Cash-strapped US Postal Service cancels strategic comms agency search

The US Postal Service has brought an early end to an agency review it was conducting for wide-ranging strategic comms services. It hopes to pick up the search later this year.

WASHINGTON: The US Postal Service has cut short an agency review it was conducting for wide-ranging strategic communications assistance, according to a notice obtained by PRWeek.

The organization told interested agencies that it decided to pull the solicitation due in part to events that "will likely lead to a redefinition of our requirements," according to the emailed notice.

The message stated that the Postal Service "expects to have a clearer line of sight on any necessary adjustments to our requirements by late spring or early summer 2015." It identified hurdles like "deferred congressional action on postal reform, pending key personnel changes within our corporate communications office, and the recent board of governors' appointment of a new postmaster general."

A Postal Service spokesperson confirmed the RFP’s cancellation, but did not provide additional details.

The USPS is facing significant financial challenges after losing $5.5 billion in its 2014 fiscal year, despite growing operating revenue and a boost in its shipping and packaging business. It also said it delivered a record number of packages during the 2014 holiday season.

The organization’s leadership has pointed to prefunding requirements for retirees’ health benefits, which costs the USPS billions of dollars a year, for its pecuniary troubles.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is also planning to step down next month after a 39-year career at the USPS including four years in its top executive position. COO Megan Brennan will replace him.

The USPS was looking for a "highly qualified" agency to provide strategic comms services for its in-house team and executive leadership, including internal and external comms, social media, legislative work, and public affairs support, according to documents obtained by PRWeek. Other services would extend to corporate communications’ "subordinate organizations," such as public affairs and media relations, field communications, multimedia comms, and national events, according to the documents.

A budget was not included. The contract was expected to run for three years, with three annual renewal options.

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