Former PMG Blasts Stamp Selection Process

bailar_morison1Former Postmaster General Benjamin F. Bailar has quit the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, reports Linn’s Stamp News, saying it has becoming overly concerned with making money for the USPS and not with the significance of the stamps the U.S. issues. Bailar was a serious stamp collector before he became PMG, and remains an APS member, so this reduces the number of “real” stamp collectors on CSAC further. The Linn’s story is here.

According to the article by Linn’s Washington Correspondent Bill McAllister, Bailar’s letter to Postmaster General Patrick J. Donahoe is scathing at points.

“In my opinion the stamp program should celebrate the things that are great about the United States and serve as a medium to communicate those things to a world-wide audience. To prostitute that goal in the pursuit of possibly illusory profits does not make sense to me,” he wrote.

What’s important to remember is that Bailar isn’t a “philatelic battlefield conversion,” one of these postal stamp functionaries who, when asked if he is a stamp collector, says, “I am now.” Bailar was a stamp collector before he became Postmaster General (1975-78) and after. See the VSC radio feature with him from 2007. Read his comments at the dedication of the Gordon and Mary Morison Pavilion at the American Philatelic Center earlier that year. (The photo above was taken at that event.)

But Bailar also has solid business credentials. He’s a graduate of Harvard Business School, according to Wikipedia, and has worked for several major corporations.

One more quote from the letter, as quoted in the Linn’s article: “The idea that the stamp program can make a meaningful contribution at the Postal Service is not realistic.”

Stamp sales are a drop in the bucket of USPS revenues. They are a drop in the bucket of the USPS deficit. They do garner publicity for the USPS, but to what end? If you want to mail a birthday card to your mother, chances are you won’t use UPS or FedEx. The USPS has no competitors in U.S. mail delivery.

Bailar says membership on CSAC is no longer rewarding. Indications are he is not the only established stamp collector to quit the panel for that reason.

Bailar’s departure leaves Janet Klug, a well-known philatelist, former American Philatelic Society president, exhibit judge and columnist, as Chair of CSAC. And perhaps nominee for for Philatelic Sisyphus of The Decade.

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