Washington, DC– The Postal Regulatory Commission today issued updated procedures for the review of Postal Service determinations to close or consolidate post offices (Docket RM2011-13).
The simplified rules will, among other things, ease requirements for persons who file appeals but do not or can not use the internet; allow interested persons to file comments without first formally intervening; and grant participants extra time to respond to Postal Service motions and briefs. The rules streamline the Commission’s review process as well.
Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway said, “It has been thirty-five years since the Commission first adopted post office closure appeal rules. As the Postal Service has moved forward to reduce its retail network, and the Commission has received an increasing number of appeals of post office closings, it is important to simplify the process and to make it easier for the public to participate in and to understand our decision-making process. The new rules will allow postal customers to submit their petitions and supporting documentation in plain language. In addition, these changes will save the Commission money.”
Last August, the Commission solicited public comments related to the proposed rules. The Commission adopts most of those proposed rules. A few proposals generated more controversy than agreement, and action on those will be deferred to a later date, following additional research and analysis.
The revised rules are available for review on the Commission’s website, www.prc.gov, and will take effect 30 days after being published in the Federal Register.
The Postal Service has implemented a moratorium until May 15 on the closure of post offices for which a decision to close had not been issued prior to December 12, 2011. Post offices with notices received on Dec. 11 or earlier that have been appealed to the Commission are under review. The Commission has reviewed or is reviewing approximately 125 closing appeals in fiscal year 2012, and completed more than 100 in fiscal year 2011. More appeals are expected after the lifting of the moratorium in May.
The Postal Regulatory Commission is an independent federal agency that provides regulatory oversight over the U.S. Postal Service to ensure the transparency and accountability of the Postal Service and foster a vital and efficient universal mail system. The Commission holds regular public monthly meetings and posts all of its activities on its website.
The Commission comprises five Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed Commissioners, each serving terms of six years. The Chairman is designated by the President. In addition to Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway, the other Commissioners are Vice Chairman Nanci Langley, Mark Acton and Robert Taub. There is currently one vacancy. Follow the PRC on Twitter: @PostalRegulator.