Political News

Post office facilities facing closure cut to 413

Posted September 2, 2009 10:41 a.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2009 12:01 p.m. EDT

— The Postal Service has narrowed the number of offices facing possible closure to 413, including one in Raleigh and two in Fayetteville.

Struggling with a sharp decline in mail volume caused by the recession and the movement of traditional mail to the Internet, postal officials say the agency could have a deficit as large as $7 billion this year.

Being on the list doesn't guarantee closing, but the list of offices selected for a closer look had neared 700 at one point.

The new list includes the post office on Horne Street near the North Carolina State University campus in Raleigh and the Lakedale and Haymont branches in Fayetteville. Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem and Asheville also have one post office each on the latest list, while Charlotte has five.

Currently the post office has about 37,000 retail outlets across the country and Postmaster General John Potter has said he wants to keep as many open as possible.

In addition to losses caused by reductions in mail volume, the post office is required to place $5 billion annually in an account to pre-fund the costs of medical care for retirees.

If it does end the fiscal year at the end of this month short of funds, postal officials have said they will default on that payment in order to make payroll and keep the agency operating. In the meantime, Congress is considering bills that would defer the payment.

The post office has also suggested reducing mail delivery from six to five days a week. Other money saving steps it has taken include:

- Cut more than 100 million work hours, the equivalent of 57,000 positions.

- Six district administrative offices have closed.

- Nearly 12,000 carrier routes have been eliminated as routes were adjusted to reflect reduced volume.

- There is a nationwide hiring freeze.

- Staff levels at national and regional offices cut by 15 percent.

- Selling unused and underutilized postal facilities.

- Post Office hours have been cut.

- Consolidating mail processing operations.

- Halting construction of new postal facilities.

- Salaries of Postal Service officers and executives are frozen.