He Has This Job Licked, Says Postal Chairman

Wynnewood resident Alan C. Kessler has received a stamp of approval from the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, having recently been elected its chair for the next year by his peers.

Kessler, 57, wears many hats in addition to this new position.

He also serves as co-finance chairman for the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), and is a partner in the law firm of Wolf Block in the litigation group.

The walls and desk of his Center City office are covered with dozens of photographs and autographs from Democratic Party superstars like Bill and Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

"You do enough of this, and there's a picture at every turn," remarked Kessler.

In his new role, the chairman runs meeting sessions and oversees the business of the board, which directs and controls Postal Service expenditures, conducts long-range planning, reviews investments and facilities projects, and sets postal policies.

Having mail delivered to their homes six days a week — no matter how rural the address — is a service that many Americans take for granted, said Kessler.

Since the USPS runs as a quasi-private company, it gets much of its revenue from the sale of postage. However, in a struggling economy, with businesses and credit-card companies mailing less material, Kessler explained that this affects the postal service directly, as does competition from other shipping companies and the Internet.

Yet the USPS has to continue delivering the mail anyway.

He added that postal-rate increases for services — including one that takes effect May 12, raising first-class stamps one penny to 42 cents — "are likely to be increased every year."

Kessler's name and face have never been featured in the limelight, despite all the different positions that he's filled, and even though he's shaken hands, dined, traveled and attended sporting events with well-known names as a top national Democratic Party fundraiser. In addition, he was recently appointed Finance Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

But he likes his anonymity.

This is mostly due, he noted, to his desire to remain a family man — husband to Gail, and father to three adult children.

By operating behind the scenes, "you get your fill of what you're looking for," he said, without being in the forefront and without having to sacrifice personal time with family.

Kessler said that it will be "a tough next few weeks" as he and other members of the Clinton campaign look toward the upcoming primaries in the big, important and delegate-rich states of Texas and Ohio.

He noted that Clinton's chances of receiving the Democratic Party's nomination look good if she can carry those two states and Pennsylvania, which holds its primary on April 22.

"She's still so strong in Pennsylvania," said Kessler. However, he further remarked that the situation would be "problematic" for the Clinton camp if the senator were to lose Ohio and Texas next month. If she loses March 4, "it makes Pennsylvania even more important for her. It's all about the delegates."

"We're taking it one week at a time," he added.

So, does the former Township Commissioner for Lower Merion intend to run again for a public office himself?

"I really don't," he answered. And though he has been encouraged to do so by political consultants, he said that he prefers to serve on boards and commissions, as "I have always felt it would impact the family side."



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