By: Robert Taub
Robert Taub ('15) - Commissioner, Postal Regulatory Commission
1.You have a long and extensive career in public service; can you walk us through your journey into your current position as the Commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission?
I've long believed that public service is one of the higher callings in life as it is an opportunity to work on behalf of our fellow citizens. I could not foresee that this journey would lead me to my current position. However, each experience I've had over the past many decades at the local, state, and federal levels reinforced the passion for trying to ensure that government services are provided as efficiently and effectively as possible to improve the daily lives of those dependent on those operations. Postal Service issues are one of the few public policy areas that touch the lives of nearly every American whether at home or at work, every day of the week, and it is rooted in the Constitution!
2. Tell us about the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The Commission has a unique role because it regulates only one other entity -- another government agency, ie the Postal Service. Why a regulator for another government agency? Unlike almost any other federal agency, the Postal Service operates in a commercial marketplace while also having a large contingent of captive customers given the Postal Service’s market dominance for certain products and services. The Postal Service is provided a statutory monopoly over mailboxes and the delivery of letters. The public interest role of a regulator in this case is clear: a need to protect the captive customers and ensure fair competition. As a separate and independent federal regulatory agency, the Commission determines the legality of the Postal Service’s prices and products, adjudicates complaints and fair competition issues, and oversees the Postal Service’s delivery performance consistent with statutory requirements. Its mission is to ensure transparency and accountability of the Postal Service and foster a vital and efficient universal mail system. The Commission is the regulator, not the operator, of our nation’s Postal Service – we do not manage the Postal Service, we regulate it in specific areas as prescribed by law.
3. Who has been a key mentor or source of inspiration for you?
For 17 years, I was blessed to work very closely with and for John McHugh during his time as a Member of Congress and while he served as Secretary of the Army. Aside from his being my boss during that specific time, he was a true mentor and remains a dear friend. If I can bring even half of his dedication, devotion, and commitment to service that I saw him apply every single day in Congress and the Pentagon, I'm confident I can meet the challenges of my current position.
4. What was your dream job as a child?
For as long as I remember, I've always had a passion for pursuing a role in politics or government. I recall a class assignment in second grade (in the fall of 1971) to identify a dream job, and I detailed my desire and interest in being a letter carrier for the then newly created U.S. Postal Service!
Robert G. Taub was Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission for more than 6 years, from December 2014 until January 2021. Twice appointed to the Commission following unanimous confirmations by the U.S. Senate in 2011 and 2016, Taub has more than 40 years of public service experience at local, state, and federal levels. Before joining the Commission in October 2011, he was a Principal Civilian Advisor to the Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh. Taub helped the Secretary lead a workforce of more than 1.2 million people, and manage an annual budget exceeding $200 billion. Taub was awarded the Army’s Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service. Before his appointment to the Army, Taub served a decade as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative John M. McHugh (R-NY). As Chief of Staff, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of Representative McHugh’s staff and offices in Washington, D.C., and Northern New York State. Taub also served in a variety of leadership roles on the U.S. House Oversight & Reform Committee for 12 years, during which he worked closely with Representative McHugh on matters relating to the nation’s postal and delivery sector. He crafted Representative McHugh’s legislation for modernizing America’s postal laws for the first time since 1970, culminating in passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in 2006. Prior to his time with the House of Representatives, Taub worked for eight years at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). As a Senior Policy Analyst, Taub planned and directed evaluations for the Congress on environmental, banking, energy, and defense issues. Prior to his position with GAO, Taub worked as a staff member for three different Members of Congress, a Member of the British Parliament, and state and county officials in upstate New York. He earned both an MA and a BS in Political Science with honors from American University.