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View From The Hill: USPS is probably holding a meeting in your area

By Grace Boatright, National Grange Legislative Director (View From The Hill Blog 10/23/12)

  OCTOBER 23, 2012 --

The USPS is now beginning their effort to reduce operating hours at thousands of post office locations across the country. POST Plan, as the effort is called, is set to reduce hours at roughly 13,000 locations over the next couple of months. However, prior to implementing this initiative, the Postal Service will hold meetings at each impacted post office.

About 1,500 public meetings have already taken place, and another 7,000 or so are supposed to occur between now and mid-December. A list of those meeting times and locations can be found here: http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/assets/pdf/11032012.pdf 

Most of the meetings will take place in the lobby of the relevant post office. Most of the postal locations in POST Plan are located in smaller, rural areas, and will not be able to accommodate larger crowds. However, I’m sure the post office isn’t anticipating very large turnouts.

POST Plan implementation is set to begin with post offices that currently have a postmaster vacancy, which is roughly 5,000 right now as many postmasters have opted for early retirement. 

The Postal Service has indicated that one week after the meeting, they will announce their decision for that particular post office. Should they decide to simply reduce hours instead of closing the location altogether, the new hours will take affect 30 days later. The Postal Regulatory Commission is seeking comment in order to determine public opinion about POST Plan. That information can be found here: http://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1.

I’m not sure how decisions (if any) made during the lame duck session will affect POST Plan, but it’s pretty evident that the whole thing is occurring rather fast and without a lot of public attention. Congress has known about this problem for years now, and yet here we are.

Nonetheless, I encourage all of you to attend the meeting at your local post office and voice your opposition. Like I said, most of these closings and hour reductions will occur at rural post offices who can least afford to reduce service hours. Figure out when your meeting is taking place and inform your neighbors, friends, and others in the community.

Good luck.

-Grace Boatright
National Grange Legislative Director

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