USPS Defends Plan to Close Thousands of Offices at PRC Hearing

Appearing at a hearing before the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent agency with oversight over the Postal Service, James Boldt, the national manager of customer service operations in the USPS Office of Delivery and Post Office Operations, answered a battery of questions from representatives of postal employees’ associations and the mailing community about the proposal to evaluate more than 3,600 retail locations for potential closure.

No party involved in the PRC proceedings challenged the dire financial predicament that the Postal Service confronts. In the third quarter of the current fiscal year, ending June 30, the USPS posted a net loss of $3.1 billion. For the first three quarters of the fiscal year, the Postal Service lost $5.7 billion, and is projecting losses for the full year as high as $10 billion. Next year, the Postal Service is projecting a $9 billion loss, and has warned that the losses could swell to $16 billion by 2015, and $20 billion by 2020.

Instead, skeptics of the plan worry that the widespread closures could have an adverse impact on businesses and residents in the affected communities. To help mitigate the impact of the closures, the Postal Service has proposed that it rely increasingly on so-called Village Post Offices (VPOs), privately operated facilities that would contract with the Postal Service to provide certain limited products and services.

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Here is on the remaining procedural schedule for Retail Access Optimization Initiative, 2011 case:

9/8/2011     Hearing on the Postal Service’s Direct Case 9:30 AM
9/9/2011     Close of Discovery for Developing Intervenors’ Direct Case
9/16/2011     Deadline for Filing Rebuttal Testimony
9/23/2011     Conclusion of Discovery Directed Towards Rebuttal Testimony
9/30/2011     Notice of Intent to Conduct Oral Cross-Examination on Rebuttal Due
10/3/2011     Hearing to Enter Rebuttal Testimony Into the Record 9:30 AM
10/5/2011     Notice on Intent to File Surrebuttal Testimony Due
10/11/2011     Deadline for Filing Surrebuttal Testimony (If Requested)
10/14/2011     Deadline for Filing Briefs (If No Surrebuttal Testimony Filed)
10/17/2011     Hearing to Enter Surrebuttal Testimony Into the Record (If Necessary) 9:30 AM
10/21/2011     Deadline for Filing Reply Briefs (If No Surrebuttal Testimony Filed)
10/26/2011     Deadline for Filing Briefs (If Surrebuttal Testimony Filed)
11/2/2011     Deadline for Filing Reply Briefs (If Surrebuttal Testimony Filed)


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