Postal Service: Will Keep Rural Post Offices Open

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Postal Service is backing off of its plan to close as many as 3,700 low-revenue post offices sometime after next week.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, citing strong community opposition, now says the agency will maintain a part-time post-office presence in rural areas, with access to retail lobbies and post office boxes.

Under the new strategy, no post office would be closed -- but more than 13,000 rural facilities could see reduced operations of between two and six hours.

Communities would also have the option of closing a post office in one area while keeping a nearby one open full time. Another alternative would be creating a Village Post Office in which postal services are offered in libraries, government offices or local stores.

The mail agency says it expects to save more money from the new plan, partly by weeding out full-time postmasters and replacing them with part-timer workers. It plans to offer buyouts for the nation's more than 21,000 postmasters.

The agency has forecast a record loss of more than $14 billion by the end of the year. Without changes, it says losses will exceed $21 billion by 2016.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The struggling U.S. Postal Service is trying to tamp down concern over its wide-scale cuts, saying it will seek to keep hundreds of rural post offices open with shorter hours.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe tells a news conference the new plan will save the mail agency half a billion dollars each year while addressing concerns of rural residents most opposed to post office closings.

Previously, up to 3,700 low-revenue post offices were slated for closure or consolidation beginning sometime after May 15, many in rural areas. It was part of a multibillion-dollar postal cost-cutting effort to stave off the agency's bankruptcy.

The Postal Service now plans to seek regulatory approval for the new plan and get community input, a process that could take several months.

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