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compliance with statutory policies
A change in community postal needs or the loss of suitable facilities may lead to the closing of a Post Office facility or its consolidation into a station, branch, or contract Post Office.
Retail optimization is a dynamic and evolving process that establishes decision-making criteria for updating the retail network. When changes affect the retail network, such as a change in operating hours, the Postal Service uses a variety of media to advise the public, mailers, management associations, labor unions and employees of any such change. Before a Post Office location is closed, however, the Postal Service follows a statutory procedure including customer notice and appeal rights.
In practice, few retail outlets are closed or relocated. In a normal year about 100 of approximately 28,000 Post Office locations are closed. When a Post Office location is closed, communities on average appeal less than 10 percent to the Postal Rate Commission (PRC), which remands less than 1 percent of the total annual closures to the Postal Service for further consideration.
1. Experimental Periodicals Co-Palletization Dropship Discounts for High Editorial Publications: Docket No. MC2004-1
On February 25, 2004 the Postal Service filed a request for alternative co-palletization/dropshipping discounts to encourage heavy-weight, high editorial Periodicals to move from sacks to pallets and to dropship. These discounts would fill a gap in an ongoing co-palletization experiment by adding discounts that provide an adequate incentive for publications with predominantly editorial content. The experimental discounts would be in effect for two years. The ongoing co-palletization would be extended so its end coincides with the new experiment. While the proposal produced a substantial amount of discovery, the parties agreed to an unopposed settlement. The PRC recommended the proposal on July 7, and the governors approved the recommendation on July 19. The new discounts, implemented October 3, are expected to help mailers and the Postal Service reduce the costs of Periodicals service.
2. Experimental Priority Mail Flat-Rate Box: Docket No. MC2004-2
On June 3, 2004, the Postal Service filed a request asking the PRC to issue a decision recommending implementation of an experimental classification and rate for matter mailed using a Postal Service-supplied Priority Mail flat-rate box.
Under the proposal Priority Mail users would be able to mail items using two, differently shaped boxes, one the general shape of a shoe-box, the other more suitable for garments, both with the same cubic capacity. Users would be able to mail any mailable material capable of fitting into the boxes at a single rate, regardless of the distance or the weight of the parcel. The flat rate proposed by the Postal Service is $7.70, or exactly twice the lowest existing Priority Mail rate.
All but two of the case participants entered into a settlement agreement as a means of resolving the issues. The PRC issued an Opinion and Recommended Decision on October 6, supporting the Postal Service's proposal. The Board of Governors approved the proposal in October for November availability.
3. Rate and Service Changes to Implement Functionally Equivalent Negotiated Service Agreement with Bank One Corporation: Docket No. MC2004-3
On June 21, 2004, the Postal Service filed a request with the PRC seeking a recommendation on rate and classification changes designed to implement a three-year negotiated service agreement (NSA) between the Postal Service and Bank One Corporation, (Bank One). In its request, the Postal Service pointed out that this NSA shared material terms and conditions with the Capital One Services, Inc. (Capital One) NSA, recommended by the PRC in 2002. The Postal Service requested the PRC find the Bank One NSA to be "functionally equivalent" to the "baseline" Capital One NSA under the PRC's recently promulgated rules.
After the request was filed, 14 parties intervened. Two parties requested a hearing, but then withdrew their requests on August 20 and September 2, 2004. An Opinion and Recommended Decision in the case was issued by the PRC on December 17, 2004.
4. Rate and Service Changes to Implement Functionally Equivalent Negotiated Service Agreement with Discover Financial Services, Inc.: Docket No. MC2004-4
On June 21, 2004, the Postal Service filed a request with the PRC seeking a recommendation on rate and classification changes designed to implement a NSA with Discover Financial Services, Inc. (DFS). This filing was one of the first two cases seeking approval of a "functionally equivalent" NSA, as it is comparable in its most significant terms to the Capital One NSA.