Saving Our Local Post Offices: Congressman Urges Postal Service to Explore Other Cost-Cutting Alternatives

From Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR):

January 9, 2012

Washington – Last year, the United States Postal Service dramatically increased its attempts to close post offices around the country in order to help save the agency money, primarily those in rural areas. In fact, almost 200 postal facilities could possibly close here in Arkansas. As I believe the Postal Service should consider other cost-cutting alternatives, I strongly oppose the closure of these post offices as it would disproportionately hurt people in rural areas and those on fixed incomes.

The U.S. Postal Service is a self-supporting government agency whose revenue comes from the sales of its products and services – not from taxpayers. Recently, the agency said it is losing more than $23 million a day as a result of the economic slowdown and an increase in electronic media, such as e-mail. However, I believe the Postal Service’s troubles are much more than the economy and the Internet. The financial problems plaguing the U.S. Postal Service are due to failed management, inadequate planning and poor business practices – problems that closing a few post offices simply won’t fix.

I am also skeptical of the overall closing process, because it appears the Postal Service places little emphasis on the reaction and concerns raised by people in the affected communities. That’s why I have sent numerous letters to the Postal Service requesting a top-to-bottom review of the entire closing process and opposing the closing of post offices altogether.

I also recently joined an effort to get more than 75 Members of Congress to sign a letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission to stop the closing process and work with Congress to help find a long-term solution that protects customers and ensures the longevity of the postal system. The letter argued “widespread post office closures is the wrong way to deal with the Postal Service’s fiscal problems and could harm the Postal Service’s competitiveness in the long run.”

Finally, on Dec. 13, the U.S. Postal Service announced it would delay the closing or consolidation of any post office or mail processing facility until May 15, 2012, after receiving multiple requests by Members of Congress to halt the process. As someone who has fought hard against the closing of our post offices, I am pleased the Postal Service finally listened to the American people and their representatives in Congress. The temporary delay will allow Congress and the Postal Service to work together and explore other possible solutions.

For instance, I have helped introduce a bill, H.R. 1351, to eliminate a requirement that the Postal Service pre-pay future retiree medical benefits, which is not required of any other federal agency. This commonsense bill would save the Postal Service so much money that repealing this one requirement would give the agency a profit over the last four years.

I fought hard to stop the closing of post offices so that we can work together to find commonsense, longer-term solutions that do not disproportionately hurt people in rural areas who depend on their post office or those on fixed incomes that can’t afford the gas to drive longer distances. As your Congressman, I will keep listening to you and fighting for you in our nation’s capital and I will continue to monitor this issue very closely.

  • jo

    The main reason for the postal situation that no one talks about because of the postal gag order is that there are far too many in management with far too much downtime.For years too many suspect jobs were created for “friends”and when the econony tanked.the prefunding was implemented and because of internet use,the house of cards fell and the chickens came home to roost.

  • Hmmm

    Perhaps Mr. Ross could offer viable money saving alternatives in lieu of closing smaller offices. Perhaps he would agree to ending all current union agreements with an across the board wage and benefit cut? No, that might affect the voting base. Perhaps he could identify offices in other states where his colleagues have agreed closure is agreeable. Perhaps it is preferable to wait and see how people feel about closing offices once their wages fail to be deposited. Or perhaps he can sponsor a bill to place the USPS back on budget and he can vote on record. Or perhaps his entire plan is “Please don’t close offices in my district!”. The USPS has already heard that plan suggested by all the other congressmen too. Unfortunately it isn’t a viable alternative plan.

  • don’tgetsuckered

    Hmmm……….Dummm

  • Steven

    “The financial problems plaguing the U.S. Postal Service are due to failed management, inadequate planning and poor business practices – problems that closing a few post offices simply won’t fix.”
    All of those thing involve having way too many postal facilities
    and way too many employees dealing with the reduced volume of mail – the problem that has been ignored for the last 5 years. Perhaps raising first class postage by about $.05, which still keeps it way below any other country, might help?
    The only part of the USPS business that is growing is Standard mail, so please don’t throw the “raise junk mail” postage either! Doing that will cost a lot more private industry jobs to be lost than postal service jobs.

  • dougie

    It seems to me that when the PMG proposes an idea to save the USPS, another group opposes it. If the solution affects someone, that someone says find another solution. 5 day delivery and buyouts for the senior workers would solve so many problems. The rural areas could still receive mail on Sat. and the city areas would not. Buyouts would open up jobs for the younger workers. Everyone wins, don’t they?