Congressman Critz Requests Immediate Review of “Loophole” the USPS may be using to close Post Offices

Cites Post Office Closings in Westmoreland and Somerset Counties (Pennsylvania)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Mark S. Critz (PA-12) sent a letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission today requesting an immediate review of concerns that the United States Postal Service (USPS) may be deliberately labeling post office lease holders as “unreasonable” in an attempt to close postal centers outside of the public review and appeals process. Congressman Critz found this to be the case with post offices in Derry, East Vandergrift, New Florence and Sipesville.

“Over the past few months, my office has discovered multiple instances where post office lease holders have agreed to the exact terms set forth by the USPS, only to be told after agreeing to these terms that these centers would be closing anyway,” wrote Congressman Critz, who is already on record as fighting the planned closures of 33 postal centers in the 12th Congressional District. “In other words, I fear that the USPS believes it has identified a loophole through which they are free to close hundreds, if not thousands, of postal centers without question.”

Postal centers that are part of the larger feasibility study require a public meeting and have an appeals process built in. Congressman Critz has already collected hundreds of such appeals in the event of actual closures in these towns. The study targets by name 3,600 centers nationwide. Concern that lease issues were being used as a separate means to close even more centers prompted the Congressman’s review.

“The American people deserve the truth in terms of what exactly the USPS is attempting to do,” added Congressman Critz. “The inability to work a lease agreement with one landlord in a community does not give the USPS the right to simply abandon that community. I have been upset from the very beginning that the feasibility study currently being conducted by the USPS unfairly targets rural Pennsylvanians, and discovering these issues involving lease agreements only deepens my frustration and warrants an immediate investigation by the Postal Regulatory Commission.”

Below and attached is Congressman Critz’s letter to the Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission:


March 22, 2012

The Honorable Ruth Goldway
Postal Regulatory Commission
901 New York Avenue, Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20268-0001

Dear Chairman Goldway:

It has come to my attention that the United States Postal Service (USPS) may be unfairly and inaccurately labeling many post office lease holders as “unreasonable” in a deliberate effort to close postal centers outside the review and appeals process. Over the past few months, my office has discovered multiple instances where lease holders have agreed to the exact terms set forth by the USPS, only to be told after agreeing to these terms that these centers would be closing anyway.

As you may know, I am strongly opposed to the postal closings that have been identified by the Retail Access Optimization Initiative (RAOI) study, which has identified 33 postal centers for closure within my Congressional District. It has been well established that these closings are rejected by the communities involved, and that the public meetings held to this point to discuss these closures have fallen well short of the expectations of a public meeting. The lack of information has left citizens uninformed and deeply suspicious of the USPS and its motives for closure, particularly when it appears that rural communities have been unfairly targeted.

The postal centers that I am bringing to your attention are not associated with the over 3,600 identified by the RAOI study, but rather are leased centers that appear to be targeted for closure under the false pretext of failed rental negotiations. My fear of this practice is based on the numerous complaints my office has fielded concerning lease agreements for postal centers in Westmoreland and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania. These centers, located in Derry, East Vandergrift, New Florence and Sipesville, are currently set to close because of “unreasonable” lease holders.

Property owners in Derry and East Vandergrift have provided me with their former lease agreements as well as the newly negotiated terms. In both instances, the current lease holder agreed to the terms as proposed by the USPS – only to be given a notice of lease termination. Such closings take place without public meeting and without any means of appeal from the affected communities.

It is difficult to grasp how a lease holder, who has agreed to the new terms of a lease by offering a substantial cut in rent, can be then termed “unreasonable.” That these centers are targeted for closure, despite accepting the terms as set forth by the USPS, leaves one to believe that the USPS is using these talks as a means to close centers without any sort of public review or the ability for the public to appeal as set forth in the current governing regulations. In other words, I fear that the USPS believes it has identified a loophole through which they are free to close hundreds, if not thousands, of postal centers without question.

