United States Postmaster General
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|United States Postmaster General|
Seal of the former Post Office Department
|United States Postal Service|
|Seat||475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, D.C.|
|Appointer||Board of Governors|
|Term length||No fixed term|
|First holder||Benjamin Franklin|
Appointed members of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service select the postmaster general and deputy postmaster general, who then join the board.
The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Continental Congress as the first postmaster general in 1775 serving just over 15 months. Franklin had previously served as deputy postmaster for the British colonies of North America since 1753.
Until 1971, the postmaster general was the head of the Post Office Department (or simply "Post Office" until the 1820s). During that era, the postmaster general was appointed by the president of the United States, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. From 1829 to 1971, the postmaster general was a member of the president's Cabinet. After the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act and prior to the passage of the Hatch Act of 1939, the postmaster general was in charge of the governing party's patronage and was a powerful position which held much influence within the party, as in the case of Franklin D. Roosevelts' postmaster general James Farley . After the spoils system was reformed the postmaster general position remained a Cabinet post, and it was often given to a new president's campaign manager or other key political supporter, as in the cases of Arthur Summerfield, W. Marvin Watson, and Larry O'Brien (all of whom played key roles organizing the Presidential campaigns of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, respectively), and was considered something of a sinecure.
In 1971, the Post Office Department was re-organized into the United States Postal Service, an independent agency of the executive branch. Therefore, the postmaster general is no longer a member of the Cabinet and is no longer in the line of presidential succession. The postmaster general is now appointed by nine "governors", appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. The governors, along with the postmaster general and the deputy postmaster general, constitute the full Postal Service Board of Governors.
The postmaster general is the second-highest paid U.S. government official, based on publicly available salary information, after the president of the United States.
Postmasters general under the Continental Congress
|Benjamin Franklin||July 26, 1775|
|Richard Bache||November 7, 1776|
|Ebenezer Hazard||January 28, 1782|
Postmasters general over the U.S. Post Office Department, 1789–1971
As non-Cabinet department, 1789–1829
|Name||State of residence||Date appointed||President(s) served under|
|Samuel Osgood Federalist||Massachusetts||September 26, 1789||Washington|
|Timothy Pickering Federalist||Pennsylvania||August 12, 1791||Washington|
|Joseph Habersham Independent||Georgia||February 25, 1795||Washington, Adams, Jefferson|
|Gideon Granger Democratic-Republican Party||Connecticut||November 28, 1801||Jefferson, Madison|
|Return J. Meigs, Jr. Democratic-Republican Party||Ohio||March 17, 1814||Madison, Monroe|
|John McLean Democratic-Republican Party||Ohio||June 26, 1823||Monroe, J. Q. Adams|
As cabinet department, 1829–1971
Postmasters general over the U.S. Postal Service, 1971–present
|Name||Date appointed||President(s) served under|
|Winton M. Blount||July 1, 1971||Nixon|
|E. T. Klassen||January 1, 1972||Nixon, Ford|
|Benjamin F. Bailar||February 16, 1975||Ford, Carter|
|William F. Bolger||March 15, 1978||Carter, Reagan|
|Paul N. Carlin||January 1, 1985||Reagan|
|Albert Vincent Casey||January 7, 1986|
|Preston Robert Tisch||August 16, 1986|
|Anthony M. Frank||March 1, 1988||Reagan, H.W. Bush|
|Marvin Travis Runyon||July 6, 1992||H.W. Bush, Clinton|
|William J. Henderson||May 16, 1998||Clinton, Bush|
|John E. Potter||June 1, 2001||Bush, Obama|
|Patrick R. Donahoe||January 14, 2011||Obama|
|Megan Brennan||February 1, 2015||Obama, Trump|
|Louis DeJoy||June 15, 2020||Trump|
Note that, while the above table indicates the president under which each postmaster general served, these postmasters general were appointed by the governors of the Postal Service and not by the president.
- Postmaster General
- John Henninger Reagan, the only postmaster general of the Confederate States of America
- "United States Postal Service Form 10-K, page 96" (PDF). 2019.
- "Benjamin Franklin — About UPS" (PDF). United States Postal Service. Historian US Postal Service. February 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- Publication 100 – The United States Postal Service: An American History 1775–2006. United States Postal Service, May 2007. Also available in PDF format.
- United States Postal Service. "Postmasters General". about.usps.com. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
- "History of the United States Postal Service". Mailbox Near Me. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
- United States Postal Service. "About the Board of Governors". about.usps.com. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
- Michael B. Sauter and Jon C. Ogg. "The 10 Highest-Paid Government Jobs". 24/7WallSt.com. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
- "Wayback Machine". 2 February 2017. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017.
- Since July 1, 1971, the Postmaster General has been appointed by and serves under the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service.