[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 6 (Friday, January 9, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 870-872]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-172]



41 CFR Part 102-192

[FMR Amendment 200X-XXX; FMR Case 2008-102-4; Docket 2008-0001; 
Sequence 1]
RIN 3090-AI79

Federal Management Regulation; FMR Case 2008-102-4, Mail 
Management; Financial Requirements for All Agencies

AGENCY: Office of Governmentwide Policy, General Services 
Administration (GSA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The General Services Administration is amending the mail 
management section of the Federal Management Regulation (FMR). The 
proposed changes will help agencies show accountability for their costs 
regardless of whether they choose to use commercial payment processes.

DATES: Interested parties should submit comments in writing on or 
before March 10, 2009 to be considered in the formulation of a final 

ADDRESSES: Submit comments identified by FMR case 2008-102-4 by any of 
the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Search for any document by first selecting the proper document types 
and selecting ``General Services Administration'' as the agency of 
choice. At the ``Keyword'' prompt, type in the FMR case number (for 
example, FMR Case 2008-102-4) and click on the ``Submit'' button. You 
may also search for any document by clicking on the ``Advanced search/
document search'' tab at the top of the screen, selecting from the 
agency field ``General Services Administration'', and typing the FMR 
case number in the keyword field. Select the ``Submit'' button.
     Fax: 202-501-4067.

[[Page 871]]

     Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory 
Secretariat (VPR), 1800 F Street, NW., Room 4041, ATTN: Hada Flowers, 
Washington, DC 20405. Instructions: Please submit comments only and 
cite FMR case 2008-102-4 in all correspondence related to this case. 
All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For clarification of content, contact 
Mr. Henry Maury, Office of Governmentwide Policy, Office of Travel, 
Transportation, and Asset Management (MT), (202) 208-7928 or e-mail at 
[email protected]. For information pertaining to status or 
publication schedules contact the Regulatory Secretariat, 1800 F 
Street, NW., Room 4041, Washington, DC, 20405, (202) 501-4755; please 
cite FMR case 2008-102-4, Amendment XXXX.


A. Background

    On June 6, 2002, the General Services Administration (GSA) 
published an interim rule for mail management in the Federal Register 
(67 FR 38896) that required agencies to stop using the U.S. Postal 
Service's Official Mail Accounting System (OMAS) and start using 
commercial payment for postage no later than October 31, 2003. A final 
rule published in the Federal Register on September 29, 2003 (68 FR 
56112) extended the date for conversion to December 31, 2003. If 
agencies did not convert by that date, they were required to submit a 
deviation request that included a detailed plan of how they were going 
to make the conversion in order to be granted the deviation. Deviation 
requests could be for no longer than a period of two years. On August 
25, 2008, GSA published a final rule (73 FR 49955) that completely 
replaced Federal Management Regulation 102-192, Mail Management; that 
final rule clarified the requirement to stop using OMAS.
    The primary goal behind converting to commercial payment was to 
show accountability for postage, both in terms of who was spending 
money on postage within agencies as well as ensuring that agencies pay 
for postage costs up front like other individuals and private 
businesses, therefore encouraging better planning of resources. 
Reducing costs was also a key goal of the initiative. When commercial 
payment was introduced at the Department of Defense, dramatic 
reductions in postage costs were realized.

Rule's Unintended Effects Lead to New Solutions

    Since the final rule was published in 2003, many agencies have 
successfully converted to commercial payment. However, some agencies 
have found it challenging to fully convert to commercial payment, and 
have submitted multiple requests for deviations as they worked toward a 
solution. Therefore, for these agencies, the interim rule has created 
the unintended effect of a cycle of deviation requests and paperwork 
between agencies and GSA, which was not the intent of the initiative 
and is not an efficient use of government resources.
    As it became clear the deviation cycle was not going to end anytime 
soon, GSA needed to devise alternative strategies to ensure agencies 
could meet the primary goal of accountability and still achieve cost 
savings even if the agencies did not implement commercial payment 
processes. The impetus to make the change came from agencies that 
stated they can meet the intent of the initiative, either by continuing 
to use OMAS or through other means.
    GSA issued a bulletin on April 11, 2008 that gave an automatic 
additional one-year deviation to all of the agencies with outstanding 
deviation requests as GSA developed additional options for meeting the 
intent of the initiative. (An announcement of this bulletin was 
published in the Federal Register on May 13, 2008 (73 FR 27540).) Upon 
implementation of this proposed rule, no further deviations will be 
granted for this subpart.

