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Postal Service officials give reasons for proposed office closings

The U.S. Postal Service is studying the possibility of closing more than 85 post offices in Oklahoma, mostly in rural areas, as a cost-cutting move.
by Bryan Painter Published: January 1, 2012

The agreement by the Postal Service to delay possible closing also means that cuts to first-class mail that would slow delivery and eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day, would not occur before May 15. Previously, the post office said it hoped to implement the cuts to first-class service in April.

About 100,000 postal employees could be cut as a result of closures. Postal officials have said this is expected to save up to $6.5 billion a year.

The Postal Service, an independent agency of government, does not receive tax money, but it is subject to congressional control on major aspects of its operations.

Separate bills that have passed House and Senate committees would give the Postal Service more authority to reduce delivery to five days a week, raise stamp prices and reduce health care and other labor costs.

The Senate bill would refund what the Postal Service overpaid into a federal retirement fund, encourage a restructuring of health benefits and reduce the agency's annual payments into a future retiree health account.

In Oklahoma

There are 573 retail post offices in Oklahoma. Since 2009, 12 Oklahoma District post offices have been closed under the post office discontinuance process, Montague said.

Offices are categorized into levels based on their distribution, delivery and retail workload. The hours they are open for retail services depend on the office level, she said.

“Determining the cost savings is a component of these studies, and data is not yet finalized for the Oklahoma offices,” Montague said.

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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