Nation Is Spared a Saturday ‘Execution’

Mar 21, 2013  •  Post A Comment

A nationwide “execution” of sorts that had been scheduled for Saturdays has been called off. Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Postal Service has been denied permission to kill off mail delivery on Saturdays.

The service “doesn’t have the legal authority to cut Saturday mail delivery as Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said it will do, the Government Accountability Office said today,” Bloomberg reports. “The service is bound by law to deliver mail six days a week, and is incorrect that a temporary measure recently used to fund U.S. government operations released it from that requirement, the GAO said in a letter to Representative Gerald Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, who requested that the watchdog agency look at the matter.”

The decision comes as a relief in particular to some publishers of weekly magazines, who have been looking into their options since Saturday delivery went on the chopping block.

“Now they may have a reprieve. The plan to cut delivery of letter mail while retaining package delivery on Saturdays ‘rests upon a faulty USPS premise,’ GAO General Counsel Susan Poling said in the letter,” the story reports. “The service, after losing $15.9 billion last year and reaching its legal borrowing limit, said last month it plans to eliminate a day of mail delivery to save about $2 billion a year. It said today it ‘strongly’ disagrees with the GAO’s assessment.”

Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said in an e-mail: "The opinion does not address the Postal Service’s proposal to move to five-day mail delivery, with six-day package delivery, during the week of August 5." He added that the GAO letter addresses only a temporary congressional spending measure, which expires March 27.

The report notes: “Mr. Connolly and Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, also asked the Postal Regulatory Commission, which oversees rates and service standards, for an opinion on whether cutting Saturday delivery is allowed.”

In a statement, Connolly said: "This impartial and definitive GAO legal opinion makes it crystal clear that USPS cannot operate outside the legislative authority of Congress and unilaterally implement a change in delivery service that many believe will not only disrupt mail service, but also exacerbate USPS revenue losses and contribute to the decline of this constitutionally-mandated service to all Americans."

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