Senator Baucus Skeptical of Postal Service Plan to Cut Office Hours

Senator Urges House to Pass Senate’s Permanent Rural Protections into Law

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus said today he is reserving judgment until he hears from Montanans on the Postal Service’s proposal to cut office hours, but he is skeptical of any plan that is not in line with the spirit of the permanent rural protections he fought for in the Senate’s Postal Reform Bill. Baucus also pointed out that, just like closing rural offices, the proposal to cut hours does not make a dent in the Postal Services’ budget problems.

“I fought hard to get permanent protections in the Postal Reform Bill that will keep Montana post offices open for good, while also putting the Postal Service back on a path to financial security, so the real solution is for the House to do its part and pass this bill. Any plan that unfairly targets rural post offices doesn’t work for me, and this latest idea sounds like horse trading that leaves Montana offices vulnerable in the future and doesn’t address the big picture,” Baucus said.

The Postmaster General has stated that in order to become financially stable, the Postal Service must reduce spending by about $20 billion in the coming years.
The proposed nationwide changes in post office hours is estimated to save only $500 million annually once fully implemented.
The Senate bill puts the Postal Service well on the path toward stability by reducing spending by $19 billion by 2016, according to analysis provided by the Postal Service.

Baucus included protections to keep rural facilities open in the Senate bill, but without action in the House, the Postal Service will be free to shut down any of the 85 Montana offices it has proposed for closure after the moratorium expires on May 15. Last week, Baucus wrote a letter to Postmaster General Donahoe, along with Senator Tester calling for an extension of the current moratorium of post office closures so the House can consider the Senate bill.

Baucus’ amendments in the Senate Bill include:

  • A one-year moratorium on the closure of rural post offices;
  • Prohibition of closing any post office where another facility is not available within 10 miles driving distance, after the moratorium expires – this prohibits the closure of at least 90 percent of Montana post offices;
  • Protections to ensure service standards are protected for seniors, businesses and Montana voters who vote by mail; and
  • New service standard requirements that the Postmaster General has confirmed would prohibit the closure of Montana processing facilities that were previously proposed for consolidation – including Wolf Point, Helena and Butte.

6 thoughts on “Senator Baucus Skeptical of Postal Service Plan to Cut Office Hours

  1. The other issue that seems to be lost in the discussion is the “Network Optimization” proposal which will reduce the number of highway contractors delivering mail between facilities from 11k+ to just under 200. These mega-contractors are supposedly going to be able to replace the individual highway route contractors with their own new new fleet of trucks and drivers. There was a recent pre-qualification exercise whereby the eligibility of 11,200 existing contractors was narrowed down to less than 200 “pre-qualified entities”

    Please tell me how that is a rational plan, or is it just a give away to to some highly placed and well-financed contractors who help engineer this proposal.

    I have been in this business for 40 years, and I apparently do not qualify on any level to haul mail anymore! Something is terribly wrong here.

  2. Saving hours in rural post offices is a joke. Small community post officies can be consolidated as many were set up to provide service 75 years ago and in this day and age are not necessary to provide decreasing use of postal service. The list of post offices that are listed to reduce hours failed to list many that are not necessary but a high cost as many have postmasters making $63000.-$73000. that only sell stamps and box mail and many have no delivery while others are within a 5-6 mile radius and have 1-4 rural routes which could be consolidated to 1 location and zip codes maintained. 3.+ billon dollar loss past quarter and handwriting on wall that services and employees must be reduced or the losses will continue to increase as sales to generate revenue to cover cost will not happen.

  3. “The truth is that reducing hours in rural post offices will not save significant amounts compared to the Postal Service’s overall budget,” However, put up some cash to keep the rural post office open. No money, no open hours…

  4. We don’t care about anything but getting elected and enriching ourselves and our billionaire friends.

  5. Senators Inhoffe and Coburn (both Republicans) from Oklahoma could take lessons from Senator Baucus. Coburn introduced legislation to FORCE retirement on those who would qualify. That reeks of age discrimination. Luckily it was defeated soundly by the majority in the Senate. Both Oklahoma Senators failed the Great State of Oklahoma’s rural areas. Senator Coburn is also writing letters to the PMG to start closing procedures at once on rural post offices. I myself rely heavily on the local post office. My internet server is down again for fourteen days the month of April, and two days this month of may. Let us save the post offices in rural America that we can depend on. Vote out those people that could care less about rural America.

  6. I am a Rural Carrier in the Burke County area of NC. Why has the way we have the customer place the address label on an international flat rate package changed?
    I was told today that it is now necessary to place an international address label on the back side of the package instead of the front side where it is indicated to be. Why is this now the standard procedure? Any help on this matter would be appreciated.

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