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President appoints postal reform commission

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Washington--The Bush administration Wednesday announced it has formed a presidential commission to study postal reform after years of proposed legislation and intense lobbying by associations such as the Direct Marketing Association and American Business Media.

James Johnson, vice chairman of Perseus L.L.C., a private equity firm, and Harry Pearce, chairman of Hughes Electronics Corp., were named as co-chairmen of the nine-member bipartisan commission.

The DMA and ABM issued statements applauding the creation of the commission and suggested the president's backing might provide the best chance at real reform.

"The DMA looks forward to working with the new commission, the Postal Service, and others in the mailing community to achieve those near-term objectives of the Service's Transformation Plan available under current law and enactment of legislation correcting an error in the current formula for funding employee retirement, as well as addressing the need to modernize the Service's 30-plus-year-old business plan," DMA President-CEO H. Robert Wientzen said in a statement.

Gordon Hughes, ABM president-CEO, said: "For more than six years, American Business Media has contended that only a Presidential Commission would have sufficient stature and freedom from political pressures to tackle the most difficult—and important—issues facing the Postal Service. … We are very excited that this commission will at last become a reality, and we now look forward to working with a united mailing community, including the Postal Service, on the identification and implementation of meaningful reforms."

--Carol Krol

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