission opinions and the Postal Regulatory Commission's recommendations to Congress on changes to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
Right now the Postal Regulatory Commissioner's are as follows:
|Current Commissioners||Term Expiration Date|
|Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway (D)||Nov, 22, 2014|
|Vice Chairman Mark Acton (R)||Oct, 14, 2010|
|Commissioner Dan G. Blair (R)||Oct, 14, 2012|
|Commissioner Nanci E. Langley (D)||Nov, 22, 2012|
|Commissioner Tony Hammond (R)||Oct, 14, 2010|
Vice Chairman Mark Acton was reappointed by President Obama in May for a term that would end in 2016. If the Senate does not act by October 13, 2011, that seat on the Commission becomes vacant until he is confirmed or until another nominee is confirmed.
Commissioner Tony Hammond has announce that he will leave his seat by the end of his term in October. Robert Taub was nominated by President Obama to fill that seat. His nomination is waiting both hearings in the Senate and Senate Confirmation. If no action is taken by October 13, 2011, then that seat remains vacant until he is confirmed or another appointee is confirmed.
Commission Dan Blair will depart on June 30,2011. Unless Robert Taub is confirmed quickly to fill Commissioner Blair's seat, so that both Tony Hammond and Robert Taub serve concurrently, the Postal Regulatory Commission will drop to four Commissioners on July 1. Commissioner Blair's resignation opens up a Democratic seat on the Commission, so his replacement, (or the replacement of Tony Hammond if Robert Taub is confirmed soon, will be a Democrat.
The opening of a seat on the Postal Regulatory Commission gives President Obama to pick a non-traditional nominee. President Obama and his advisers should look at the choices that President Carter when he made three appointments to the Interstate Commerce Commission in the late 1970's that transformed the agency in order to modernize trucking and rail regulation as a model for the PRC.
These nominees were:
- Darius Gaskins, a Phd Economists with a specialty in transportation who prior to being named Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission was the Director, Office of Economic Analysis, Civil Aeronautics Board, under Alfred Kahn and Director, and director of the Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission;
- Marcus Alexis, Chairman of the Economics Department of Northwestern University, whose research areas included management strategy and urban economics; and
- Thomas Trantum, a Wall street transportation financial Analyst with H.C. Wainwright & Co who worked with Arthur Laffer to convince United Airlines to become the first airline to support Airline Deregulation.
Clearly, given the problems facing the Postal Service, the postal market would be well served in the next PRC appointee is a person who has a background similar to the three Carter appointees to the Interstate Commerce Commission. Just as they brought a fresh, policy-focused, perspective to the question to transportation law and regulation, the next appointee to the Postal Regulatory Commission must to do the same to postal law and regulation. The survival of the postal ecosystem in 2020 and beyond depends on it.