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Report: Post office closing appeals skyrocket

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Here’s at least one area where the U.S. Postal Service is showing some serious growth: The number of appeals of post office closings.

From 2007 to 2009, there were exactly two such appeals. As of mid-May, the year-to-date total for fiscal 2012 was 126, or well above the 103 appeals filed in all of 2011, according to a new joint report from the inspectors general for the Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission.

The increases shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the Postal Service has ramped up its efforts to get rid of under-performing P.O.’s. The tally for closures this year (also as of mid-May) stood at 537, almost four times the number in 2010.

Anyone served by a post office targeted for demise can appeal to the PRC within 30 days of a final USPS decision. The commission can then uphold the closing, send the case back to the Postal Service for reconsideration, or dismiss the appeal on the grounds that it was filed late or for some other technical reason.

Perhaps to the relief of PRC staff, the Postal Service in May backed off a plan that could have resulted in more than 3,000 additional post office shutdowns. Instead, after getting an earful from members of Congress, USPS officials are opting to cut customer service “window” hours at many post offices.

The paperwork in closing appeals can be voluminous.  Given the cost of legal services (even those provided by in-house attorneys), the expense of processing individual cases appears surprisingly low. Between the Postal Service and PRC, the average cost ranges from about $3,171 to $3,861, the report found. But the Postal Service, recognizing that it lacks the manpower to handle the estimated workload, has issued a statement of work for a one-year litigation support contract.  Exactly how much it plans to pay, though, is unclear. The contract’s “not-to-exceed” value was blacked out of the publicly released version of the report.

 

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Comments

  1. Sulli Says:
    July 16th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Under performing????? We are one of the top 5 in the country with multiple awards and we are being rolled into and UNDER PERFORMING office. Why, because our building is paid off and theirs is not. Why…politics…Why..NOT because we are under performing.

  2. Thomas Says:
    July 16th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    It always baffles me when the words under performing
    arise. The Post Office was designed as a service by the US Government for the United States public. How many other Government agencies are underperforming that proved a service to the public?
    There are many government agencies that let the staff leave early the day before a holiday. Try that with the underperformers at the post office and see how that affects your mail.

  3. Reality Says:
    July 17th, 2012 at 7:31 am

    The mantra that USPS is a service is quite correct but the unspoken words that are always omitted is “self supporting”. That was the premise of removing it from political patronage and allowing public sector unions. The fact is the government cannot, or will not, resume paying the bloated costs of USPS on budget. So costs need to be cut, like military bases. Everyone agrees someone else needs to make a sacrifice. Young people have no interest in the future of the “snail mail”. These same concerns were made by Ma Bell employees of “telephones for all” when cell service was born. Ask a telephone operator how they felt about digital switching equipment. Progress destroys some industries and creates new ones, like Apple. Cities have ALWAYS paid for rural offices, especially those in extremely remote locations served by boat, airplane, burro, etc. You want mail, move closer to civilization. It really is that simple folks. The USPS will fade into history along with the baby boomers, which is right around the corner!

  4. mj Says:
    July 17th, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Ya don’t miss the water till the wells run dry. When the PO starts laying off you will know for sure that it indeed is a Depression in USA. Have a nice day.

  5. Jim Says:
    July 18th, 2012 at 7:36 am

    It is sad to say, but the Reality post on the future of the USPS is probably the truth. 80% of postal workers and their managers are good workers and people. It’s unfortunate the 20% of underperformers are still employed, but this is a case of new technology replacing the old. The real death of the USPS was the inability of the management team to foresee and adapt to the communication changes in society. The big unions and the 20 percenters also did themselves no favors. The workforce should have been streamlined years ago. Most Americans have heard the horror stories. A postmaster assigned to every two bit PO in the nation? Massive overtime hours paid for standing around and not working at the big sorting centers? Well above average workers compensation claims? The workforce/unions can blame management and vice-versa, but both sides have sunk the ship.

  6. Andrew Kearney Says:
    July 18th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    What Reality says is that you should all move to where the mail is. So, if you enjoy living in a rural area you don’t deserve mail service. I guess the same would go for food then right? Why should people truck food to you. Move to where it is as well. The Postal Service provides people to live anywhere they want and enjoy the benefits of mail delivery like anyone else. That is why our founding fathers thought it should be protected in the Constitution,

  7. Reality Bites Says:
    July 18th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    “The mantra that USPS is a service is quite correct but the unspoken words that are always omitted is ‘self supporting’ … The fact is the government cannot, or will not, resume paying the bloated costs of USPS on budget. So costs need to be cut, like military bases.”

    Reality doesn’t get it. The USPS has been self-supporting for 30 years until congress taxed them $5 billion a year for people that now may never be hired. Without that unnecessary payout the USPS would be profitable! The ONLY government agency that makes a profit at all is the postal service. Late 2009 congress changed that.

    “Everyone agrees someone else needs to make a sacrifice.” The sacrifice needed is to eliminate a payment to a fund that is already rich enough to support itself. Retirement for workers not yet hired. (close the USPS/ privatize it where do you think the money in this fund will go?)

    “Young people have no interest in the future of the ‘snail mail’.” If you buy anything online you better worry about how it gets shipped to you. Become aware of the competitive practices of the companies to remove a protected resource like delivery to every citizen in the country.

    “These same concerns were made by Ma Bell employees of “telephones for all” when cell service was born. Ask a telephone operator how they felt about digital switching equipment. Progress destroys some industries and creates new ones, like Apple.” Progress doesn’t necessarily create or destroy service industries, you need the service. Progress changes the efficiency or route those services take. Progress should add to the availability of a service. These changes are denegrating and destroying needed and valuable community service.

    “Cities have ALWAYS paid for rural offices, especially those in extremely remote locations served by boat, airplane, burro, etc. ” Then why close them for profits sake? It’s just not true.

    “You want mail, move closer to civilization. It really is that simple folks. ” Your solution is to move your family and work to a home closer to the services hub?

    “The USPS will fade into history along with the baby boomers, which is right around the corner!” Then where will you move to?

  8. JS Says:
    July 19th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Let UPS and FedEx operate under Congress and see how long they remain profitable. UPS/FedEx DO NOT want to travel every road in the US whether there is mail to deliver or not, just incase one person has the red flag up for mail pick up! Currently, FedEx and UPS take packages to the Post Office for delivery to rural addresses.

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