Washington D.C. - Congressman Mike Turner successfully included several provisions in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed Postal Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 2309). The bill passed the full committee late on Thursday. Turner, who is a senior member of the committee, fought for hiring preferences for displaced postal workers, protections for door delivery service in high-population, high-poverty and historic areas, promotes the Wilmington Air Park, and accountability for the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) Restructuring Authority to Congress and hardworking taxpayers.
Ensuring the Post Offices Mismanagement Doesn’t Punish Workers
An amendment offered by Congressman Turner and adopted by the committee by voice vote establishes a hiring preference for USPS employees who could be affected by reductions in force under the bill. The preference is available for 1½ years to non-retirement-eligible USPS employees whose jobs are lost under the measure. It affords these employees the opportunity to continue applying their skills and experience in the career field, if they so choose, and offers assistance without requiring taxpayer-funded support.
“It is not the letter carrier making daily rounds to gather and deliver mail, and not the branch employee helping customers select the appropriate postage – who have brought us to the brink of postal insolvency. It is the persistent mismanagement at the hands of the Postal Service’s Washington bureaucrats who have allowed operations to deteriorate to this unfortunate point. Rank-and-file employees should not be punished because of the failures of the Postal Service’s top leaders,” stated Turner.
Preserving Door Delivery for High-Population, High Poverty and Historic Areas
In the original version of the bill, the USPS was required to reduce door delivery by 75% within 2 years. Congressman Turner successfully included language via an amendment approved by the committee by voice vote, which moves this provision to the jurisdiction of the Restructuring Authority. In addition, the bill now provides that high-population, high poverty, and historic areas are not adversely affected by the bill’s changes to the USPS. Furthermore, the amendment expressly states that the Restructuring Authority must consider historical value, registered historic districts, and locations on the National Register of Historic Places in making a decision to reduce door delivery.
“As the former Mayor of Dayton and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus, I understand that historic districts, heritage areas, and infrastructure should be taken into consideration if dramatic changes in mail delivery are proposed. For residents of Dayton, my amendment means that before door-delivery is reevaluated, the USPS must be in default to the federal government. Without my amendment, this legislation could have affected areas of high-population density and poverty in an adverse way,” added Turner.
Promoting Underutilized Processing Facilities – Wilmington Air Park
In developing plans to consolidate mail processing operations, Turner included language in the bill, which allows the Postal Service to study the estimated total cost savings that would result from moving mail processing operations to facilities not owned by the Postal Service, and are capable of processing mail at the Postal Service’s standards.
“This provision allows the USPS to look at facilities like the Wilmington Air Park, which have the ability to process large volumes of mail and a trained workforce readily available. The Air Park is in a strong position to benefit from this provision if it passes through Congress and signed by the President.
Note: Congressman Turner joined Senator Rob Portman and Congresswoman Jean Schmidt in writing to the Postmaster General, encouraging the USPS senior leadership to visit the Air Park. (10/13/2011)
A Savings Report to Ensure Accountability to the Hard Working Taxpayer
Under an amendment offered by Congressman Turner and adopted by the committee by voice vote, the Restructuring Authority is required to submit a Savings Report to Congress within one-year of being activated. This report must detail the cost-savings they have achieved and the steps necessary to achieve further savings. This Amendment also allows the Authority to request specific legislative changes to postpone the requirement that door delivery be reduced.
“This provision holds the Authority accountable to Congress and the American people; ensuring that actions which directly impact the hardworking taxpayer aren’t taken lightly. Specifically, the Authority to must tell us what has worked, how much it saved, and what they need – and don’t need – to continue keeping the USPS financially sound,” said Turner.