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US Postal Service announces strategy

US Postal Service announces strategy
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service has announced a new strategy that could keep the nation’s smallest post offices — including six in Obion County — open for business, while providing a framework to achieve significant savings as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability.
The plan would keep the existing post offices in place without closures, but with modified retail window hours to match customer use. Access to the retail lobby and to post office boxes would remain unchanged and the town’s ZIP Code and community identity would be retained.
Under the proposal, the Kenton and Obion post offices would change from eight retail hours to six hours, while the Hornbeak, Rives, Samburg and Woodland Mills post offices would change from eight retail hours to four hours each.
The listing of hundreds of affected post offices nationwide indicated it is a preliminary list that will require additional review, analysis and verification and is subject to change.
The new strategy would be implemented over a two-year, multi-phased approach and would not be completed until September 2014. Once implementation is completed, the U.S. Postal Service estimates savings of a half-billion dollars annually.
The Postal Service will provide an opportunity for the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to review the proposed plan prior to making any changes. The Postal Service intends to file a request for an advisory opinion on the plan with the PRC later this month. Community meetings would then be conducted to review options in greater detail. Communities will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of these meetings.
This new option complements existing alternatives, which include:
• Providing mail delivery service to residents and businesses in the affected community by either rural carrier or highway contract route;
• Contracting with a local business to create a village post office; and
• Offering service from a nearby post office.
A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters was also announced.
The Postal Service has implemented a voluntary moratorium on all postal facility closings through May 15, 2012. No closings or changes to post office operations will occur until after that time.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Published in The Messenger 5.17.12