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Federal Eye
Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 03/20/2012

Sen. Susan Collins blasts postal reform proposals

The cost-saving measures proposed by the postmaster general would destroy the Postal Service, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Monday in a speech on the Senate floor.


An employee places change of address labels onto mail at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Merrifield, Va. (Andrew Harrer - BLOOMBERG)
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has proposed shuttering thousands of post offices, consolidating or closing 223 processing plants and ending Saturday delivery, retrenchment proposals Collins blasted during her remarks.

Collins said the post office and processing facility closures and delivery delays will drive away customers, further exacerbating the agency’s money woes.

“I fear that the Postmaster General’s approach would shrink the postal service to a level that will ultimately hasten its insolvency,” Collins said.

“The result will be the Post Service will sink into a death spiral from which it will be unable to recover,” she said.

During the remarks, Collins suggested the Postal Service move small post offices to local grocery stores, rent out portions of processing plants or reduce their footprints. The Postal Service could ship wine and beer, as competitors do, restructure its health plan and offer buyouts to 100,000 postal workers nearing retirement age. The points are included in a bill Collins has co-sponsored, along with Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.). The bill was introduced in November.

A processing plant in Collins’s home state is on the Postal Service’s list for possible closure. For that plant, in Hampden, Maine, the Postal Service proposes to shift processing operations to a facility in southern Maine, which could route some mail as far as 640 miles away from its destination, Collins said.

“But sadly...the postmaster general is instead proceeding with a drastically flawed plan as is evidenced by the recent announcement of draconian processing plant closures.”

By Timothy R. Smith  |  10:55 AM ET, 03/20/2012

 
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