WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, embarrassed by the payment of nearly $250,000 to two executives for local household moves, Tuesday took away the postmaster general's power to grant ''relocation benefits'' to top postal officers.
Board Chairman Einar Dyhrkopp announced the policy change, saying the payments ''in this circumstance were not in the best interests of the U.S. Postal Service.''
One of the executives who received the moving money, John H. Ward, lost his job as controller and vice president for finance and is being transferred to a vice president's post in the marketing department, where he had previously worked, the Postal Service said Tuesday. The other executive granted relocation benefits, chief financial officer M. Richard Porras, earlier announced his retirement.
The decision to pay for Porras and Ward to move their households relatively short distances in Northern Virginia drew criticism from members of Congress and roiled the agency's rank-and-file employees.
The disclosure of the payments in The Washington Post April 14 also came as the Postal Service was planning billion-dollar cost-cutting efforts and seeking to raise the price of a first-class stamp by a penny in 2001.
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