(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus met with the U.S. Postmaster General this week urging him to listen to Montanans before finalizing any decisions to close facilities or reroute service in the state.
During the high profile meeting, Baucus showed Postmaster Patrick Donahoe a map of Montana and outlined for him the unique challenges facing rural Montanans and their Postal needs. He emphasized the importance of maintaining post office operations in Montana’s small towns, and the inconvenience to seniors and rural Montanans about having to travel long distances to get their mail if their local post office is closed. He also urged Donahoe to take into account Montanans’ input on Postal Service proposals to close processing centers in Butte, Helena, Havre, and Miles City which would result in the loss of up to 43 postal service jobs.
“Showing Donahoe a map of Montana really drove home the message that we need long term solutions for the Postal Service that don’t shortchange the service and jobs we rely upon back home. I recognize the Postal Service must get its fiscal house in order, but I’m asking the Postmaster to make sure that Montana is not unfairly affected by drastic plans to reorganize, that Montanans have access to the information being used to make these decisions, and that public input from Montanans who are affected by these changes is taken into account,” said Baucus. “I’m going to keep working with him to make sure Montanans have an opportunity to weigh in on Postal service changes that affect our main streets.”
* April 2006: Baucus opposes to a Postal Service proposal to consolidate the Helena Area Mail Processing center to Great Falls, due to concerns over the need for USPS to consider public input.
* January 2007: Postal Service responds to Baucus’ requests and announces that it is abandoning proposal to consolidate the Helena Area Mail Processing center
* March 18, 2011: US Postal Service announces plans to study possible consolidation of Butte, Helena, Havre, and Miles City
* May 2, 2011: Baucus writes letter to Postmaster General Donahoe urging him to create a long term plan to avoid continuing threats to jobs and service for Montanans.
* May 12, 2011: Baucus meets with Donahoe pushing the Postal Service to incorporate public input into its plans to reorganize service and to justify that any changes do not disproportionately affect Montanans.