What’s the status of the much-hyped five-day mail delivery proposal raised a year ago by Postmaster General John E. Potter? The Postal Regulatory Commission is waiting for the U.S. Postal Service to request an advisory opinion, says PRC chairman Ruth Goldway.
During an advisory opinion process, the PRC conducts an on-the-record, public inquiry into the Postal Service’s proposal and provide a forum for all interested parties to participate. “This process will provide transparence and accountability for the Postal Service’s plans and allow any concerns, issues and questions to be surfaced and addressed,” Goldway explains.
What’s more, she says, the advisory opinion process helps ensure that changes are in compliance with statutory requirements for maintaining effective mail service. “The record established through the advisory opinion process should also be valuable to the Congress in making any decision to modify or continue the existing restrictions,” Goldway says.
Federal law has mandated a six-day mail delivery schedule since 1983, so even after the advisory opinion process, Congress still needs to lift the restriction before five-day mail delivery could happen. Congress can do this at any time if it deems it serves the best interest of the nation and postal customers to do so, Goldway says.
The timing for filing a request for an advisory opinion is strictly up to the Postal Service. USPS spokesperson Gerry McKiernan says an internal study group is working on the benefits of five-day mail delivery and plans to request an advisory opinion, but the group is unsure when exactly this will happen.
Does Goldway believe five-day mail delivery will be a reality? She won’t say, but notes that “tough decisions will need to be made going forward, and all practical ideas should be considered.”
Five-day delivery is just one idea, she says: “We need to look at all ideas and look for solutions that best address Postal Service difficulties while also preserving a maximum amount of effective postal service for American citizens and businesses.”