Postal Regulatory Commission unveils new rules for handling post office closing appeals


Closing post offices isn’t popular and the Postal Regulatory Commission has the workload to prove it. From July to the present, the number of pending appeals awaiting PRC action skyrocketed from 14 to 113. Small wonder, then, that the commission is reworking what Chairman Ruth Goldway calls a 35-year-old system.

Under newly unveiled rules, postal customers can submit petitions and supporting documentation in “plain language,” Goldway said in a news release today. Among other changes, the new procedures will ease requirements for petitioners who file appeals, but don’t use the Internet; allow people to file comments without formally intervening; and give participants more time to respond to U.S. Postal Service filings. The revamped procedures, which are also supposed to save the commission money, will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

As the PRC acknowledges, however, action on more controversial proposed changes is being postponed for now. And the commission could still face a fresh deluge of appeals later this year if the U.S. Postal Service delivers on plans to shutter up to several thousand post offices.  Following a congressional backlash, USPS leaders have halted all closings–but only until May 15.

[Revised Jan. 26 to reflect updated number of pending appeals.]


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  1. I’m glad the PRC is making it easier for the public to respond to the Services proposed PO closings. Many wouldn’t mind reduced hours, but still need a FULL SERVICE POST OFFICE in their area. The APC’s and Village Post Offices don’t offer all the services many people need and it’s a hardship for them to get transportation to a full service location.

    If the Postal Service really wants to save money, yet provide service to the public, it should go ahead and look into eliminating Postmaster positions in the smaller AO’s they’re looking to close and put a Clerk in Charge position in instead. A postmaster or supervisor from a larger AO would be in charge of issuing stamp stock from the main vault to the sales floor and doing any required inventories and audits. Also, there would be only 1 full time clerk assigned to each location with perhaps a couple of clerks from a larger AO in the area to cover AL and SL.
    I know this proposal has been put out there before, but maybe it’s time to look at it more seriously.

  2. The idea of putting a clerk in a smaller office has been tossed about for years. There are problems to this idea. The Postal Service will not eliminate the Postmaster thus reducing their management compliment and saving money, they will just put him/her on a detail and place them somewhere else within their organization. Also, the clerk in charge idea has been tried before and the APWU fought it stating that it was a middle management position and you would have a clerk in essence doing a management job, ie. records keeping, accountability for postal items, including the contents of the building which this clerk will be working in. If there are more than one clerk in that building the clerk in charge will then have to ‘direct and instruct’ those placed subordinate to him/her which time and time again in arbitration has been designated as a management function. Also, we are accutely aware that management selects its candidates for these jobs not by qualifications, but by who happens to be their ‘buddy’ at that moment. It would be proper to state at this time that the American Postal Workers collective barganing agreement goes by ‘senority’. Jobs that are posted as ‘best quallified’ usually are earmarked for one of management’s ‘buddies’. You therefore can get into a situation where a junior clerk is ‘instructing and directing’ a senior clerk in what activities to perform. The best thing to do is just offer these smaller offices, if any are kept, up for lowest bid and let some civilian tell the postal sercive what they would operate the office for. DO NOT let the postal service review the bids but let a panel of non-postal business CEO’s review and select the winning bid. This will eliminate cost overruns since the winning bidder will be held to pre-established standards and confined to working within a budget of his/her creation.

  3. We have a main office and a station in my town. The clerk in the station is there by the usual bidding process, not by appointment. All the clerk does is the window services and Webats for the PO Boxes just any other clerk would do. The supervisor goes over at least once a week to issue stamp stock from the main vault to the sales floor and does the draw counts for that clerk and the back ups. There are several small offices in my area that could function the same way. If there were 2 clerks in the building then management would be in charge of making sure they each had their assignments and one wouldn’t be over the other. Most of the time there would only be one clerk there anyway. The only time we us two at the station is during the Christmas season to ensure that the box mail is posted on time. It is something that does warrant further study.

  4. Chris, you have an exceptional office. I spent 30 years with the Postal Service and 25 of those years I was a clerk. I was 204B on numerious ocassions but would never take a management position. It never ceases to amaze me that we the people know how to straighten out problems that exist within the postal service when those in charge and those in government are better at creating problems than solving them. I guess we are just not ‘committee minded’. I was told that I needed to be a ‘team player’ about 6 months before I retired and I told the Postmaster that told me that that when there was a team, the team leader always was a manager who got the credit when an idea suggested by the team worked, but let the idea fail and the team members get blamed. Did you know that the postal service spent 10 million dollars on an outside source to help them find out what their problems were? Had they only asked some of us old timers, we could have saved them a bundle of money. Remember Chris, longevity breeds arrogance and these are the most arrogant bunch you will ever encounter. When dealing with postal management always remember that no good deed goes unpunished and no good idea originated outside of management. Just be glad that while they are trying to figure out their mistakes, you and the employees you work with will still have jobs. This may take forever. O yea, it took me 8 months to finally get my retirement benefits after I retired, glad I didn’t need the money right then. At least they told us. We were also told to have between 6 and 12 months worth of money set aside for just such an occassion. Wonderful people these postal managers. I look for the postal service to go defunct by the end of 2012. I think government is tired of hearing management whine. On the bright side, it took them over 200 years to almost totally destroy the only government agency that actually provided a service to the public. Funny, when you take Service, out of Postal Service, you wind up with Postal.

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