In Meeting With PMG, Sen. Brown Pushes To Minimize Ohio Closures, Preserve Rural Post Offices, And Maintain Six Day Delivery

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With proposed U.S. Postal Service (USPS) office closures looming, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) met today with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to push the USPS to minimize the closure of processing centers and postal offices in Ohio, preserve rural post offices, and maintain six-day mail delivery.

“The local post office is more than just a place for Ohioans to drop off mail. In many communities, especially rural towns, they serve as town centers—and they provide good jobs for local residents,” Brown said. “The closure of dozens of postal processing centers and post offices would be devastating for thousands of Ohioans and could have a serious impact on local economies. I urge Postmaster Donahoe to do all he can to minimize closures in Ohio and maintain six-day delivery as Congress works on legislation to bring the USPS back to fiscal solvency.”

Brown is a cosponsor of the Postal Service Protection Act, which preserves Saturday mail delivery, restricts the closure of rural and urban post offices, and protects mail processing facilities to ensure maintenance of timely service. The legislation would address the most immediate financial problem facing the postal service by eliminating the unique requirement that the postal service pre-fund 75 years worth of future retiree health benefits in just 10 years. This mandate costs USPS between $5.4 and $5.8 billion per year, accounting for the Postal Service’s $20 billion in losses from 2007-2008.

Recently, the USPS announced plans to close nine Mail & Processing Distribution Centers (P&DC) in Ohio despite a moratorium aimed at preventing consolidation until Congress passes postal reform legislation, Brown called on the USPS to halt consolidation.  In December 2011, the U.S. Senate and USPS agreed to a five-month moratorium on closing postal facilities, providing Congress more time to enact postal reform legislation. Under the terms, the Postal Service would use the time to study the impact of proposed closures on service and costs and to solicit community input. Last month, Brown sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to call for quick action to save jobs and maintain service for Ohio families and small businesses.

One hundred and twenty post offices and ten mail processing facilities were initially targeted for closure in Ohio, and Brown has sent multiple letters to Postmaster General Patrick Donohue outlining concerns with the closures, which could lead to significant job losses, delayed mail, and deteriorated service. Brown has also sent representatives to public hearings across Ohio in recent months to stand with local residents in opposition to these closures.

According to studies by the Hay Group and the Segal Company, the postal service has overpaid at least $50 billion into its pension plans. Because of these overpayments, USPS has been forced to subsidize retirement accounts for the entire Federal government. This bill would allow USPS to recover these pension overpayments to both fund its retiree health benefits and cover its operational expenses

Specifically, the Postal Service Protection Act would:

  • Fix the immediate fiscal problem of the postal service by allowing the postal service to recover the overpayments it made to its retirement programs. Additionally, this bill would allow the postal service to recover the overpayments that it has made to its pension plans.
  • Establish new ways the Post Office can generate revenue, by ending the prohibition on USPS providing non-postal services, such as:
    • •    Providing notary services, new media services, issuance of licenses (drivers licenses, hunting licenses, fishing licenses)
      •    Contracting with state and local agencies to provide services
      •    Shipping wine and beer
      •    Encouraging innovative ways to address the shift toward electronic mail and away from hard-copy mail
  • Prevent the closure of rural post offices by giving the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) binding authority to prevent closures based on the effect on the community and the effect on employees. Right now, the Postal Regulatory Commission only has the authority to review a decision to close, but it does not have any binding authority to prevent the closure, even if it finds it was flawed. The bill would also ensure more transparency in the closure process by requiring USPS to inform the communities that are being studied for closure
  • Protect six-day delivery
  • Protect mail-processing facilities by ensuring strict standards for delivering first-class mail delivery on time that would make it more difficult to close area mail processing facilities.
  • Sam

    We need to have other groups than Dona-ho’s cronies tell us what changes need to be made to the Postal Service.

    Even if the prefunded retirement is given up it will only be a matter of time before the postal service fails if other changes are not made. Giving up the prefunded retirement will only mean no retirements when it fails.

    If the retirements are not prefunded and there is no Postal Service what do think they will pay for retirements with?

    The people who are going to be affected need to organize. No one cares what 100 people think about the future of the Postal Service. They do care what 100,000 organized people think.

    So organize and build a better plan for the future of the Postal Service don’t let Dona-ho do it for you.

  • Jason McNeill

    agree

  • tony

    Typical democratic union shill. If it was his business and bottom line, he’d have a different take. “Oh yeah, I’m happy to lose billions every year just so you have a place to run into one another and shoot the breeze! Can I give you some free money, too?”

  • give me a break

    Hey Senator Brown get a clue. Congress was supposed to act during the moratorium and it didn’t.

    The chances of Congress doing anything this session is slim to none.

  • nomoreaboutitthanyou

    Hey Tony, it is people like you who have been brainwashed into thinking the Republicans stand for the people and the Democrats just want to spend, spend, spend. You do realize that it was a Republican contolled Congress that got the USPS into this mess in the first place don’t you? Or how about Republicans Issa and Ross attempting to destroy the USPS by their legislation? And by blocking legislation that would keep the USPS on firm ground? How about the fact that the USPS isn’t asking for “FREE MONEY”, but their own money they overpaid into their federal retirees health plan? People like you, I just have to ask. What in the world has the Republican Party done for the economy or the people since taking control of the House? Nothing! What will they do this year? Nothing again! Keep your bias towards the Democratic Party, and pray you are the 1%! Oh, and please read on an issue before speaking!

  • nomoreaboutitthanyou

    As far as Senator Brown goes… at least he is trying! Do you want him to give up?

  • Grubby

    Dennis Ross is a stupid-poopy head!!

  • MlpsMinnairport

    nomoreaboutthenyou is absolutely correct. Why exactly was the pre-fund mandated? Look behind the scenes people. No other agency was mandated.The USPS is subsidizing ALL other federal pensions. Read that again. The USPS employees are subsidizing all the other Federal pensions. Yet we tax no tax payer money. Think about that.

  • MlpsMinnairport

    Excuse me that is ” receive no tax payer monies”

  • tony

    hey moreaboutitthanyou, you completely miss the point. Irrespective of how the current situation came about, Congress collectively hasn’t done, and isn’t doing, squat about it. So, that leaves the USPS with a choice: keep losing money to the tune of billions per year, or do something about it. BTW, if you know so much you must know we don’t even have the choice of continuing to lose, because we’re at our debt cap, which means no more red ink on paper. That means we have no money in our account. That means we don’t pay bills and payroll. That means we close the doors. It’s not business as usual. Go stick your head in the sand next to Sherrod Brown.

  • abused mailman

    Congress had time to act and did………….ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Let the PMG do his thing and Congress will be held accountable