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Post office retreats on eliminating Saturday mail

By Pauline Jelinek

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:38 a.m. HST, Apr 10, 2013

WASHINGTON » The U.S. Postal Service backed down from its plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery because Congress barred it, officials said today.

But its governing board said it's not possible for the financially ailing agency to meet cost-cutting goals without altering its delivery schedule. Delaying "responsible changes," the board said, only makes it more likely that the Postal Service "may become a burden" to taxpayers.

The Postal Service said in February that it planned to switch to five-day-a-week deliveries beginning in August for everything except packages as a way to hold down losses.

But that announcement was a gamble. The agency essentially was asking Congress to drop from spending legislation the longtime ban on five-day-only delivery. Congress did not do that when it passed a spending measure last month.

"By including restrictive language ... Congress has prohibited implementation of a new national delivery schedule for mail and package," the postal Board of Governors said in a statement today.

"Although disappointed with this congressional action, the board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule," it said.

The board made the decision in a closed meeting Tuesday.

Officials said that to restore the service to long-term financial stability, the agency must have the flexibility to reduce costs and come up with new revenues.

"It is not possible for the Postal Service to meet significant cost reduction goals without changing its delivery schedule — any rational analysis of our current financial condition and business options leads to this conclusion," the board statement said.

It said "delaying responsible changes to the Postal Service business model only increases the potential that the Postal Service may become a burden to the American taxpayer, which is avoidable."

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bstnwhaler wrote:
A good way to generate monies is to have things available to buy like shipping supplies, tape, string, etc. Went the other day to mail something and did not have tape for my box. The shelves were bare - forced me to walk to a nearby store to buy what I could have bought from the post offce. The store's price was cheaper but I would have gladly paid the extra cost for the convenience. Felt like I was in Walmart with all the empty shelves.
on April 10,2013 | 07:54AM
AL9000 wrote:
Good idea in theory, but the cost of maintaining such an inventory probably outweighs the miniscule profit it might generate. If Congress would allow the USPS to fund its pensions the way every other business does—instead of holding it to a ridiculously higher standard—it would solve much, if not all, of the problem.
on April 10,2013 | 08:50AM
Nevadan wrote:
In spite of the relatively high pay/pension of USPS employees, how often have we, the customers, seen them smile?
on April 10,2013 | 11:30AM
Nevadan wrote:
The U S Postal Service has been wasting public funds. Why did they contribute $13,000,000 to Lance Armstrong a few years back? Something smells.
on April 10,2013 | 11:22AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Union wins again! We lose.
on April 10,2013 | 11:49AM
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