Postal Service agrees to delay closings

Port Clinton News Herald

WASHINGTON -- Congress and the U.S. Postal Service have agreed to a moratorium on any post office or postal facility closing until May 15, 2012, in order to allow Congress time to enact comprehensive legislation overhauling the nation's financially insolvent mail delivery system.

The agreement was reached Tuesday between a group of Democratic senators, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue, and the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Thurgood Marshall Jr.

Ten mail processing centers and 120 post offices across Ohio were among the hundreds of facilities nationwide that the Postal Service announced it was considering for closure. But even before Tuesday's agreement, postal officials had said no final decisions would be made until next spring.

That didn't stop members of Congress from declaring victory.

"This moratorium is a win for Ohio consumers, Ohio business, and Ohio workers," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in a statement Tuesday. "Though the Postal Service faces serious challenges, this will provide time to reach a solution that will strengthen the USPS, instead of crippling it."

Cincinnati Councilman Wendell Young also said he was "very pleased" to hear about the agreement.

"This additional time will allow for them to thoroughly review the proposed plan and to pass the necessary changes and legislation to keep the Postal Service strong -- and to prevent the loss of the Dalton Post Office here in Cincinnati," he said. "We know that our city and our region cannot afford the lost jobs and revenue, or the dramatic slowing of business and communication, that would result from the closure of the Dalton Post Office."

Postal officials announced in September that they were mulling closures of as many as 3,700 post offices, mostly in rural areas, and 250 processing facilities in order to cut costs. But even before Tuesday's announcement, a Postal Service spokeswoman said no closings were imminent.

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