Postal Service will delay decision on closings until May

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The U.S. Postal Service, in response to a request made by multiple U.S. senators, has agreed to delay its decision whether to close or consolidate any post offices or mail processing facilities until May 15.

The Richard G. Wilson Processing and Distribution Facility in Cape Girardeau, with just more than 100 employees, is among 252 processing centers the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service announced in September it was considering closing.

The Postal Service will hold a public meeting to discuss its proposal to move mail processing operations from the Cape Girardeau distribution facility into the St. Louis Mail Processing and Distribution Center at 7 p.m. Dec. 29 at the Osage Centre in room 3AB.

Despite this delay, the Postal Service will continue its review of these facilities during the interim period, including public input meetings like the one planned in Cape Girardeau, said Richard Watkins, U.S. Postal Service spokesman in Kansas City, Mo.

Postal officials hope the extended waiting period will give Congress time to enact comprehensive postal legislation. "Given the Postal Service's financial situation and the loss of mail volume, the Postal Service must continue to take all steps necessary to reduce costs and increase revenue," the service said in a news release.

Watkins said the postal service wants Congress to allow it to change its business model in accordance with the changing mailing habits of its customers.

"We can't just pretend first class mail is coming back, or that people visit small rural post offices in numbers they used to. We must consolidate our operations in response to declining mail volumes," Watkins said.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

In addition to proposing to close Cape Girardeau's mail processing center, the Postal Service is also conducting a feasibility study to reduce the number of rural post offices, including Missouri locations in Blodgett, Brownwood, Daisy, Dutchtown, Gipsy, Old Appleton, Perkins, Sturdivant, Vanduser and Whitewater.

A group of 20 senators, including Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, sent a letter last week to Senate leaders asking them to to approve legislative language preventing the Postal Service from closing any post offices or area mail processing facilities for at least six months, allowing more time for Congress to "enact reforms necessary" to potentially save those facilities. McCaskill is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

475 Kell Farm Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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