Postal Regulatory Commission finds process in need of fixes
Washington, Feb 16 – Congressman Bill Owens (NY-23) joined over 100 of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in asking Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe to place a moratorium on the USPS’s discontinuance process leading to post office and mail processing facility closures until problems identified with the process are resolved. Recently, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) reviewed the Postal Service’s Retail Access Optimization Initiative (RAOI), which is being used as the basis for the possible closure of more than 3,600 post offices and 250 mail processing centers, and found several major flaws. As a result of these problems, the PRC and Members of Congress have expressed concerns that many post offices and mail processing facilities will – or have already been – improperly closed.
“I have long been against the shuttering of postal facilities because Washington bureaucrats do not understand the impact that these closures have on rural communities,” said Owens. “The PRC has raised serious concerns that need to be addressed and fixed before closure studies continue. As we look to streamline the postal service and keep it solvent, we need to be certain that we’re working off a study more accurate than the one currently being utilized.”
The USPS recently issued a moratorium on post office and mail processing facility closures through May 15, 2012. However, the moratorium only affects the actual closure of facilities and allows closure studies to continue.
There are 38 post offices and one mail processing facility that are under threat of closure in New York’s 23rd Congressional District and, with a flawed RAOI, it is possible many may have been improperly identified for closure.
In December, Owens introduced legislation to preserve vital postal services and cut costs by requiring the USPS to review and consider co-locating post offices at retail facilities and municipal buildings. The bill would include post offices that have already closed and those still under threat of closure.
The letter, signed by Owens and 110 of his colleagues, lists the problems found by the PRC.