Thursday, March 7, 2013

United States Postal Service,, The United States Postal Service (USPS), also known as the Post Office and U.S. Mail, is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. HP 448007-001 battery The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. Thecabinet-level Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin's operation and transformed into its current form in 1971 under the Postal Reorganization Act. HP Pavilion DV7 battery The USPS employs over 574,000 workers and operates over 260,000 vehicles.[4] The USPS is the operator of the largestvehicle fleet in the world.[5] The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has exclusive access to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail" and personal letterboxeHP DV6-1120SA battery s in the United States, but still competes against private package delivery services, such as UPS and FedEx.[6] The USPS has not directly received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s with the minor exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters. HP DV6-1210SA battery Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume,[7] after which Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act",[8] (which mandated $5.5 billion per year to be paid into an account to pre-fund retiree health-care, 75 years into the future, a requirement unique among organizations and businesses in the U.S.[9]) Compaq CQ50 battery , revenue dropped sharply due to recession-influenced[10] declining mail volume,[11]prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit.[12] The first postal service in America arose in February 1692, when a grant from King William and Queen Mary empowered Thomas Neale "to erect, HP Pavilion DV8 battery settle and establish within the chief parts of their majesties' colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for the receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, and to receive, send and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, and to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years."[13] Sony VGP-BPS13 battery Before the Revolution, there was only a trickle of business or governmental correspondence between the colonies. Most of the mail went back and forth to counting houses and government offices in London. The Revolution made Philadelphia, the seat of the Continental Congress, the information hub of the new nation. HP DV9700 battery News, new laws, political intelligence, and military orders circulated with a new urgency, and a postal system was necessary. Journalists took the lead, securing post office legislation that allow them to reach their subscribers and very low cost, and to exchange news from newspapers up and down the 13 states. Compaq CQ35-100 battery Overthrowing the London-oriented imperial postal service in 1774-75, printers enlisted merchants and the new political leadership, and the new postal system was born.[14] The United States Post Office (USPO) was created on July 26, 1775, by decree of the Second Continental Congress.[1] Benjamin Franklin headed it briefly. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery The modern Post Office originated in 1792 as the Post Office Department (USPOD). It was based on the Constitutional authorityempowering Congress "To establish post offices and post roads". The new law provided for a greatly postal network, and served editors by charging newspapers an extremely low rate. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery The law guaranteed the sanctity of personal correspondence, and provided the entire nation with low-cost access to information on public affairs, while establishing a right to personal privacy.[15] To cover long distances the Post Office used a hub-and-spoke system, with Washington as the hub and chief sorting center. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery By 1869, with 27,000 local post offices to deal with, it had changed to sorting mail en route in railroad mail cars. The system of postal money orders began in 1864. Free delivery began in the larger cities in 1863. The postal system played a crucial role in national expansion. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery It facilitated expansion into the West by creating an inexpensive, fast, convenient communication system. Letters from early settlers provided information and boosterism to encourage increased migration to the West, helped scattered families stay in touch and provide neutral help, Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery assisted entrepreneurs to find business opportunities, and made possible regular commercial relationships between merchants and the West and wholesalers and factories back east. The postal service likewise assisted the Army in expanding control over the vast western territories. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery The widespread circulation of important newspapers by mail, such as the New York Weekly Tribune, facilitated coordination among politicians in different states. The postal service helped integrated established areas with the frontier, creating a spirit of nationalism and providing a necessary infrastructure.[17] Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery The Post Office in the 19th century was a major source of federal patronage. Local postmasterships were rewards for local politicians--often the editors of party newspapers. About 3/4 of all federal civilian employees worked for the Post Office. In 1816 it employed 3341 men, and in 1841, 14,290. Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery The volume of mail expanded much faster than the population, as it carried annually 100 letters and 200 newspapers per 1000 white population in 1790, and 2900 letters and 2700 newspapers per thousand in 1840.[18] The Post Office Department was enlarged during the tenure of President Andrew Jackson. Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery As the Post Office expanded, difficulties were experienced due to a lack of employees and transportation. The Post Office's employees at that time were still subject to the so-called "spoils" system, where faithful political supporters of the executive branch were appointed to positions in the post office and other government corporations as a reward for their patronage. