In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, David J. Brown, Executive Vice President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, accused the US Postal Service of “blatantly ignoring” Congress and the President in going ahead with the sale of the historic Bronx NY Post Office:
The House Appropriations Committee included language in the federal appropriations bill that was signed into law by President Obama in January urging the United States Postal Service to place a moratorium on the sale of its properties. By moving ahead with the Bronx post office sale — and the sale of other historic post offices across the country — the Postal Service is blatantly ignoring this recommendation.
Though nonbinding, the appropriations bill clearly indicates Congress’s intention that the Postal Service call off all sales of post offices until the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Postal Service’s own Office of Inspector General can evaluate the Postal Service’s current process for transferring ownership of its buildings. Despite repeated requests from elected officials, preservation groups and local citizens, the Postal Service has not come forth with a clear and consistent process for selling properties that it no longer needs.
Read more: Endangered Post Offices, on Main Street, U.S.A. – NYTimes.com.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 – Sen. Bernie Sanders today issued the following statement on a Postal Service reform bill introduced late Thursday in the Senate that could end Saturday and door-to-door mail delivery and close mail processing plants:
“While I have a great deal of respect for Sens. Carper and Coburn, the Postal Service bill that they introduced is significantly weaker than the bill that passed the Senate last year with 62 votes. That makes no sense. Over a short period of time, the Carper-Coburn bill will allow the Postal Service to shut down over half of the mail processing plants in this country, end Saturday delivery and even deliver mail fewer than 5 days a week.
“In the midst of a severe recession, this bill would lead to the elimination of tens of thousands of decent-paying jobs – many of them held by military veterans. That is why I have introduced the Postal Service Protection Act with 28 cosponsors, a bill that would sustain the Postal Service, avert unnecessary closures and save American jobs. Similar legislation introduced in the House by Rep. DeFazio now has 166 cosponsors.
“The Postal Service is an institution of enormous importance to the American people. It must be preserved and protected. About 80 percent of the financial problems of the Postal Service are the result of an unprecedented and onerous mandate that forces it to pay 75 years of future retiree health benefits over a 10-year period.
“While we all understand that the Postal Service is experiencing financial problems today and that changes need to be made, providing fewer services and poorer quality is not the way to save the Postal Service. That is why I am strongly opposed to this legislation.”
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and members of the Postal Headquarters leadership team updated leaders of NAPUS, League of Postmasters, and NAPS on the financial condition of the Postal Service today. The overall financial picture of the USPS remains bleak, as First-Class mail volume continues to decline, with a current net loss of $5.6 Billion, and a year-end projected loss of $9 Billion.
Following the financial briefing, presidents of the three postal management associations requested time to discuss the impact on Postmasters and other supervisory personnel who may be impacted by the recently announced discontinuance study of more than 3,500 postal facilities. NAPUS President Bob Rapoza asked if impacted Postmasters would face layoffs and he was told that while the possibility of some layoffs may exist, the Postal Service has an obligation to provide the same protection for all employees and they would do everything possible to find landing spots for Postmasters.
Postal leaders committed to consider RIF Avoidance and Voluntary Early Outs (VER) as part of the process to reduce the need for layoffs. USPS Headquarters officials said they were committed to maintaining a good working relationship with the management organizations and would include them throughout the process.
Postmasters whose offices are on the Discontinuance Feasibility Study list are reminded that the current procedures could require several months before a post office could actually be closed. The Postal Service has introduced proposed revisions to the Discontinuance timelines which would allow the closing of a facility within 138 days, but that recommendation is not yet effective.
Postmasters who may be impacted by the Discontinuance Feasibility Study should remember that some of the offices on the review list may not be closed. Impacted Postmasters are encouraged to check the NAPUS website for updates on what will happen if their office is scheduled to be closed.
July 27, 2011