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Fewer Post Offices Targeted for Closure

By Ed O'Keefe

It may soon get tougher to mail these boxes from your neighborhood post office, if it's on the list of sites to be considered for possible closure or consolidation.

Updated 1:10 p.m. ET

The Postal Service has cut more than 200 sites from its list of facilities for possible closure, including one site in Maryland, the next step in a process that began earlier this summer amid uncertainty over how many sites it would close.

Officials will now consider the fate of 413 retail stations and branches, down from a list of 677 facilities released in late July. The Derwood Post Office in Rockville was dropped from the list, but 12 other postal facilities in the District and suburban Maryland remain under consideration for closure or consolidation.

Click here to review the full list of possible closures nationwide.

Derwood was spared because officials could not find adequate nearby space for its P.O. boxes, according to Postal Service regional spokeswoman Luvenia Hyson. Moving the boxes would have been too costly and would have inconvenienced customers because of the distance to the next closest postal facility, she said.

The Postal Service is required to provide the list to the Postal Regulatory Commission, which is reviewing closing and consolidation plans. Final decisions will be made after Oct. 2, and Postal officials have said privately they expect no more than 200 facilities to be on the final list.

Sites won't close or be consolidated until 60 days after they are approved for closure and thus are unlikely to be shuttered by the end of 2009, Postal spokesman Greg Frey said.

The Postal Service operates almost 37,000 facilities nationwide and sells stamps at 18,000 ATMs; another 56,000 supermarkets, pharmacies and other stores sell stamps or other postal services.

Mail volume will drop by as much as 20 billion pieces in 2009 versus last year, according to the Postal Service, which estimates it will deliver roughly 170 billion pieces of mail. It lost $2.4 billion during its third quarter and forecasts a $7 billion loss when its fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

The draft list of 677 possible sites was provided Congressional staffers in July, who then leaked it to reporters.

Its figures differed from a list provided to the Postal Regulatory Commission, which named up to 1,000 sites.

Postmaster General John Potter would not commit to an exact number of closures when asked by reporters, prompting Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to scold him during a Congressional hearing for refusing to provide a specific number.

The decision to consider closing postal facilities is one of several cost-cutting moves under consideration, including a plan to offer buyouts to up to 30,000 employees and a push to have Congress change the Postal Service's schedule of payments to fund retiree health benefits.

Review the full list of possible closures here.

Thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 2, 2009; 10:57 AM ET
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I guess the union kicked and screamed.

Posted by: jckdoors | September 2, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I had heard that there were hundreds of rural post offices serving less than 100 customers. But this list is all urban. I assume they can be served by other nearby branches. Is this how FedEx would have handled it? Is this Congressional interference or union meddling?

Posted by: ggilby1 | September 2, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I knew this was coming. FedX and UPS can pick and choose which means they don't go to every house everyday. With the advent of e-mails, fax machines, etc plus the recession has probably hurt the junk mail business. Not sure what will happen in the future. I still mail my bills by mail instead of online.

Posted by: gregory2481 | September 2, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Closing post offices????

OMG!!!! PO's are where the loony-left d-crat socialists plan to have everybody stand in line to get their limited, rationed allotment of government-controlled healthcare!

Now we'll have to stand in the street while waiting days and weeks for our little piece of socialist heathcare.

Posted by: LoonyLeft | September 2, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

just wait till UPS or FedX takes over the PO. The PO is one of the major factors our country's success. The PO's success could only have been accomplished as a public entity. Now there are some who think they'll get a better deal by privatizing the PO.

My bet is that, without the PO UPS and FedX will split the wealth and eliminate the poor performers like most of the rural areas. The end result, just like the health insurance industry the cherry picking will begin and the low performers will be dropped or, as in the the health insurance industry prices will be raised to impossible levels.

Oh, that won't happen because, what, the Government will guarantee universal reasonable access by paying the UPS's and FedX's to cover their loses and insure shareholder profits. Actually, the PO system would be a good place for China to invest. Nothing like having the hated Communists in bed with you, in your own country.

Next, privatization of the highway system. Maybe we can get a company like AIG to buy it whole. Or failing that, parcel it out by the mile to the highest bidder. Capitalism at its best, better by a few extra pairs of shoes now. Because, you won't be able to pay the new highway fees the AIG type will ask or if sold by the mile you'll be stopping at every toll.

We Americans are really good at shooting ourselves in the foot.

I'm waiting for the highways to be privatized. Two choices, a big company like Walmat/China

Posted by: JedG | September 2, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Potter should come clean as to some of the Postal upper mgmt percs-- free health ins, paying for moves, and annual 5 figure bonuses for execs.

Posted by: almelbe | September 2, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Well whoopsy daisy. Let's see there must be lotza reasons to close postoffices. Take for example Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. Long lines all the time. Waiting list for PO Boxes. And maybe some valuable real estate given the word "beach."

Darn straight-- extend that principle to Georgetown, Bethesda, Boca Raton ect. ect.

Of course both p/o/.'s are sort of dumpy in a decrepit rundown sort of way. I'm betting on H.B. to stay open as it's the "town's" post office accross from city hall. North Redondo? Too much parking- letz sell it.

Posted by: thealaskan | September 2, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

They should really look into how they are making the decisions on which post offices to close- one on the list is that of my college, Hollins University, which is also available for individuals in that area of Roanoke, VA as well, and it has next to no expenses and is almost making pure profit- and considering they have committed to not laying off the postmaster there, the personnel cost is not even a factor as you just be paying that individual elsewhere. This seems like they just pulled names out of a hat and didn't bother to do any basic preliminary research before releasing this list and starting up a firestorm of reactions from the cities and neighborhoods who call many of those post offices their own.

Posted by: fleuredeflorida | September 3, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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