The Washington Post reports that the Post Office used bad data, including inaccurate information about profitability and distance when it decided which offices to shutter:
The U.S. Postal Service relied on questionable data to identify more than 3,600 post offices and other retail operations to study for closure, an oversight panel has concluded.
In many cases the selection process ignored whether an alternate post office was nearby and which closures would reduce costs the most and lacked sufficient data and analysis to make the best decisions, the Postal Regulatory Commission said.
While Congressional meddling is responsible for a large share of the current troubles the Post Office faces (thanks, Representative Rehberg!) Congress should pay attention to this report and put more pressure on the Post Office to make good choices about the branches to close and convert into “village” post offices.
The Post Office simply needs to do better than this:
But the oversight commission consulted economists and other experts who concluded that other factors should come into play: How many miles away is the nearest post office? Would closing deny service to large groups of customers, such as seniors, who would have trouble finding alternatives?
The Postal Service also has a poor idea of how much money the closures will save, the commission said. Postal officials combine revenue from retail sales with day-to-day costs of operation. Balance sheets for several stations and branches are lumped together, making it hard to know which facility loses the most money.
“So when you’re deciding, I want to close this station as opposed to that one, it’s not clear which should go, except for the gut feeling of the postmaster,” Goldway said.