USPS Plans to File an Advisory Opinion With the PRC Next Week

NAPUS released the following information:

Yesterday, Postal Headquarters officials notified NAPUS leaders that the Postal Service would file a request for an advisory opinion with the Postal Regulatory Commission to study nearly 2,800 post offices for possible discontinuance.  The service review list is expected to contain approximately 2,800 post offices and 700 stations.  Postmasters will be breifed on July 25 and 26 and list of offices will be be provided to Postmasters at that time.

It’s important for Postmasters whose offices are on the list to know that this is part of the required review process, and there is no certainty that all offices on the list will be closed.  As the discontinuance study process moves forward, NAPUS will provide information on how Postmasters may be affected if their office is targeted for closing.

NAPUS Goverment Relations Director, Bob Levi provided the following information on how the advisory opinion process works;

Section 3661 of Title 39 of the United States Code requires the Postal Service to seek an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) ”within a reasonable amount of time prior to the effective date” of a proposal that would change the nature of postal services on a “nationwide basis.”  According to reports, the Postal Service intends to file such a request next week. Under PRC rules, the USPS is required to make a formal request for an advisory opinion at least 90 days prior to the change. There is no legal prohibition against the USPS implementing the changes at the conclusion of the 90-day period, even if the PRC has not rendered its advisory opinion.  However, the implementation of the changes prior to the issuance of an advisory opinion may raise concern on Capitol Hill. 

When the USPS files for the advisory opinion, it must submit substantiating documents, presumably including testimony by Dean Granholm, which seek to justify the changes.  Once the docket is set, the Commission will appoint one of its staff members to act as the “public representative”; in addition, if the past is any indication, it will permit stakeholders to offer written testimony, submit documents, and cross-examine witnesses. There is no indication, nor any rules as to how long the PRC proceeding would take.  

Further information on the discontinuance process and it’s impact on Postmasters will be posted on the NAPUS website.