The action will delay any closures that could have taken place immediately by at least five months.
It gives the USPS "time to address out of control labor costs and look at their business model before rashly closing rural post offices to mask the problem," Matthew Ballard, communications director for Congressman Larry Bucshon, told The Brazil Times.
Bucshon has written numerous letters regarding the 27 post offices under review in the 8th district, as well as the Terre Haute Processing Facility. He has also met with the vice president for delivery and retail to discuss these issues.
"I am pleased the USPS has decided to delay the closing of rural post offices and distribution centers, including 27 in the 8th district of Indiana and the processing center in Terre Haute," Bucshon said. "The proposed closings were like putting a band-aid on the problem. This delays any closures that could have started happening immediately by at least five months and gives the USPS time to address labor costs, the pension prepayment requirements and review their business model before rashly closing rural post offices to mask the problem. I will continue to apply pressure on the USPS to come up with real reforms that protect local small businesses and rural access to postal services."
The post offices were put under initial review in July with a targeted closure date no earlier than December 2011. The processing facility in Terre Haute was put under review in September.
"The Postal Service will continue all necessary steps required for the review of these facilities during the interim period, including public input meetings," a USPS news release said. "The Postal Service hopes this period will facilitate the enactment of comprehensive postal legislation. Given the Postal Service's financial situation and the loss of mail volume, the Postal Service must continue to take all steps necessary to reduce costs and increase revenue."
Both federal law and the USPS's rules prescribe a post office closure process, which takes at least 120 days. The USPS must notify the affected public and hold a 60-day comment period prior to closing an office.
If the USPS decides to close a post office, the public will have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Postal Regulatory Commission. The USPS may only shut down a post office 60 days after it has made a closure decision.