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USPS cancels plans to close downtown Santa Fe PO

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján welcomed news that the U.S. Postal Service has agreed to shelve a proposal to move out of downtown Santa Fe and instead keep the post office at its current site on Federal Place.

Udall, Heinrich and Luján have been instrumental in working to keep the downtown post office open after questions were raised of the Postal Service and the General Services Agency (GSA) about whether a move out of the building would save money and meet the needs of the community. Located across the street from City Hall, the Federal Place building is an important anchor for downtown. Read More

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Darrell Issa cancels another “markup” hearing

Golly, what a surprise!

Today’s scheduled markup of postal reform before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been cancelled.

Postcom.org.

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Unions urge NO vote on latest Issa bill

apwulogoMay 6, 2014 – The presidents of the four postal employee unions – the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the NPMHU – have written to members of the House of Representatives, urging them to vote against a postal bill drafted by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). The bill is scheduled for consideration by the committee on Wednesday, May 7.

“We write on behalf of nearly 500,000 postal employees who live and work in every Congressional District in America to urge you to oppose the so-called ‘Administration’s Postal Reform Act of 2014,’” the presidents wrote. “If you serve on the Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee, we ask that you vote against the legislation on Wednesday. If you do not serve on the committee, we urge you to express your opposition to the bill.”

“The legislation drastically reduces service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “It ends Saturday mail delivery and promotes contracting out of retail services — including in outside retail establishments. It fails to protect service standards, and fails to address in any meaningful way the cause of the Postal Service’s manufactured financial crisis,” he said.

“Our organizations are committed to working with leaders in both parties to strengthen the Postal Service,” the letter says. “Unfortunately, the bill before the OGR Committee on Wednesday would severely weaken it. We urge your strong opposition.”

Click here for a summary of the bill.

Read more: Vote NO on Issa Bill | APWU.

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USPS says Outbox founders lied about meeting with PMG

Postal officials deny PMG Pat Donahoe ever told two “entrepreneurs” that “the American citizens aren’t our customers”. The so-called entrepreneurs, actually a pair of Republican political operatives with no business experience, made the outlandish charges in a story written by an associate of Darrell Issa, and published on a web site operated by a former aide to Mitt Romney. Evan Baehr and Will Davis presented themselves as “active, humble geniuses” whom were going to “save” the US Postal Service, only to be stymied by the wicked Postmaster General.

Now, Linns Stamp News reports that the USPS has denied the pair’s story:

A Postal Service statement issued May 1 rejected the quotes attributed to Donahoe, saying: “Outbox’s representations regarding the substance of the meeting, particularly the quotes attributed to the Postmaster General, are simply untrue.”

“The Postal Service is focused on providing an essential service in our mission to serve the American public and does not view Outbox as supporting that mission,” David Partenheimer, manager of media relations for USPS told Khanna.

“We do have concerns regarding the destruction of mail — even if authorized by the receiver — and will continue to monitor market activities to ensure protection of our brand and the value and security of the mail.”

Read more: Outbox mail service: from tech darlings to out of business – Linns.com.

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Issa’s latest bill would let USPS mandate centralized delivery, allow anyone to put stuff in your mailbox

110808_darrell_issa_605_apCongressman Darrell Issa, the self-appointed “watchdog” of the US Postal Service, has introduced yet another “reform” proposal. So far, none of Issa’s proposals have gotten much support, even from his own party- whether or not this one does remains to be seen.

Issa is obviously desperate to get someone, anyone, to back him. How desperate? He’s dropped the most outrageous provisions of his earlier bills, like the one that would have laid off any postal worker eligible for retirement, and he’s come up with what I’m sure he considers a master stroke- he claims his bill is actually Barack Obama’s idea.

Seriously.

Don’t believe me? According to the draft version, the bill’s title is “The Administration’s Postal Reform Act of 2014″. (You can’t make this stuff up!) Presumably he will present the bill as an incredibly clever “gotcha” moment that will provide him with some especially snide remarks to make at his next show trial committee hearing.

So what’s actually in “The Administration”‘s bill? A couple of items that have appeared in the administration’s budget proposals (but which have never actually been introduced as legislation), like allowing five day delivery, and some that the administration has expressed some support for, like reducing the PAEA trust fund mandate. But the items that will no doubt attract the most attention are ones that Issa himself admits were never proposed by “the Administration”:

  • The bill would allow the USPS to drop Saturday mail delivery, but would also allow “periodicals, newspapers and unstamped mail to be placed in mailboxes on days when the Postal Service does not provide mail delivery service“.
  • Requires the Postal Service to convert residential addresses from door delivery to curbside or centralized delivery on a voluntary basis where possible and authorizes the Postal Service to require such conversions in areas the Postal Service “deems appropriate.”
  • Permits the Postal Service to create a “Legacy Door Delivery Service” that allows residents to pay a fee to continue to receive door delivery if their addresses have been identified for conversion to curbside or centralized delivery.

If Darrell really wanted to pass a postal reform bill, he could do it tomorrow. Allowing the USPS to eventually drop Saturday delivery would be fought by postal workers, but would probably pass, as would reducing the PAEA mandate, allowing centralized delivery for new developments, etc. But if we’ve learned anything over the last couple of years, it’s that Darrell and his party aren’t really interested in proposing legislation that can pass both houses and be signed into law by the President.

So instead of a comprehensive postal reform package, we’ll continue to get bills like this one, designed not to solve problems, but to score points. Even minimal band-aid legislation will probably only become possible if the USPS actually approaches a cash flow crisis that endangers its ability to pay its employees and suppliers. At that point, Speaker Boehner might, as he has on rare occasions in the past, decide it’s better to cut his losses and allow legislation to reach the floor that could pass with the support of the Democrats and a minority of moderate Republicans. You know, by majority vote- the way we were told our Government worked back in Civics class- what a concept!