POStPlan Implementation: 5,600 offices under review, hours to be reduced at 500 on November 17


November 7, 2012

The Postal Service has provided NAPUS with a list of post offices impacted by the first phase of the implementation of POStPlan.  Some 13,000 post offices will be reviewed under POStPlan for reduced hours or discontinuance.  The list provided to NAPUS contains the first group of 5,742 post offices.  The NAPUS list is here; a Google table version is here; and a Google spreadsheet is here.  [Update: The Postal Service has released a newer version of the list, dated Nov. 8, 2012, with 5,873 post offices under review.  That list is here; a Google table version is here; and a Google spreadsheet is here.]

At nearly all of the phase-1 offices (5,568 of them), a meeting date has already been scheduled.  As of November 7, about 3,271 meetings have already taken place, with the remaining 2,400 or so scheduled for between November 8 and April 17.

The first post offices will see their hours reduced on November 17.  Here’s how the list breaks down so far by implementation date:

Implementation date
Number of Offices
11/17/12
495
1/12/13
643
1/26/13
316
2/9/13
185
2/23/13
98
3/9/13
36
3/23/13
10
4/6/13
14
4/20/13
2

The list of 5,700 offices includes about 1,500 post offices that had a postmaster vacancy when POStPlan was first announced back in May.  As best as we’ve been able to determine from previous lists made public by the Postal Service, there were something like 2,200 offices with a vacancy.  That would mean there are about 700 offices that didn’t have a postmaster as of May that are yet to be scheduled for review.

The list of 5,700 looks as though it includes about 4,000 post offices where a postmaster vacancy developed after POStPlan was announced.  Something like half of these are probably offices where the postmaster took the retirement incentive during the summer; the other half are offices where the postmaster left to take another position within the Postal Service (like a position that opened up after a postmaster retired).  Those are just estimates since the Postal Service announced that about 4,000 postmasters took the buyout, but it didn't say how many worked at POStPlan offices and how many worked at offices not impacted by POStPlan.

The Postal Service has made a decision to reduce the hours for 2,417 offices, leaving about 3,300 where a decision has not been made.  In nearly every case, the decision was to reduce the hours. 

There are eight post offices, however, where the decision was to study the post office for discontinuance.  Those offices are: Knoxboro, New York; Hayesville, Iowa; Seville, Georgia; Paoli, Colorado; Lees Creek, Ohio; Perks, Illinois; Fowlerton, Indiana; and New Trenton, Indiana.  There’s no word yet on why these eight communities will be studied for closure rather than having the hours reduced.  [Update: The new list released Nov. 8 contains one additional office being studied for discontinuance: Collins, Wisconsin.] 

In the meantime, in Great Cacapon, West Virginia, where a decision had been made to reduce the hours at the post office, a nonprofit organization named AdvoCare has filed a complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission.  The complaint alleges that the POStPlan violates Title 39 because it discriminates among users of the mail, because the decision to reduce the hours was “arbitrary and capricious” (the Great Cacapon post office actually brings in a considerable amount of revenue), and because the Postal Service was intentionally deceptive in its survey and nonresponsive in other ways.

The PRC has already given its blessings to POStPlan in an advisory opinion, so it’s not likely that the Commission will determine that anything in the plan violates Title 39.  But the complaint is very thorough and makes some good points, so it will be interesting to see how the Postal Service and the PRC respond.

The PRC website has a message from Chairman Ruth Goldway inviting comments from the public about how the implementation of POStPlan is going.  If you’d like to share your experiences, you’re encouraged to contact the PRC’s office of Public Affairs and Government Relations at:

Phone:  202-789-6800
 Fax: 202-789-6891.

(Image credit: Great Capacon, WV post office)

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