January 28, 2009

Postmaster seeks cut in delivery days

Postmaster General John Potter is asking Congress to allow the U.S. Postal Service to cut mail delivery, possibly from six days a week to five days.

In testimony prepared for a Senate hearing, Potter said the Postal Service is in a severe financial crisis and that he needs more flexibility in the number of days we deliver mail, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The ability to suspend delivery on the lightest delivery days, for example, could save dollars in both our delivery and our processing and distribution networks, he said. I do not make this request lightly, but I am forced to consider every option given the severity of our challenge."

Potter said the cut in mail delivery would be at least one day a week. Currently, the postal system delivers mail Mondays through Saturdays.

Potter also said wants approval to change the way the Postal Service funds its retiree health benefit.

Presently, the agency must pre-fund the retirement benefit for future retirees out of operating revenues. He said about $2 billion could be saved if future retirees were paid from the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund.

The Postal Service recorded a $2.8 billion budget deficit last year, the Post said.