Bennet: USPS 'Time-Out' Provides More Time to Evaluate Effects of Potential Post Office Closures

Announcement Comes on Heels of Several Bennet Efforts to Ensure USPS Reform Recognizes Impact on Rural Communities

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today announced that the USPS has issued a temporary “time-out” on post office closings that will provide more time for the Agency to examine potential effects of these closings on local communities and help Coloradans avoid frustrating and needless holiday season service interruptions.

This month, USPS issued a notice to all Area Vice Presidents, directing them to temporarily suspend all Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) implementations and post office closings beginning November 19, 2011 through January 2, 2012. While districts may proceed with the post office discontinuance process, the physical closing of a post office or the physical relocation of routes will be temporarily suspended during this window.

“Although we are not out of the woods yet and reforms to place the Postal Service on a more secure financial trajectory are absolutely needed, this temporary ‘time-out’ ensures that the USPS can step back and more closely evaluate the potential effects of post office closures on local communities,” said Bennet. “We have worked hard to communicate the important role post offices play in rural communities, and we hope the USPS uses this time-out to take a closer look at the potential effects of these closures on Colorado communities.”

This announcement comes on the heels of several Bennet efforts to ensure USPS reform takes into account potential impacts on rural communities.

Earlier this month, Bennet and Senator Mark Udall wrote a letter to Senate committee leaders urging them to consider western states and rural communities when exploring potential reforms to the U.S. Postal Service. In the letter, the Senators outlined priorities for reform that encourage innovation, take creative approaches to existing assets and maintain the competitive edge.

In June, Bennet and Udall sent a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General expressing concern over USPS location closures and consolidations that could make it more difficult for Coloradans to send letters and mail packages.

In September, they sent a letter to Ruth Goldway, chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, urging the Postal Regulatory Commission to carefully consider the effects of possible postal service closures on rural areas and small towns in Colorado and across the country.