From National Association of Postmasters
This afternoon, the U.S. Postal Service formally requested the Postal Regulatory Commission to issue an advisory opinion on whether its Retail Access Optimization Initiative conforms with current law. The USPS request is referenced as PRC Docket Number N2011-1. You may view the actual USPS filing and supporting documents here.
In its request, the USPS advises the PRC that it is reviewing whether to continue to provide retail postal services at 3652 postal operated facilities, including 2825 Post Offices, 384 stations and branches, and 178 retail annexes. In addition, the USPS folded into the request 265 retail facilities that are already undergoing review. In its filing, the USPS states that “it is premature at this time to estimate” the number of facilities that it will propose to close as a result of its initiative.
The request for an Advisory Opinion is being made because implementation of the Post Office closing initiative could have a nationwide impact. As referenced in last week’s eNAPUS Legislative and Political Bulletin, the PRC will conduct hearings and issue an advisory opinion. The Bulletin also mentioned the timelines for a decision. Although the PRC opinion is advisory, the USPS may follow their regulator’s advice. NAPUS plans to be a full and active participant in the PRC’s proceedings on the Post Office closing initiative.
Presently, the specific facilities to be discontinued and, thus, the actual scope of the potential service changes cannot be estimated. No facility closure or service change resulting from this Initiative will be implemented before late December, 2011.3 Until definitive information to the contrary emerges, the Postal Service concedes the possibility that the scope of the changes in service resulting from this Initiative could be at least “substantially nationwide,” within the meaning of 39 U.S.C. § 3661(b). Accordingly, for the reasons explained here and in the accompanying testimony, the Postal Service requests that the Commission consider whether it has jurisdiction to review this matter under section 3661(c). Should that determination be in the affirmative, the Postal Service also requests that the Commission opine whether the nature of the service changes expected to result from the Retail Access Optimization Initiative would conform to applicable policies of Title 39, United States Code.