By Angela Greiling Keane
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have the legal authority to end Saturday mail delivery without authorization from Congress and must halt plans to take that step in August, its board said.
The board’s action follows a Government Accountability Office opinion last month saying the service didn’t have the authority to end Saturday deliveries, a move officials said would save about $2 billion annually.
“The board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time,” the board, which said it supports cutting Saturday delivery when allowed to do so, said in an e-mailed statement.
“The board also wants to ensure that customers of the Postal Service are not unduly burdened by ongoing uncertainties and are able to adjust their business plans accordingly.”
The board directed service management to find other ways to lower labor costs, including by seeking to reopen contract negotiations with its unions.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said he relied on a new interpretation of law governing the service, based on the fact the government is operating with temporary funding, to declare he didn’t need Congress’s permission to reduce letter delivery to five days a week.