Commission begins review of USPS closures

Friday - 7/29/2011, 10:45am EDT

By Emily Kopp
Reporter
Federal News Radio

The Postal Regulatory Commission is reviewing the U.S. Postal Service's plan to study and possibly close about 3,700 post offices nationwide.

The commission plans to hold public hearings and solicit public feedback through its website.

"The Commission supports the Postal Service's efforts to become more efficient, but with regard to post offices, significant changes must be done within the framework of the legal requirement to provide universal service," PRC Chairman Ruth Goldway said in a written statement.

USPS is required to ask the PRC for an advisory opinion on any changes in nationwide service.

The Postal Service announced Tuesday its plan to review 12 percent of its retail stores for closure, saying it needed to "optimize" its retail network. Mail volume has shrunk 20 percent over the past five years as more people use email to conduct business, buy stamps at their local grocery stores and retailers, and use the USPS website rather than brick-and-mortar post offices.

"We are confident that many of the identified facilities will be found to be critical for continuance of service in many parts of the country," said Louis Atkins, president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, in a written statement.

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