In New Florence, the lease holder has provided detailed information where the USPS asked for a 10 percent reduction in rent and a 180-day out clause. The lease holder agreed to the rent reduction but raised objection to the notion of such an “out clause” because it makes the length of a lease pointless. Without further discussion, the USPS sent a termination notice. The lease holder maintains that had any actual negotiations taken place, they would have agreed to the out clause and even now stands ready to rent the center at the reduced rate with the clause as requested by the USPS. Even on this level, it is difficult to see how this constitutes a lease disagreement or an unreasonable lease holder. In this case, the lease holder is not an individual citizen with limited assets unaccustomed to market pressures, but rather a professional lease management company that certainly understands fair market value and the process of a reasonable negotiation.

I am concerned with how widespread this problem may actually be. Just over the last few days, I discovered the pending closing of the Sipesville Post Office in Somerset County over another lease issue. This is a closing that was decided in January of last year, and has only now come to my attention as a result of my own review. I am troubled with how many other Post Offices might be in a similar situation, or are about to be.

The American people deserve the truth in terms of what exactly the USPS is attempting to do. Already they feel as if information has been kept from them or that a “feasibility study” is in fact a foregone conclusion of closure. That lease holders who are agreeing to significant reductions are being labeled as “unreasonable” as a means to circumvent due process. This is unacceptable, and an explanation needs to be given. While no one expects the USPS to be held hostage by a truly “unreasonable” landlord, I do not believe that the law stipulates that the relationship between the USPS and the citizenry has anything to do with any one lease holder. In other words, the USPS inability to work a lease agreement with one landlord in a community does not give them the right to simply abandon that community.

I request your immediate review of these concerns, and I strongly urge the Postal Regulatory Commission to investigate theses charges. Without immediate action, I fear that many of our postal centers will be unfairly closed without the benefit of a public review or appeal.


Mark S. Critz
Member of Congress

cc: The Honorable Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO, United States Postal Service

10 thoughts on “Congressman Critz Requests Immediate Review of “Loophole” the USPS may be using to close Post Offices

  1. What about the loophole which allows junior non veteran shop stewards to bump senior military veterans when it comes to excessing or losing positions in a facility? This practice is commonly referred to as “superseniority” and is the reason we have good for nothing lazy-ass malingering employees being certified as stewards so they can protect themselves against excessing. Self-preservation of union folks at the expense of our returning military vets. Unionism at its best! An injury to one is an injury to all (except union stewards). Here’s another loophole – using dues paying lemming’s money to conduct internal union political vendettas. How much dues money has been spent by any local union in going after their fellow union members? Good question to ask…State that you want an official rendering of dues members money spent by your local union on non-representational pursuits. Then, take a look at their faces when the question is asked and….don’t hold your breath. You’ll probably have to bring it up again and again and again. Yes…unionism at its best!

  2. Wrong message

    Postal Service executives not making sacrifices like others

    The Independent

    ASHLAND — The struggles of the U.S. Postal Service are well known and documented. It has affected us here at home with the closure of the main processing plant in Ashland and the shuttering of other small post offices throughout the Tri-State area.

    But did you know that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe received $384,229 in compensation last year?

    Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, was shocked to learn how much top postal executives make and said it is time they consider cutting their own salaries and bonuses as they move to cut mail delivery services and shutter postal plants, laying off tens of thousands of workers.

    We agree. The postal executives should realize the sacrifices being made throughout the agency and willingly take some cuts of their own.

    Donahoe received a base salary of $271,871 in 2011, according to a November filing by the service with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But he also made another $81,954 in pension and deferred compensation. And he benefited from $30,404 in “other” compensation, including security costs, life insurance premiums, parking and financial planning services.

    All of the top officers at the U.S. Postal Service had annual base salaries topping $200,000, according to the filing. Does that seem right given the dire situation the U.S. Postal Service appears to be in today? We agree with Sen. Tester on this one. It’s not right.

    “To date, not a single executive has offered to forgo bonuses or reduce his salary during this difficult time,” Tester wrote.

    Meanwhile, the Postal Service has already announced plans to close more than 200 plants that could come at a cost of 32,000 jobs. The agency is trying to get out of major debt caused by declining first-class mail volumes and a congressional mandate to prefund retirement health care benefits. The service reported a $5.1 billion loss for the year ended Sept. 30.

    Postal executives are sending the wrong message by continuing to accept high salaries and lucratve benefits while the postal service is drowning in red ink. Sacrifices should be shared by all.

    Not one unaccountable single executive has offered to forgo bonuses or reduce his salary during this difficult time?

    Please someone step up to the plate for America and hold these out of control freaks accountable.

