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McCaskill Requests Closure Plans from USPS

Click to see a detailed map with locations of and details about the 167 Missouri postal retail facilities that USPS proposes to study for possible closure or consolidation

August 2, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the U.S. Postal Service ponders the potential closure of thousands of post offices across the country, it's crucial that they use common sense to make cuts in a smart, balanced way.

There is no doubt that the Postal Service is struggling with severe financial challenges; they anticipate losses of more than $8 billion this year alone. This downturn has been caused by decline in volume of mail delivered by the Postal Service, increased reliance on the Internet, increased fuel and paper costs, and a unique requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund the retiree health benefits of its workforce. These problems have only been intensified by our troubled economy.

To its credit, the Postal Service has already made several tough decisions to keep itself afloat. During the last four fiscal years, it has eliminated a total of 100,000 career positions and saved approximately $12 billion in costs.

But it's not enough.

Last week, the Postal Service announced plans to conduct a nationwide study of more 3,600 postal facilities for possible closure or conversion to "Village Post Offices"-locations operated by existing businesses where consumers could purchase frequently used postal products and services. More than 160 facilities in Missouri were included on this list, with the vast majority located in rural communities that may lack access to alternatives, such as high-speed Internet access.

I've heard from constituents regarding the lack of transparency in the post office closure and conversion process. Many residents who will be potentially impacted are concerned that they will not be afforded a proper opportunity to provide input. I will work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to ensure that the Postal Service leadership keeps its promise to take special care to ensure rural customers are informed and given the opportunity to have their voices heard in this matter.

That's why I joined several fellow Senators in writing to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to express concern with the effort to close and consolidate rural postal facilities. Specifically, our letter urges the Postal Service to make every effort to adhere to the legal requirement that it provide the maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas, communities, and small towns where post offices are not self-sustaining.

For many Americans, the postal service is a lifeline, social network, a conduit for news and a vital link to a broader community.

As a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, which oversees the Postal Service, I'll be in close contact with Postal Service authorities to ensure that they are responsive to the questions and concerns from communities that may be affected.

To read my letter to the Postmaster General, or to view an interactive map of Missouri postal facilities being considered for closure, please visit my website at http://mccaskill.senate.gov/usps. You can also contact one of my offices to discuss this issue in further detail.

The Postal Service must get its fiscal house in order-but it can't be done solely on the backs of rural consumers.

All the best,

Ways you can take action to comment on this review process are:

 

 

1. Write to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which is currently reviewing the USPS nationwide process for studying post offices for closure and consolidation. The PRC is expected to make its recommendations this fall. No timeline has been established but constituents should send their comments in by end of October.
• Reference Docket number: N2011-1
• Email -
prc-pagr@prc.gov
• Fax - 202-789-6891
• Mail:
ATTN: Annie Kennedy
Public Affairs and Government Relations
Postal Regulatory Commission
901 New York Avenue NW Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20268-0001

2. Your community will receive official notice that it is being reviewed through a mailing from the USPS, which will be delivered to all Post Office Boxes and home-delivery routes, and by a formal posting at your local post office. We expect these notices to be posted mid to late August. The notices should contain information about when a public hearing will be held and give instructions on how to submit public comments via post and/or electronically. Our office will follow up with affected communities once these reviews are announced by the USPS Gateway or Mid-America District Offices.

3. Send a copy of any fillings of public comments to Senator McCaskill. Claire's staff will make sure that your comments have been received by the Postal Regulatory Commission:
• Senator Claire McCaskill
ATTN: Lucia Alonzo
• Fax: (202) 228-6326
• Email: usps@mccaskill.senate.gov

If you are not able to attend but still have questions please feel free to email usps@mccaskill.senate.gov or contact one of Senator McCaskill's office locations.

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