The Postal Regulatory Commission has laid out an expedited schedule for considering the U.S. Postal Service’s plans to close up to about 3,650 post offices. The bottom line is that the public phase of the commission’s review will take about three months, with an advisory opinion presumably coming fairly soon after.
USPS attorneys filed the request for the opinion Wednesday, one day after releasing the list of retail facilities that the agency wants to study for shuttering. Nothing will be closed before late December, according to the filing, but members of Congress are already weighing in.
At a Thursday confirmation hearing for two PRC nominees—one of whom is already serving on the commission—Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., predicted that the potential downsizing will raise “heck” in rural America, and advised the Postal Service to look first at cutting compensation for top executives if it wants to save money.
The advisory opinion is required for any nationwide change of service. Although not legally binding, the final result could shape the political and public relations climate. In March, the Postal Service’s case for ending most Saturday delivery wasn’t helped when the PRC concluded in a separate opinion that the projected annual savings would amount to barely half of the $3.1 billion predicted by USPS officials.