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery These appointees rarely had prior experience in postal service and mail delivery. This system of political patronage was replaced in 1883, after passage of thePendleton Civil Service Reform Act.[19]Ten years before waterways were declared post roads in 1823, the Post Office used steamboats to carry mail between post towns where no roads existed. Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery Once it became clear that the postal system in the United States needed to expand across the entire country, the use of the railroad to transport the mail was instituted in 1832, on one line in Pennsylvania.[20] All railroads in the United States were designated as post routes, after passage of the Act of July 7, 1838. Mail service by railroad increased rapidly thereafter. Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery An Act of Congress provided for the issuance of stamps on March 3, 1847, and the Postmaster General immediately let a contract to the New York City engraving firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson. The first stamp issue of the U.S. was offered for sale on July 1, 1847, in NYC, with Boston receiving stamps the following day and other cities thereafter. Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery The 5 cent stamp paid for a letter weighing less than 1 oz (28 g) and travelling less than 300 miles, the 10 cent stamp for deliveries to locations greater than 300 miles, or twice the weight deliverable for the 5 cent stamp. In 1847, the U.S. Mail Steamship Company acquired the contract to carry the U.S. Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery mails from New York, with stops in New Orleans and Havana, to the Isthmus of Panama for delivery in California. The same year, the Pacific Mail Steamship Companyhad acquired the right to transport mail under contract from the United States Government from the Isthmus of Panama to California. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery In 1855, William Henry Aspinwall completed the Panama Railway, providing rail service across the Isthmus and cutting to three weeks the transport time for the mails, passengers and goods to California. This remained an important route until the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery Railroad companies greatly expanded mail transport service after 1862, and the Railway Mail Service was inaugurated in 1869.[20] Rail cars designed to sort and distribute mail while rolling were soon introduced.[20] RMS employees sorted mail 'on the fly' during the journey, and became some of the most skilled workers in the postal service. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery An RMS sorter had to be able to separate the mail quickly into compartments based on its final destination, before the first destination arrived, and work at the rate of 600 pieces of mail an hour. They were tested regularly for speed and accuracy.[24] The advent of rural free delivery in the U.S. in 1896, and the inauguration of parcel post service in 1913 greatly increased the volume of mail shipped nationwide, Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery and motivated the development of more efficient postal transportation systems.[25] It also led to the growth of Mail order businesses that substantially increased rural access to modern goods over what was typically stocked in local general stores. In 1912, carrier service was announced for establishment in towns of second and third class with $100,000 appropriated by Congress.[26Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery ] From January 1, 1911, until July 1, 1967, the United States Postal Service operated the United States Postal Savings System. An Act of Congress of June 25, 1910, established the Postal Savings System in designated Post Offices, effective January 1, 1911. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery The legislation aimed to get money out of hiding, attract the savings of immigrants accustomed to the postal savings system in their native countries, provide safe depositories for people who had lost confidence in banks, and furnish more convenient depositories for working people. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery The law establishing the system directed the Post Office Department to redeposit most of the money in the system in local banks, where it earned 2.5 percent interest.[27] In 1912, Operation Santa Claus was started at the James Farley Post Office.[28] The system paid 2 percent interest per year on deposits. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery The half percent difference in interest was intended to pay for the operation of the system. Certificates were issued to depositors as proof of their deposit. Depositors in the system were initially limited to hold a balance of $500, but this was raised to $1,000 in 1916 and to $2,500 in 1918. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery The initial minimum deposit was $1. In order to save smaller amounts for deposit, customers could purchase a 10-cent postal savings card and 10-cent postal savings stamps to fill it. The card could be used to open or add to an account when its value, together with any attached stamps, amounted to one or more dollars, or it could be redeemed for cash. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery At its peak in 1947, the system held almost $3.4 billion in deposits, with more than four million depositors using 8,141 postal units.[27] On August 12, 1918, the Post Office Department took over air mail service from the U.S. Army Air Service (USAAS). Assistant Postmaster General, Otto Praeger, appointed Benjamin B. Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery Lipsner to head the civilian-operated Air Mail Service. One of Lipsner's first acts was to hire four pilots, each with at least 1,000 hours flying experience, paying them an average of $4,000 per year ($61.8 thousand today). The Post Office Department used mostly World War I military surplusde Havilland DH-4 aircraft.