Who is the Postmaster General? (with picture)

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Benjamin Franklin was the first official postmaster general.
Benjamin Franklin was the first official postmaster general.

The postmaster general is the executive head of the United States Postal Service. In the role of head of one of the largest employers in the United States, the postmaster general oversees postal policies, reforms, and business decisions. The role of the postmaster general has evolved over the centuries since the creation of this position, from a sinecure given to people in political favor to an extremely active and demanding position. Information about the current postmaster general's experience and qualifications is always available through the United States Postal Service.

This position was formally created in 1775, although a similar position predates the formation of the United States itself. The first official postmaster general was Benjamin Franklin, who served for 15 months as the head of the nascent postal system. By 1829, the postmaster general had become a member of the presidential cabinet, and was incidentally last in line for the succession of the presidency. These early postmaster generals were typically loyal members of the presidential campaign who were rewarded for their service with a job which was believed to be relatively cushy.

In 1970s, the Post Office underwent radical reconstruction, and the postmaster general was dropped from the presidential cabinet while the post office became an independent government agency. The restructuring of the post office was designed to make it a more secure, useful agency, creating a new command system of a board of governors, although the postmaster general is still the head of the organization. Today, the United States Postal Service is run much like a corporation, with a focus on offering new products on a continual basis and on keeping the post office profitable.

Acting as Chief Executive Officer, the postmaster general oversees the daily doings of the Postal Service, and sits on the board of directors. The board also elects another member who serves as the assistant postmaster general and Chief Operating Officer. The structure of the post-1970 post office is designed to separate the post office from its sometimes sordid and poorly governed past.

As a public figure, the postmaster general issues periodic statements about postal reforms, new services, and changes in postal policy. The postmaster general is also held accountable for failures of the postal system, just like a Chief Executive Officer would be in a normal company.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


My son was working the oil fields near Briscoe, Texas, without a mailing address and he had several items sent to the local post office. All went well until their post master visited and saw a UPS parcel. Long story short, he needed to fork out additional postage to the post office or she was going to return the item.

She made it clear any item coming into her post office must be through the USPS. In comes my son's title, so I sent it certified through the USPS. Of course it was lost! The Miami PO remembers seeing it but has no clue where it went and obviously could care less. Driving his RV without a tag meant the possibility of having it impounded, so he went to court with the bill of sale and was awarded a duplicate title for a cost of $125.

This is an archaic system run by the US government, and run ineffectively. Time to let it die.


I'm having problems with a business using the Click and Ship it program of the USPS and then they don't ship the products. The Post Office should fine people from using their program to print a shipping label and they not sending it.


I had a letter coming from AL to IN, there is a forwarding order at the PO. Someone at the PO in IN screwed up and sent my letter back to sender, with forwarding time expired for the wrong box number. All I got was a Sorry but someone was not paying attention.



I feel really angry this morning. I've contacted the local post office, talked to the mailer, contacted the 800 number, there's two cases out on it and I feel like I just got ripped off $120 bucks.


I used one inept government agency to notify another that they had incorrect information about my case. What do you think happened? I sent a Certified Letter (about 10 miles across town in Denver) to a Colorado State agency from my post office.

I had a window of 10 days for it to arrive, and knowing the State, I wanted documentation of the time, date and signature of recipient. This is an appeal to the state for wrong information they have about my last employer, and they will not accept my appeal if it does not arrive by a specific date. No questions asked.

Of course the United States Postal Service lost my Certified Letter. The Colorado agency does not have a walk in office, so I couldn't just call them and offer to drop off another copy. The USPS couldn't be less interested in losing my letter either. There was one woman at one post office who tried to help me, but her hands are tied.

How can you deliver a package when you don't know where it is? My advice to anyone reading this is to use Fed Ex or UPS. It will cost a little more, but your letter has a much better chance of arriving at its destination.

I can't wait until the government takes over health care. I'm sure I'll die in a hospital bed waiting for the USPS to deliver my life saving kidney that they lost.


In November of 2009, I mailed five boxes of very important personal items through USPS, unfortunately. They were mailed at Freeport, ME, deliverable to Sarasota FL PO. It is now March 2010, and the boxes have still not arrived and I have not pursued a refund of the total cost of 75.00, but I will be soon.

Stupidly I put no insurance on these, they were expensive enough to mail. I am still angry, and at a loss. Perhaps if they had been insured, they might have arrived?


Lost a wedding dress, returned my christmas cards one month later, my mail in others mailbox, mailbox overflowing with catalogs. No help when there is a problem, mail left out on the sidewalk because sidewalk was slippery. damage items when delivered. opened mail, we are in deep trouble in massachusetts.


I'm a small town resident here in swansea, massachusetts and the mail here is really bad. it started back in june 2009. the dmv made five attempts to deliver my license to me. Finally i went to boston myself to pick it up. That's not even the half of it. I'll leave the rest of it up to you imagination.


This morning, I mailed a box from Ga to Ala. Because it exceeded the 8 ounce limit, I was told I could only mail it one of two ways 1) second day or 2) three days but there was no guarantee the package would be delivered in the time frame stated.

Just another rip off by our government! No wonder people are using UPS and other shippers. they are cheaper and more dependable.

I asked the employee, if the package does not arrive in the time quoted, would I get a refund and I was told no, since they do not guarantee it.

Why are we no longer allowed to use "regular" mail deliveries?

I understand there was an article some time ago in a magazine (I did not read it but was told about it) that our Post Office buys homes for the upper level personnel when that person is transferred. Is this true? If so, stop doing that. We the public should not be paying for our postal uses when our postal service is spending foolishly like this.

You continue to raise prices on us to cover your unnecessary expenses. How fair is this? No wonder we are leaving the services of the USPS.


I just left USPS 97103 requesting an extension on an expired forward. County address change created a mess. They refused the extenion--quite rudely! Why do we pay so much to have such lousy service? A private company would have much better customer service.


i called the Willoughby post office in Ohio and wanted to pick up my package today in person they said i could not. i used to do it all the time in other post offices. Don Reico


I mailed a package from PA to TX in mid-August and here it is Sept and it still has not arrived but they keep telling me to wait. Once it was 21 days and another was 24 days and now it is 30 days. there seem to be packages being held up in Fort Worth because there are new changes and they don't want to overload the new system, so my customer has to wait and I may lose a $200.00 order because of this. and they wonder why people are not using the Post office and you are right-- there is no one to complain to.


I am right there with fedupWU I have had so many problems with the USPS that I might as well deliver my own mail, so that I don't have to keep paying out late fees and stop payment fees every time my bills get lost in the mail


True; nobody knows *who* the postmaster general is. Maybe, that's why the USPS gets to be so slow and rude to customers, and yet, retain their jobs: nobody cares. Maybe that's why their 'service' is *so* completely nonexistent, that I'd rather just throw a package into the ocean and hope for the best; as opposed to handing it to the gaping abyss of the USPS! No wonder they're going under! Where there is an alternative to their ineptitude, *I'll take it*!! UPS all the way!


Since nobody knows who is in charge, no wonder *nobody* cares, when we spend our hard earned money on packages that are never delivered. Customer service? No such thing, at the post office! No wonder they can treat people like garbage, lie about deliveries (that never happened), return mail for no reason, and virtually, screw up everything that we hand them!! UPS, all the way! USPS sucks!!


I completely agree with anon32387. I would like to know who, not what. -Doug U.


The article should be "What is the Postmaster General?" instead of "Who" because the question of "Who is the Postmaster General?" is never answered.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Benjamin Franklin was the first official postmaster general.
      Benjamin Franklin was the first official postmaster general.