New Options Also Show Accountability

    Before the final rule was implemented in 2003, many agencies did 
not use OMAS or any other process to track their costs. Especially in 
larger agencies, mail managers had no way to determine who was using 
postage or if there were any ways they could be saving money.
    Even when the commercial payment process idea was first introduced, 
it was recognized that implementing it alone did not completely show 
accountability; implementing other measures also helps round out an 
agency's accountability picture. Therefore, this proposed rule allows 
agencies a choice of measures to best show their accountability 
portrait. The options, outlined more fully in the proposed rule, 
    1. Convert to commercial payment processes (unchanged).
    2. Show quantified dollar savings in mail costs that result from 
management action, with a clear explanation of how the savings were 
    3. Provide a detailed breakdown of all agency mail costs.
    4. Provide names, responsibility areas, and mail costs for program 
officials who are accountable for 75 percent (or more) of the agency's 
    5. Provide cost-per-piece data for at least 75 percent of all 
outgoing mail.
    If an agency can implement at least two of five of these options, 
GSA believes the agency will have shown accountability for its 
operations. GSA will use the annual reporting process to collect 
information about how the large agencies are meeting the requirements 
of this rule.
    The additional strategies presented in this proposed rule do not 
imply that an agency now must choose two options other than commercial 
payment; if commercial payment has already been successfully 
implemented or will be implemented soon in an agency that spends less 
than $1 million per year on postage, then commercial payment by itself 
will be deemed as meeting the accountability requirement.

B. Executive Order 12866

    This proposed rule is excepted from the definition of 
``regulation'' or ``rule'' under Section 3(d)(3) of Executive Order 
12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993 and, 
therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of that 
Executive Order.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule is not required to be published in the Federal 
Register for notice and comment as per the exemption specified in 5 
U.S.C. 553 (a)(2); therefore, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 
601, et seq., does not apply.

D. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the proposed 
changes to the FMR do not impose information collection requirements 
that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 
44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

E. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This proposed rule is exempt from Congressional review under 5 
U.S.C. 801 since it relates solely to agency management and personnel.

List of Subjects in 41 CFR Part 102-192

    Government contracts, Mail, Performance measurement, Records 
management, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Security.

[[Page 872]]

    Dated: November 18, 2008.
Gary Klein,
Associate Administrator.
    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, GSA proposes to amend 41 
CFR part 102-192 as set forth below:


    1. The authority citation for 41 CFR part 102-192 continues to read 
as follows:

    Authority: 44 U.S.C. 2904; 40 U.S.C. 121(c).

    2. Revise Subpart B of 41 CFR part 102-192 to read as follows:

Subpart B--Financial Requirements for All Agencies

Sec.  102-192.50  What payment processes are we required to use?

    All payments to all service providers must be made through a 
process that ensures accountability to the program level, as defined in 
Sec.  102-192.55.

Sec.  102-192.55  What options are available to show accountability?

    (a) Your agency must show accountability by using at least two of 
the following methods:
    (1) Implement or continue using commercial payment processes.
    (2) Show quantified dollar savings in mail costs that result from 
management action, with a clear explanation of how the savings were 
achieved. Dollar savings must be recent, defined as occurring within 
the last five fiscal years. That is, after five fiscal years, 
additional information about how the agency has achieved recent savings 
and/or will continue to achieve dollar savings will be required in the 
annual mail management report.
    (3) Provide a detailed breakdown of all agency mail costs.
    (4) Provide names, responsibility areas, and mail costs for program 
officials who are accountable for 75 percent (or more) of the agency's 
    (5) Provide cost-per-piece data for at least 75 percent of all 
outgoing mail.
    (b) Agencies that spend more than $1 million per year on postage 
must describe how they are showing accountability by responding fully, 
beginning with the Fiscal Year 2009 report, to the questions on 
accountability in the annual report format. Agencies that do not 
respond fully or whose responses do not, in the judgment of the GSA 
Office of Governmentwide Policy, meet the standard established in this 
paragraph, will be considered out of compliance with this regulation.

Sec.  102-192.60  If my agency spends less than $1 million per year on 
postage and has already converted to commercial payment processes, are 
we responsible for selecting one of the additional options?

    Any agency that spends less than $1 million on postage per year and 
has already successfully converted to commercial payment is in 
compliance with this regulation and does not need to select any 
additional options presented in Sec.  102-192.55.

Sec.  102-192.65  If my agency still wants to implement the commercial 
payment process, how do we do so?

    Guidance on implementing a compliant payment process is in the GSA 
Policy Advisory, Guidelines for Federal Agencies on Converting to 
Commercial Payment Systems for Postage, which can be found at http://www.gsa.gov/mailpolicy.
    3. Amend Sec.  102-192.90 by revising paragraph (f) read as 

Sec.  102-192.90  What must we include in our annual mail management 
report to GSA?

* * * * *
    (f) Describe how your agency is ensuring accountability for postage 
by identifying which two of the five methods (see Sec.  102-192.55) you 
use to meet this objective and explaining in detail how these two apply 
to your agency.
* * * * *
 [FR Doc. E9-172 Filed 1-8-09; 8:45 am]