Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia

BISHOP JOINS OTHERS IN FIGHTING POTENTIAL POST OFFICE CLOSINGS

Feb 21, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) has co-signed a bipartisan letter from over 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe calling on him to institute a moratorium on U.S. Postal Service (USPS) discontinuance studies, which will determine if more than 3,600 post offices and other mailing facilities should be closed. The letter cites a Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) report that points to deep flaws with the data used by the USPS to determine which postal facilities should be considered for closure.

“It would be unjust and irresponsible for the U.S. Postal Service to initiate a nationwide closure of thousands of post offices based on flawed and incomplete data analyses,” said Congressman Bishop. “The livelihoods and economic solvency of thousands of working families, seniors and small businesses in Middle and Southwest Georgia are directly linked to their accessibility and frequent utilization of their local post offices. Therefore, it is imperative that the Postmaster General halt all discontinuance studies.”       

The letter outlines several problems cited by the PRC's report on the USPS Retail Access Optimization Initiative (RAOI), including:

  • Incomplete data for all Post Offices, branches and stations. Currently, the USPS does not have inclusive data for every individual office, branch or station, which makes it impossible to accurately calculate cost savings from proposed closures.
  • Inaccurate representations of usage and revenues for all Post Offices, branches and stations. For example, revenue measurements do not include transactions such as post office box visits, exceptional dispatch for local periodicals, or alternate revenue transactions such as business mail or returns.
  • Estimates of the distance between postal facilities that are undergoing a discontinuance study and others nearby that would be required to absorb the consumer base use geographical distance rather than actual driving distance. While the discontinuance study may address this issue, the RAOI needs to provide this information at a preliminary stage so accurate assessments can be used to inform which Post Offices, branches or stations are eligible for a discontinuance study.
  • The low workload and revenue screen included in the RAOI disproportionately targets rural post offices for discontinuance studies. Targeting rural post offices for discontinuance studies clearly violates 39 U.S.C. 101(b), which maintains that the USPS is required to provide effective and regular postal service to rural communities.

The full text of the  letter follows:

Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General
United States Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-0010

Dear Mr. Donahoe:

We understand that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is facing acute financial difficulties, and as a result, has made the decision to begin the process of closing thousands of postal facilities. We share your concern about the solvency of the USPS and its future as our nation's postal service.

Recently however, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) reviewed the Postal Service's Retail Access Optimization Initiative (RAOI), which is being used as the basis for the possible closure of more than 3,600 post offices and other retail facilities, and found serious flaws with the analysis that call into question the USPS's current consolidations plans. We share the concerns of the PRC, and ask for you to place a moratorium on the USPS's current discontinuance studies until the USPS resolves the numerous problems the PRC identified in the RAIO. These include:

  • Incomplete data for all Post Offices, branches and stations. Currently, the USPS does not have inclusive data for every individual office, branch or station, which makes it impossible to accurately calculate cost savings from proposed closures.
  • Inaccurate representations of usage and revenues for all Post Offices, branches and stations. For example, revenue measurements do not include transactions such as post office box visits, exceptional dispatch for local periodicals, or alternate revenue transactions such as business mail or returns.
  • Estimates of the distance between postal facilities that are undergoing a discontinuance study and others nearby that would be required to absorb the consumer base use geographical distance rather than actual driving distance. While the discontinuance study may address this issue, the RAOI needs to provide this information at a preliminary stage so accurate assessments can be used to inform which Post Offices, branches or stations are eligible for a discontinuance study.
  • The low workload and revenue screen included in the RAOI disproportionately targets rural post offices for discontinuance studies. Targeting rural post offices for discontinuance studies clearly violates 39 U.S.C. 101(b), which maintains that the USPS is required to provide effective and regular postal service to rural communities.

We strongly urge you to rectify these issues within the RAOI before proceeding with any discontinuance studies or closures. The closure of Post Offices, stations, and branches will undoubtedly affect communities and lead to the loss of middle class jobs. We remain dedicated to protecting our nation's postal service and ensuring that all communities are adequately served by the USPS.

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