The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 14, 2013

Rothfus weighing mail plan

JOHNSTOWN — The U.S. Postal Service – boldly and possibly improperly – recently announced a plan to eliminate first-class mail deliveries on Saturdays without getting approval from Congress.

Freshman Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, is still researching the subject to determine if he thinks the decision is legal or not. When asked about the proposal, the 12th district representative said, “I’ll have to take a look at that.”

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe wants to limit deliveries to weekdays, hoping the change could save $2 billion annually for an organization that lost $15.9 billion during the 2012 fiscal year. The postal service receives no taxpayer money for day-to-day operations, but Congress maintains oversight, as per the Constitution of the United States. Since the early 1980s, Congress has required six-day delivery in its appropriations bills. However, since the federal government is currently operating under a temporary continuing resolution, Donahoe felt he could unilaterally make the change.

“Our information is that Congress is highly upset that the postmaster general has gone on his own. ... If he continues to defy Congress and believes he can move on his own, you’ll probably see some mobilization by letter carriers,” said Pennsylvania State Association of Letter Carriers President Joseph Antal, an Ebensburg resident.

Getting rid of Saturday service could eliminate between 20,000 and 35,000 jobs, which Donahoe feels could be achieved through attrition and buyouts.

The USPS hopes to trim down to five days of mail delivery by August. According to the plan, packages would still be brought to residences and businesses on Saturdays.

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