Carper: PRC’s legitimacy and role endangered by delay in issuing advisory opinion

Senator Tom Carper today used the confirmation hearing for PRC nominee Tony Hammond to deliver a sharp rebuke to the Commission for its slow pace in coming up with advisory opinions, starting with the inconclusive decision on five day delivery, a year in the making, and continuing with the current USPS proposal for network redesign. The PRC doesn’t expect to deliver that opinion until well after the USPS has started implementation.

In the past, I’ve made no secret of my concerns about the Commission’s ability to fulfill its statutory role in addressing the Postal Service’s financial challenges. I’ve called on the Commission to speed up and improve the quality of its work on advisory opinions. The Commission’s opinion on the advisability of the Postal Service’s proposal didn’t appear for about a year and, in a lot of ways, created more questions than it answered.

We’re unfortunately now facing problems with another advisory opinion, this one involving proposed changes to the overnight delivery standard and mail processing facility closures. The Commission has indicated that it will not issue an advisory opinion on the Postal Service’s proposals until the summer. The Postal Service, meanwhile, has a right to act sooner and plans to act in May.

I recognize that there are a number of procedural hurdles the Commission must get past before issuing an advisory opinion. It’s unclear to me, however, why commissioners are unable to release even some preliminary findings before May. I don’t want the Commission to put out bad work or to just rubber stamp the Postal Service’s plan; I just want them to be heard, and for the Postal Service and Congress to have the benefit of their analysis and opinions before a major change in service is implemented.

The Postal Service says it is acting on its plans in May because it urgently needs to begin making adjustments to its network before the fall, when mail volumes will ramp up due to the holiday season and the upcoming elections. I want to see the same sense of urgency from the Commission as it goes about its business in the coming weeks and months. Otherwise, I fear that the legitimacy and the role of the Commission in these matters could be threatened.

Hearings | Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee.

  • M. Jamison

    Mr. Carper has been doing his best to discredit the PRC. The fact is that the Postal Service created a delay in N2012-1 by not filing sooner. They new at least three months earlier that their plans would require an advisory opinion but they chose not to file. The supposed delays in the five-day case would appear to be justified if one reads the opinion carefully. The Postal Service offered sloppy numbers that have been shown to be inaccurate both by the PRC and independent review of the GAO.
    If one examines the requests for late filings, the majority are filed on behalf of the USPS.
    Mr. Carper is pushing the PMGs agenda and it’s clear why they’re in a hurry – the current problems are clearly result of the PAEA (Carper’s bill) and absent the prefunding the problems are not nearly as bad as portrayed by the PMG. There’s a hurry to get to a point of no return in dismantling the Postal Service, a point which ultimately leads to privatization.

  • IMJUSTSAYIN

    i think carper is “in bed” with donahoe and his cronies. why not just respect the law and have pmg pat “dona-idiot” wait until after the prc issues its non-binding advisary opinion? if the post office dosen’t want to consolidate during the fall mailing season then wait till january.
    the problem is not with the postal regulatory commission but with donahoe and his “hitler” mentality that everything be his way or the highway and on his schedule. as others pointed out, carper- a bonafide member of the slowest, most incompetent, sluggish orginization on earth, our wonderful congress telling someone to hurry up is laughable!!!!

  • doorcoach

    Looking at the progression of events since last spring/summer, when the PMG appeared before Congress and stated the PO just needed their money returned to them and that would solve everything — there would appear to have developed a well-orchestrated campaign by a determined bloc in Congress, with the PMG signing on wholeheartedly, that is intent on doing precisely what you’ve said: dismantle the Postal Service, so that it can be privatized…..given Congress’ inability to agree on virtually anything, this has the ominous feeling of being a DONE DEAL.

  • Tom

    Carper’s priorities were more on delivery of wine and beer thru the USPS. Come on Carper.
    It’s time to innovate the USPS thru a blue ribbon committee on making the USPS a first class service to the American public. I agree with Rich.
    Get Congress off their behinds and get this done!
    Also, stop shilling for current mgmt (Donohue). USPS needs a visionary POSTAL CZAR!!!

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  • kingpin

    start taxing email for revene and paying bills online! That would generate there cash cow!