From the National Association of Postmasters of the US (eNAPUS) Legislative & Political Bulletin
Last week, NAPUS Post Office Preservation Committee Co-Chair, Retired Postmaster Keva Richardson (Thurman, IA) filed a letter with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which asks the Commission to review USPS plans to close more than 2,000 Post Offices around the country. Specifically, Committee Chair Richardson is asking the PRC to determine if the Postal Service is violating §101(b) of Title 39 of the United States Code, which ensures nondiscriminatory postal services throughout the nation, and helps safeguard small town and rural Post Offices.
The PRC is reviewing Postal practices relating to Post Office suspensions. The PRC is expected to hand down its report on suspensions in the near future.
Letter sent to PRC Chairman Ruth Goldway
February 11, 2011
Honorable Ruth Goldway
Chairman, Postal Regulatory Commission
901 New York Avenue, NW
Dear Chairman Goldway:
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has commenced an aggressive nationwide effort to close rural and small town post office. In the view of the National Association of Postmasters of the United States’ Committee on Post Office Preservation, USPS efforts may violate §101(b) of Title 39, United States Code. In addition, the Postal Service’s plan jeopardizes every small and rural Post Office in the nation. Therefore, as a rural postal customer and as chairman of the Post Office Protection Committee, I respectfully request that the Postal Regulatory Commission review the USPS’ plans to determine if the Postal Service’s efforts are in statutory “noncompliance”; if so, to direct the Postal Service to cease and desist from such unlawful actions and impose appropriate sanctions.
In January, the Postal Service announced an initiative to close more than 2,000 “unprofitable” Post Offices around the nation. Local Post Office- losing decision-makers have confirmed the underlying reasoning for the closures. A February 5, 2011, Washington Post article quoted a Virginia manager of postal operations as stating: “It’s all about the bottom line, Voorhees [manager of postal operations] said.” Moreover, at infrequently-held community meetings, the Postal Service strives to defend its discriminatory decision to close a rural or small town Post Office by claiming that the Post Office of the adversely-impacted community is simply not making enough money.
As the Commission knows, §101(b) specifically prohibits the closing or consolidation of a Post Office “solely for operating at a deficit.” Moreover, §101(b) provides that small communities and rural America be provided with “a maximum degree of effective and regular mail service to small towns, communities and rural areas where post offices are not self-sustaining.”
Madame Chair, I believe that Post Offices provide a fundamental social benefit, particularly to communities not enveloped by urbanization or suburbanization. Regrettably, Postal executives are dismissive of the tremendous asset they have in rural and small town Post Offices, and trivialize the distance between Post Offices in those areas and how that distance impacts rural postal customers. Furthermore, Postal executives choose to ignore the strong the citizen mailers’ support of Post Offices, evidenced by a less-than-year-old Gallup Poll, which found that 86 percent of Americans oppose Post Office closures. Consequently, please consider opening a docket on this issue.
Thank you for your consideration and attention.
Co-Chair, Post Office Preservation Committee
National Association of Postmasters of the United States
2372 Waubonsie Avenue
Thurman, IA 51654