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.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|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.|
|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.|
|United States Postal Service||3. The Postmaster General should work with the Postal Rate Commission to develop efficient investigation and analysis standards.|
|United States Postal Service||4. The Postmaster General should periodically determine the level of costs associated with the replacement process to enhance management control.|