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Highlights

In response to a congressional request, GAO conducted a study of the possible savings and effects on services that would result from systematically closing and consolidating inefficient post offices and replacing them with contractor-operated stations, rural route extensions, and other alternative services. Specifically, GAO was asked to: (1) estimate the savings involved in closing inefficient post offices and replacing them with lower cost alternative services, and provide examples of inefficient post offices currently in operation; (2) survey the opinions of postal customers who have recently had their post offices replaced with alternative mail services; and (3) assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the current post office closing/consolidation process, including a review of the Service's use of the specific reorganization approach known as area planning.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Postal Service 1. The Postmaster General should remove the emphasis on requiring either a postmaster vacancy or a loss of quarters before a post office can be actively considered for replacement to encourage a wider application of replacement efforts.
Closed - Not Implemented
Congress has prohibited any change in Post Office closing policies and procedures.
United States Postal Service 2. The Postmaster General should require Service management to formally post a replacement proposal, formally advertise a vacancy for the postmaster, or establish a new facility within a specific timeframe after initiation of suspension to discourage the extensive use of long suspension periods prior to the initiation of replacement actions.
Closed - Not Implemented
The age of the recommendation makes it impossible to comment on the recommendation's current validity without field work. The staff will not be available for such work.
United States Postal Service 3. The Postmaster General should work with the Postal Rate Commission to develop efficient investigation and analysis standards.
Closed - Not Implemented
The age of the recommendation makes it impossible to comment on the recommendation's current validity without field work. The staff will not be available for such work.
United States Postal Service 4. The Postmaster General should periodically determine the level of costs associated with the replacement process to enhance management control.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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