A post office suspension occurs when the U.S. Postal Service temporarily stops operations at a Postal Service-operated retail facility. A facility may be suspended due to a natural disaster, termination of a lease or rental agreement, lack of qualified personnel to operate the office, irreparable or severe damage to the retail facility, or the lack of adequate measures to safeguard the retail facility or its revenues. The Postal Service’s policy requires a post office suspension be resolved by either re-opening or permanently closing the facility, which is typically completed between 180 to 280 days.
Post office suspensions have long been an interest of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), Congress, and other stakeholders. The PRC has publicly expressed concerns over the years about the number of unresolved post office suspensions. The Postal Service has been trying to clear a backlog of post office suspensions that developed over many decades. As of the end of fiscal year (FY) 2022, the Postal Service reported 381 unresolved post office suspensions. Since FY 2020, the PRC has required the Postal Service to provide a detailed plan to resolve post office suspensions in its Annual Compliance Report (ACR). The Postal Service has used its Change Suspension Discontinuance Center (CSDC) system since 2012 to track information on facilities throughout the post office suspension process.
What We Did
Our objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Postal Service’s plans to resolve post office suspensions.
What We Found
The Postal Service lacked documentation to support implementation of its publicly reported plans to resolve post office suspensions.This primarily occurred due to changes in the Postal Service’s organizational structure and assigned responsibilities for the post office suspension process. In addition, the Postal Service’s system used for tracking post office suspensions had data reliability issues.
We recommended management (1) update policies and procedures applicable to the post office suspension process to reflect current organizational structure and assigned responsibilities; (2) develop a process to formally document and monitor implementation of current and future plans to resolve post office suspensions as reported in the ACRs; and (3) develop and implement formally documented quality assurance processes over the data in the post office suspension tracking system.