    Add it to the Postal Reform Act (S. 1789), bill.. do something? you dammed it at hoover and controled the mighty colorado… dam up fat boy and the rest of these PO executives. Make it right.

  3. Hey Raul & Joe Wanats
    Take your crap somewhere else. We all know the union does not support this bill. You’re blowing this crap out your rear. Get a clue & then get a life.

  4. Rolando and Guffey are not covering your back, they care less about VERA’s, Guffey / APWU are the worst, Rolando though wants also to make the bill so amended, it will never pass.
    Mismanagement and over funding, and the dues hungry Unions = downfall of USPS, lies and more lies, the USPS already uses the Inspectors and OIG, Office of Inspector General to set up craft employees, two sets of rules, just like the IRS, a Gestapo mentality, offering a decent early retirement/ Incentives would be one way to escape the deteriorating work places in the USPS, the work environment has always been about management inflating numbers, lying about getting mail out when it is stacked somewhere or sent back to be reprocessed, and using threats (OIG, Inspection Service, intimidation, following craft workers off the job etc.) and abusive tactics for managers to get their bonuses, always a daily fight for us workers to survive, yes it is a daily war to get you the customer your mail, end this monopoly now !
    Support S.1789 as it is , because Goofball Guffey of the APWU already has said ( as well as Rolando the NALC Cuban Clown) that neither he nor his members will support any bill unless all the Union’s agenda items are included, the NALC and APWU are calling it the “Kill Bill S.1789”.

  5. “This PMG is obviously not accountable to anyone”.

    oh contraire mon frere…If the American people were to rise up and demand accountable just like that kid wearing the hoddie that was shot. His ass would be kick to the curb along with others in a heart beat.

    I look at this way he’s going to be remember as one of the #1 worst PMG in Postal History who screwed over the America people along with Issa/Ross and his postal management team.

    These people should be held accountable but arent.

    If Congress inacted the Lybia Kadafi accountable act for public servents, Oh how things would change. 🙂

  6. USPS Plans to Implement Consolidations As Soon As Moratorium Ends
    Top-level postal managers were unable – or unwilling – to specify which mail processing centers would be closed immediately. Decisions will be made at the end of February, they said.
    Postal officials said that as a result of the consolidations, approximately 83,000 jobs will be eliminated in the crafts represented by the APWU, including more than 63,800 Clerks, close to 9,000 Maintenance Craft employees, and more than 1,800 Motor Vehicle Craft employees.
    GOOGLE……….U.S. SENATE………Choose your “SENATOR HOME” State. Look for the area in which to write and send your comment.  
    I wrote ” I work for the U.S.P.S. and I do not oppose S1789 in it’s amended form”. This bill offers three types of incentives not to be combined.  
    1. 25,000 cash.  
    2. 2 years added on to your FERS retirement  
    3. 1 year added on to your CSRS retirement.  
    “This announcement makes it all the more important that APWU members reach out to their senators to let them know that S. 1789 as amended,” must be passed now said Guffey.
    Call Your Senators:
    (Capitol Switchboard)
    [Click here for direct #s]
    Tell them you Support 
    S. 1789
    The U.S. Senate soon will likely debate the 21st Century Postal Reform Act (S. 1789), bill designed to ‘save” the U.S. Postal Service by offering Early Retirement Incentives.
    As president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, I understand the budgetary and market challenges facing the USPS.
    S. 1789 should be passed as amended, it will save America’s postal network. Instead of enacting shortsighted, destructive policies, Congress should approve this bill ,S.1789.
    Fredric V. Rolando is the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers
    NAPUS will continue to work with Senate allies to pass S. 1789, and ensure that the measure will garner the requisite votes for passage.

  7. It doesn’t matter what congress thinks or desires. This PMG is obviously not accountable to anyone.

  8. Congressman Critz… Why don’t you Holden, Cummings, Lynch and other Democrats hold a hearing and put Donahue under oath… We will finally get the truth and stop the Republicans ( ISSA and ROSS ) from destroying something that’s been around for over 200 years????? Remember this!!!! Congress has been taking our money for decades to balance the Federal Budget.. Just like social Security.. It’s time you give us our money back and get rid of this IDIOTS!!!! Donahue, Brennan and all the upper management..

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