Lawmaker claims Postal Service is trying to make the research ‘secret,’ but USPS argues that’s not the right word.
The U.S. Postal Service has filed a request to keep the results of a revenue study private, but disputes a lawmaker’s claim that the agency is trying to hide the report.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., filed a motion Tuesday with the Postal Regulatory Commission to make public a study on the impact of proposed mail service cuts on USPS revenue. Postal officials on March 6 requested “nonpublic treatment” of the market research materials, according to PRC spokeswoman Ann Fisher.
Though Connolly argued USPS is attempting to make the study results “secret,” agency spokesman Dave Partenheimer disputed the term. The results “are available for inspection and review by case participants who are required to adhere to the commission's terms for access to nonpublic information filed under seal,” he said.
Among the cost-reducing factors the study considers, according to Connolly’s release: Cutting mail service to five days a week, eliminating next-day mail service, and closing mail processing facilities and thousands of post offices nationwide.
“It is fundamentally dishonest to tout the cost-saving impacts of your proposals while ignoring the reality that those same proposals could lead to self-reinforcing declines in revenue,” Connolly said in a statement. “This report should be made public so we can all see the complete picture and make informed decisions about the future business model of the U.S. Postal Service.”
USPS would not comment on its reasoning for filing the request with PRC because the matter is currently in active litigation. Partenheimer noted the Postal Service in 2010 was rated the most trusted federal agency for six years running, and the sixth most trusted business in the nation, by the Ponemon Institute.
PRC awaits a reply from USPS and “other interested parties” regarding Connolly’s request, according to Fisher, who said it was difficult to predict when the issue will be resolved.
Connolly, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, introduced legislation in March 2011 to implement several USPS reforms, including simplifying vote-by-mail procedures and converting delivery vehicles to electric power.
The financially troubled Postal Service is under intense scrutiny on Capitol Hill. A number of lawmakers have proposed postal reform bills and just last week, Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., announced that she intended to introduce legislation that would reduce the pay of the postmaster general and his immediate subordinates. USPS defended its senior executives’ salaries as competitive.