Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, Ruth Goldway, announced that the Commission was challenging the methodology employed by the U.S. Postal Service assessment that resulted in their recent decision to identify more than 3,600 post offices that will be closed. In a 133 page report the Commission found that the “selection process ignored whether an alternate post office was nearby and which closures would reduce costs the most and lacked sufficient data and analysis to make the best decisions.” (www.washingtonpost.com12/29/11)
Chairman Goldway found, that the methodology used in the assessment of closures needs to be challenged. “They had a simple screening process. But it did not optimize the choices. They don’t have really good data that tells them which post office will continue to grow or be on a downhill path.” According to the law, the Postal Service is required to ask regulators for a formal opinion on the closure plan. The opinion is not binding but can influence how Congress assesses a policy.
According to the Washington Post, rural post offices would be most targeted for closure based on the limited amounts of annual revenues they generated in comparison to urban post offices. The Commission, however, “found the basis of such closures far too limited and devoid of a variety of options that might be considered.”
Illinois Senators Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) and Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) met with Post Master General Donahue regarding the impact of closures on Quincy, Rockford, Springfield, and Carbondale, Illinois. An estimated 1,800 workers would have been negatively impacted.
In response to the threat of job loss, Illinois Senator Durbin, stated, “These consolidations studies have created a lot of uncertainty across Illinois communities that are already struggling in difficult economic times. Senator Kirk and Congressman Manzullo and I stressed our concern over the postal service proposals that would cause our state to lose hundreds of good paying jobs…Closing these facilities without solid evidence of cost savings and community impact would be unacceptable.” (www.durbin.senate.govand Ellen Cannon, lodeplus.com, “Durbin, Kirk, Manzullo Fight to Keep Post Jobs In Illinois”)
Senator Kirk, who is concerned with government economy and efficiency together with Illinois employment, expressed concern about the potential for job loss as well. He noted that while the Postal Service must be economical, “We need to ensure the facilities are not haphazardly closed. With unemployment already high in Rockford, the Postal Service needs to justify why the facility needs to be closed, particularly considering the community’s size and geographic location.” The Postal Service is considering moving the Rockford facility to Madison, Wisconsin.(Ellen Cannon, lodeplus.com”Durbin, Kirk, Manzullo Fight to Keep Post Jobs In Illinois)
Rep. Manzullo has a long history of advocating for jobs in Illinois. In response to the potential closings in Northern Illinois as well, he said, “It makes no sense to close the Rockford mail processing center as the people of Northern Illinois deserve to continue having overnight mail service. It is critical to our economy and we cannot accept the massive delays that would be caused by moving Rockford’s mail processing operation.”
The Commission noted that “Although the Postal Service predicts the closings would save about $200 million annually, it could not provide revenue and expense information to back up that assertion.” (www.washingtonpost.com12/29/11)