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Postal Service gets anemic response to EAS early retirement offer

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The U.S. Postal Service may have its problems, but they evidently aren’t severe enough to persuade many supervisors and administrators to jump at an early retirement offer.

Out of 3,594 Executive and Administrative Schedule employees eligible for the package, just 186 signed up by the Nov. 19 deadline, according to Postal Service figures provided today.

The package—standard for the federal government–allows employees to retire early if they are at least 50 years old with a minimum of 20 years’ service, or any age with at least 25 years’ service. Unlike recent early retirement offers to postmasters, mail handlers and clerks, however, this one was not coupled with a cash incentive (i.e., buyout).

“If there was an incentive, you could have gotten a lot more,” Louis Atkins, president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, said in an interview. But because there are already plenty of vacancies in EAS ranks, he said, “it would have been very difficult to convince Congress that they needed that.” Factor in the shaky economy and the fact that Civil Service Retirement System participants under 55 take a penalty for retiring early, and Atkins wasn’t surprised at the low number of takers.

The Postal Service had unveiled the offer in September, saying at the time that about 3,300 employees were eligible. Those who have accepted must leave by year’s end. But Atkins was confident that more EAS early retirement offers are coming next year as the Postal Service resumes mail processing plant closures and consolidations.

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