Lest anyone’s forgotten, today’s the day that the U.S. Postal Service kicks off its biggest campaign to close post offices since . . . the last one, which quickly flamed out two years ago.
At a 10 a.m. news conference, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is expected to release a list of more than 3,600 post offices that could be shuttered after a newly created review process. (That list is supposed to be up on the Postal Service’s web site at 10:30 a.m.) On Wednesday, the agency will ask the Postal Regulatory Commission to formally weigh in on its plans, according to the National Association of Postmasters of the United States, one of two postmaster groups already fighting the possible changes.
If this all sounds familiar, that’s because in 2009 the Postal Service started a review of some 3,200 post offices, which was then winnowed to 1,000 facilities that merited further study. But the backlash from the public and members of Congress was fierce. Out of almost 32,000 post offices, the agency is now in the process of shutting down about 140 (or roughly .4 percent of the total) under the initiative.
Since 2009, the Postal Service’s financial plight has worsened and Donahoe has replaced John Potter as postmaster general. For anyone handicapping how successful this latest streamlining attempt will be, the question is what, if anything, has otherwise changed.