“The Commission supports the Postal Service’s efforts to become more efficient, but with regard to post offices, significant changes must be done within the framework of the legal requirement to provide universal service.” regulatory chair Ruth Goldway said in a statement Thursday. “The Advisory Opinion process is the opportunity for the public’s concerns…to be heard.”
This is the largest downsizing effort the finically troubled USPS has launched in its history. 3,700 post offices being considered for closing have been viewed as unprofitable, said USPS, which plans to replace about 2,500 of those sites with a “Village Post Office.” The new business model would mean service delivered via a clerk in a local store, gas station, library or town hall. Customers would be able to buy stamps and ship flat-rate packages at the sites, but little else.
USPS hopes to start closing sites beginning in January. The effort will affect the jobs of 4,500 postmasters, station managers, supervisors and clerks. Though some would be able to apply for USPS positions, others would lose their jobs outright.The regulatory commission will begin scrutinizing the USPS plans immediately, it said, as well as during its hearings, though the schedule has yet to be issued. As the commission noted, USPS is required by law to seek an advisory opinion on proposed changes to nationwide service. Changes can’t be enacted until 90 days after filing its request for that advisory opinion.The regulatory commission is taking public comment on its web site at www.prc.gov. and plans to announce its hearing schedule soon. ■