The Postal Regulatory Commission is is an independent government agency charged with oversight of the Postal Service. Ruth Y. Goldway is the chairman of the Commission, and she testified before the Senate yesterday (May 22, 2011). A key part of her statement concerned the closings of post offices across the country. She made two key points: (1) the Postal Service has already gone too far in its closing process without first getting an Advisory Opinion from the Commission, and (2) the Postal Service is ignoring the public’s rights to notification and participation in the closing process. Here’s an excerpt from her statement (here‘s the full statement):
“The Postal Service has said that it plans to request an Advisory Opinion within months related to the closing of a large number of post offices nationwide. It is apparent, however, from the volume of news reports and customer inquiries received by the Commission from around the country that the Postal Service is already taking substantial action to close post offices or evaluate them for closure. The Postal Service has not provided details of this activity to the Commission.
“I am concerned that the Postal Service should not be undertaking nationwide service changes without first requesting an Advisory Opinion. Their suggested timing of such a request may obfuscate the purpose and intent of Congress in requiring such Advisory Opinions.
“The Commission has provided comments to the Postal Service’s Federal Register filing regarding changes to the closings process, as well as in an Advisory Opinion on Station and Branch Closings. I am concerned the public’s rights to notification and participation in the closing process are now ignored. The Postal Service is a government monopoly with obligations to all its citizens, not only a delivery service for business mailers — as important as that may be to our nation’s economy.
“Effective regulatory oversight is especially vital when the entire mail system faces major changes. The Commission ensures transparency, accountability and adequate service levels and supports positive changes needed to keep the Postal Service vital and relevant.”