Browsing: Postal Regulatory Commission

With stamp prices set to rise, legal challenges filed

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The price of a first-class stamp rises from 46 to 49 cents tomorrow and the cost of a host of other mail products and services will also increase following regulators’ decision last month to grant the U.S. Postal Service a temporary emergency rate increase. As FedLine noted a couple of days ago, both the U.S. Postal Service and a mailing industry coalition planned to contest (albeit for different reasons) the Postal Regulatory Commission’s ruling. In appeals Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, both camps followed through. You can read the USPS filing here…

Postal Service documents cast more light on rationale for Saturday delivery cut

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In announcing plans to end Saturday mail delivery, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe himself posed the key question yesterday: “Is this legal?” Donahoe’s answer, naturally, was yes, hinging on a rather complicated analysis of the impact of congressional spending legislation (more about that in a moment). Official U.S. Postal Service talking points obtained by Federal Times offer a more straightforward explanation: USPS leaders are under orders from the agency’s board to accelerate cost-cutting measures; they believe they have the authority to go to five-day mail delivery on their own; and they are hoping that Congress won’t take any action to stop…

Number of empty chairs on Postal Service board increasing

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As the U.S. Postal Service’s problems grow, its governing board is shrinking. The board, which is supposed to have 11 members, currently has eight and will lose another next week when Chairman Thurgood Marshall Jr. steps down, leaving it with just one more body than the six needed for a quorum to conduct business. As of today, however, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hasn’t scheduled  confirmation votes on three board nominations that have been awaiting action since summer. In an email, committee spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said she did not know the reason for the delay. Although there have…

Carper urges curbs on Postal Regulatory Commission travel

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Some seven months after inquiring about overseas travel by Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway, Sen. Tom Carper is pressing some recommended changes for the commission as a whole. So far, it’s not clear whether the five-member oversight panel will go along. In a Sept. 6 letter to Goldway, Carper questioned “the amount of time and resources devoted to international travel in recent years, particularly as the commission has struggled at times to fulfill its higher-priority statutory responsibilities in a timely manner.” He urged the PRC to limit such trips to what is “truly necessary” to fulfill its legal role…

Union loses bid to block mail processing plant consolidations

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In case anyone missed it, (this particular FedLine correspondent was away when the decision came down), the Postal Regulatory Commission last week officially dismissed a union complaint seeking to block the U.S. Postal Service’s downsizing of its mail processing plant network. The complaint, filed in June by the American Postal Workers Union, argued in part  that the Postal Service had first to receive an advisory opinion from the PRC on the proposed changes to first-class mail delivery standards that are accompanying the downsizing. But while that approach is “preferred,” it’s not mandatory, the five-member commission ruled in its 16-page order.…

Report: Post office closing appeals skyrocket

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Here’s at least one area where the U.S. Postal Service is showing some serious growth: The number of appeals of post office closings. From 2007 to 2009, there were exactly two such appeals. As of mid-May, the year-to-date total for fiscal 2012 was 126, or well above the 103 appeals filed in all of 2011, according to a new joint report from the inspectors general for the Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission. The increases shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the Postal Service has ramped up its efforts to get rid of under-performing P.O.’s. The tally for closures…

Story of one mail processing plant consolidation reveals possible pitfalls

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The U.S. Postal Service plans to close or consolidate about half of its 461 mail processing facilities during the next two years or so. Judging from a newly released after-action review of one recent downsizing, a bumpy road lies ahead both for postal employees and customers. The review, released today by the Postal Service’s inspector general, examines the consolidation of the Frederick, Md. Processing and Distribution Facility with the Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center between last October and January. Long story short: Service suffered and costs were higher than expected. One big mistake was scheduling the move during the Christmas…

Postal Service processing plant closures in jeopardy

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Don’t look now, but a key piece of the U.S. Postal Service’s downsizing drive this year is at risk of getting smoked before it even gets started. It’s the piece that involves closing or consolidating 48 mail processing plants in July and August. As part of that effort, the Postal Service is seeking a legally required advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission on a related proposal to revamp first-class mail delivery standards. The problem is that the commission doesn’t plan to issue that non-binding opinion until early September—after the downsizing is supposed to have been completed. That doesn’t sit…

Federal prosecutors decline to take Postal Regulatory Commission case

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It looks like the end of the road for a long-lived inquiry into possible misappropriation of funds by a (now former) Postal Regulatory Commission employee. In a new activity report covering the six-month period from October through March, the PRC’s inspector general said he referred the case to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who declined to prosecute. The matter dates back to a 2008 IG audit related to bookkeeping practices at the commission, a five-member panel that oversees the U.S. Postal Service. Among other no-nos, auditors flagged a non-interest-bearing checking account containing almost $192,000. That came as…

U.S. Postal Service cutback numbers: Handle with care

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When it comes to predicting the impact of its proposed mail processing plant cuts, the U.S. Postal Service has been throwing out some pretty big numbers that don’t always seem to jibe. Back in February, for example, a USPS spokesman said the downsizing would eliminate 35,000 jobs; under a revised plan unveiled this month, that figure dropped to 28,000. And while USPS officials have pegged the projected savings at about $2.1 billion, they’ve also used the figure, $4.1 billion. What gives? Well, it’s complicated and some of the figures are in flux, the Postal Service acknowledges. The estimated job effect,…

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