Over the past 18 months, NAPUS has raised concerns about the lack of data to indicate the amount of money the U.S. Postal Service saved as a result of reduced post office hours and post office re-classifications. In fact, one year ago, President Tony Leonardi testified before a Senate forum on rural mail issues at which he called for a moratorium on further post office hour reductions and re-classifications, particularly with regard to current Level-18 post offices. In part, NAPUS declared at the forum that the lack of accurate data, no assessment of rural impact, and the absence of information relating to revenue losses justified a pause in post office hour reductions and re-classifications. Shortly thereafter, Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Tom Carper introduced S. 1754 and S. 2051, bills that include NAPUS-supported provisions to implement the post office moratorium.
This past Friday, April 29, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) added its expert voice to the legislative discussion. At the request of House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and House Government Operations Subcommittee Chair Mark Meadows (R-NC), the GAO conducted a performance audit of POStPlan. In sum, the GAO concluded that the Postal Service’s “estimates of expected POStPlan cost savings have limitations that affect their reliability.” (Highlights of GAO-16-385, April 2016) The GAO went on to point out that these limitations include “imprecise and incomplete labor costs, including errors in underlying data; lack of sensitivity review; and the exclusion of other factors that affect net cost savings, particularly the potential impact of reduced retail hours on revenue.” (Highlights of GAO-16-385, April 2016) And, the GAO report concluded: “Although POStPlan was an initiative that affected about 66 percent of US post offices and Postmasters, USPS did not produce cost-savings estimates with the level of rigor that an initiative with such a large footprint may have warranted.” (GAO-16-385, April 2016, p. 31)
NAPUS believes that the GAO report reinforces its call for a post office hour reduction and reclassification moratorium.
You may view the GAO Report in its entirety here.