Q&A with the United States Postal Service
With the threat of the entire operation shutting down by the end of the month, Patch decided to catch up with a Pennsylvania official for more on the issue.
The United States Postal Service may be shutting down for good at the end of the month, according to a recent ABC World News report. In light of a potential shut down, the USPS is asking Congress for help, but may still have to close hundreds of branches across the nation to ease up expenses.
We caught up with USPS Philadelphia's Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact Cathy Yarosky concerning the issue as a whole, as well as how it affects us locally.
LRSC Patch: What is the USPS's current status with the government? From what I heard, they are threatening to shut down without help by Sept. 30. Is there truth to this?
Cathy Yarosky: The reality is this - without enactment of legislation by the end of this month, the Postal Service faces default because funds will be insufficient to make our mandated (by Congress) $5.5 billion payment to pre-fund our retiree health benefits. This does not equate to 'shutting down.' In addition, the Postal Service needs legislation that would do the following:
- resolve a unique law requiring the USPS to make $5.5 billion annual payments to prefund retirement health benefits
- return $6.9 billion in Federal Employees Retirement system overpayments
- grant the Postal Service the authority to determine delivery frequency
- allow the Postal Service to restructure its healthcare system to make it independent of federal programs
- grant the Postal Service the authority to provide a defined contribution retirement plan for new hires, rather than today's defined benefit plan
- streamline the process for product development and pricing
Patch: I also heard that the USPS may close more branches before that Sept. 30 deadline. How safe are the branches in Limerick, Royersford and Spring City?
Yarosky: We have no plans to close the Limerick, Royersford or Spring City Offices at this time. If and when we decide to study an office for possible closure, the community is notified in advance. We have a process in place for closing an office that we must follow. An important part of this process includes a community meeting or some type of community input before a decision can be made. If and when we get to the point where we need to have a community meeting, it will be well publicized so that as many people as possible have an opportunity to attend and provide feedback.
Patch: If there were to be closures at either of these three branches, how long would it be before any action would be taken?
Yarosky: We cannot speculate about what might happen in the future. We will take everything one step at a time.
Patch: If only one of these branches remained after the next round of closures, would there be an effort to combine the branches into one, centralized location? Would jobs be lost or shifted? Would renovations to any of the buildings need to be done?
Yarosky: Again Kevin, it's counter-productive to speculate about something that has not happened.
Patch: Who is the best person to contact if citizens/residents have any concerns?
Yarosky: Residential and business customers may submit their questions/concerns in writing to:
USPS Philadelphia District
Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact
3190 South 70th Street Room 501
Philadelphia, PA 19153-9601