Reductions in service standards activated by the Postal Service last week that will eliminate one-day delivery for single-piece First Class Mail have come under criticism by former Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway (above).
In an editorial published today in The Hill, Goldway, still a PRC commissioner, wrote that this latest round of operational cuts by the Postal Service “threatens the very integrity and concept of Universal Service — the Postal Service’s primary obligation under the law.”
The universal service obligation requires the Postal Service to provide the same service to all American citizens, no matter where they live. But Goldway declared that the new service reductions will result in a “two-tier patchwork network” in which big city customers will get their mail faster than people in small cities and urban areas.
In going ahead with these service changes, Goldway said, USPS ignored three cautionary reports issued by the PRC and the Office of the Inspector General of the Postal Service. One of them an Advisory Opinion issued by the PRC in 2012, argued that, by basing facility closures and processing rearrangements on measurable efficiency gains, the Postal Service could save more money and maintain higher service standards.
“Unfortunately, the Postal Service has not taken those important steps,” Goldway wrote. “First, the Service has not publicly identified the impact on revenue and profit from the proposed changes. Second, the Postal Service has not disclosed a robust, reliable figure for savings obtained from the first set of consolidations. Third, the Service has not identified projected savings from the second phase of consolidations.”
Goldway implied that USPS is selling everyday customers short in its pursuit of higher profit businesses. “At a time when the Postal Service is proudly promoting its Sunday delivery and same day package delivery offerings in major cities, it should not be impairing service in other parts of the country,” she wrote.
Robert Taub succeeded Goldway as chairman of the PRC in December.