U.S. Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott, who has strongly opposed the closing of post offices as a cost-cutting measure, released the following statement after today's announcement by the U.S. Postal Service that it will keep rural post offices open, but with modified retail window hours to match customer use, in some cases. Access to PO Boxes would remain unchanged, and the town's ZIP Code and community identity would be retained. The new strategy would be implemented over a two-year, multi-phased approach and would not be completed until September 2014.
"While I disagree with the planned reduction in retail hours, I am pleased with the U.S. Postal Service's decision to abandon its plan to close post offices in Arkansas, after multiple requests by me and other Members of Congress to halt the process. The financial problems plaguing the U.S. Postal Services are due to failed management, inadequate planning and poor business practices -- problems that closing rural post offices across Arkansas won't fix," said Ross. "I have sent multiple letters to the Postmaster General, had numerous conversations with Postal Service representatives, had senior staff from my congressional office attend public hearings on each of the proposed closures in our congressional district, and led a congressional effort to halt the closing of these postal facilities. I'm glad postal officials have finally listened to us. The Postal Service must find other cost-cutting alternatives that do not disproportionately hurt people on fixed incomes or those that live in rural areas."
Ross has sent multiple letters to the U.S. Postal Service and Postmaster General requesting a full review of the Postal Service's closing process. Ross lead an effort to get more than 75 Members of Congress to sign a letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission to stop closing post offices and work with Congress to help find a long-term solution that protects customers and ensures the longevity of the postal system. The letter argued "widespread post office closures is the wrong way to deal with the Postal Service's fiscal problems and could harm the Postal Service's competitiveness in the long run."