[29] Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery During 1918, the Post Office hired an additional 36 pilots. In its first year of operation, the Post Office completed 1,208 airmail flights with 90 forced landings. Of those, 53 were due to weather and 37 to engine failure. By 1920, the Air Mail service had delivered 49 million letters.[29] Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery Domestic air mail became obsolete in 1975, and international air mail in 1995, when the USPS began transporting First-Class mail by air on a routine basis. The Post Office was one of the first government departments to regulate obscene materials on a national basis. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery When the U.S. Congress passed the Comstock lawsof 1873, it became illegal to send through the U.S. mail any material considered obscene or indecent, or which promoted abortion issues, contraception, oralcohol consumption.[30] On March 18, 1970, postal workers in New York City—upset over low wages and poor working conditions, Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery and emboldened by the Civil Rights movement—organized a strike against the US Government. The strike initially only involved postal workers in New York City, but it eventually gained support of over 210,000 United States Post Office Department workers across the nation. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery While the strike ended without any concessions from the Federal government, it did ultimately allow for postal worker unions and the government to negotiate a contract which gave the unions most of what they wanted, as well as the signing of the Postal Reorganization Act by President Richard Nixon on August 12, 1970. Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery The Act replaced the cabinet-level Post Office Department with the independent United States Postal Service, and took effect on July 1, 1971. The United States Postal Service employs some 574,000 workers, making it the third-largest civilian employer in the United States behind the federal government and Wal-Mart. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery In a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Court noted: "Each day, according to the Government's submissions here, the United States Postal Service delivers some 660 million pieces of mail to as many as 142 million delivery points."[32] As of 2011, the USPS operates 31,000 post offices and locations in the U.S., and delivers 177 billion pieces of mail annually.[5] Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery The USPS operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with an estimated 218,684 vehicles, the majority of which are the easily identified Chevrolet/Grumman LLV (Long-Life Vehicle), and the newer Ford/Utilimaster FFV (Flex-Fuel Vehicle), originally also referred to as the "CRV" (Carrier Route Vehicle).[5] Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery For every penny increase in the national average price of gasoline, the USPS spends an extra $8 million per year to fuel its fleet.[33]The number of gallons of fuel used in 2009 was 444 million, at a cost of US$1.1 billion.[5] The fleet is notable in that many of its vehicles are right-hand drive, an arrangement intended to give drivers the easiest access to roadside mailboxes. Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery Some Rural Letter Carriers use personal vehicles. Standard postal-owned vehicles do not have license plates. These vehicles are identified by a seven digit number displayed on the front and rear. The Department of Defense and the USPS jointly operate a postal system to deliver mail for the military; Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery this is known as theArmy Post Office (for Army and Air Force postal facilities) and the Fleet Post Office (for Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard postal facilities). In February 2013, the Postal Service announced that it would no longer deliver mail on Saturdays, effective August 10 that year. Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery However, Saturday delivery of packages, mail-order medicines, Priority Mail, and Express Mail will continue.In October 2008, the Postal Service released Vision 2013,[36] a five-year plan required by law starting in 1993.[37] One planned improvement is the introduction of the Intelligent Mail Barcode, which will allow pieces of mail to be tracked through the delivery system, as competitors like UPS and FedEx currently do. Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery In 2011, various media outlets were reporting that the USPS was going out of business.[38][39][40] The USPS's strategy came under fire as new technologies emerged and the USPS was not finding ways to generate new sources of revenue.[41] On March 15, 2012, MIT held a Communications Forum called “The Future of the Post Office” with David C. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery Williams the Inspector General of the USPS. The forum was organized and moderated by MIT professor VA Shiva Ayyadurai, who had been openly critical of the USPS.In April of 2012, at the PostalVision 2020 conference to USPS officials on new directions for the USPS, at which Ayyadurai presented a paper on why the USPS should embrace email. Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery VA Shiva Ayyadurai's research center, the International Center for Integrative Systems (ICIS), was hired by the USPS-OIG to do a detailed analysis on how email and other initiatives could produce new revenues for the USPS.[49] The analysis, which is the subject of ongoing research, projected that the USPS could potentially generate over $250 million per year through email servicing. Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery First Class mail volume (which is protected by legal monopoly) peaked in 2001[51] and has declined 29% from 1998 to 2008, due to the increasing use of email and the World Wide Web for correspondence and business transactions.[52] Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) directly compete with USPS express mail and package delivery services, making nationwide deliveries of urgent letters and packages. Lower volume means lower revenues to support the fixed commitment to deliver to every address once a day, six days a week. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery In response, the USPS has increased productivity each year from 2000 to 2007,[53] through increased automation, route re-optimization, and facility consolidation.[52] Despite these efforts, the organization saw an $8.5 billion budget shortfall in 2010,[54] and was losing money at a rate of about $3 billion per quarter in 2011.[55] Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery On December 5, 2011 the USPS announced it would close more than half of its mail processing centers, eliminate 28,000 jobs and reduce overnight delivery of first-class mail. This will close down 252 of its 461 processing centers.[56] (At peak mail volume in 2006, the USPS operated 673 facilities.)[57] Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery As of May 2012, the plan was to start the first round of consolidation in summer 2012, pause from September to December, and begin a second round in February 2014; 80% of first class mail would still be delivered overnight through the end of 2013.[58] In May 2012, the service announced it had modified its July 2011 plan to close about 3,700 small post offices. Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery Instead, rural post offices would remain open with reduced retail hours (some as little as two hours per day) unless there was a community preference for a different option.[59] In a survey of rural customers, 20% preferred the "Village Post Office" replacement (where a nearby private retail store would provide basic mail services with expanded hours), Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery 15% preferred merger with another Post Office, and 11% preferred expanded rural delivery services.[60] Approximately 40% of postal revenue already comes from online purchases or private retail partners including WalMart, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, Sam's Club, Costco, and grocery stores.[60] Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery In February 2013, the service announced plans to eliminate Saturday delivery, beginning in August 2013. According to an official report on November 15, 2012, the U.S. Postal Service ended its 2012 fiscal year $15.9 billion in the hole. They project that cutting Saturday delivery will save them $1.9 billion annually. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery Critics of the budget cuts say readjustments and closing "will be a mess", may not obtain projected savings, will cause severe dislocations, and will run afoul of obligations under various collective bargaining agreements,[61] and will disproportionately affect employees who are veterans and minorities. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery Of related significance is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), which obligates the USPS to fund the present value of future health care benefit payments to retirees within a ten-year time span – a requirement to which no other government organization is subject. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery Thus, in addition to the weak economy and the diversion of mail to electronic means, the mandates of PAEA have had a considerable impact on Postal Service finances. In 2012, the USPS had the third year in a order of losses from operations, which amounted to $4.8 billion.[64] Congress also has the ability to affect the USPS budget by changing rates for postage. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the main bureaucratic organization responsible for the human resources aspect of many federal agencies and their employees. The PAEA created the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund (PSRHB) after Congress removed the Postal Service contribution to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery Most other employees that contribute to the CSRS have 7% deducted from their wages. The PAEA enabled the prefunding of health insurance for employees by stipulating that the USPS was to not to have a surplus and end the use of its savings to eliminate postal debt, which it had been instructed to do in the Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003.[66] Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery The weekly payment of 115 million was ceased on June 24, 2011 due to the USPS's debt of 8 billion and a retirement benefits surplus of 6.9 billion.[67][68] The next prefund payment scheduled to make is 5.6 billion due by September 30, 2012 however the S. 1789 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011 would end the payments altogether, while making cuts across the board like reducing the USPS delivery days from 6 to 5. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery The Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service sets policy, procedure, and postal rates for services rendered, and has a similar role to a corporate board of directors. Of the eleven members of the Board, nine are appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate (see 39 U.S.C. § 202). Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery The nine appointed members then select theUnited States Postmaster General, who serves as the board's tenth member, and who oversees the day to day activities of the service as Chief Executive Officer (see 39 U.S.C. §§ 202–203). The ten-member board then nominates a Deputy Postmaster General, who acts as Chief Operating Officer, to the eleventh and last remaining open seat. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery The independent Postal Regulatory Commission (formerly the Postal Rate Commission) is also controlled by appointees of the President confirmed by the Senate. It oversees postal rates and related concerns, having the authority to approve or reject USPS proposals. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery The USPS is often mistaken for a government-owned corporation (e.g., Amtrak) because it operates much like a business, but as noted above, it is legally defined as an "independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States", Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery (39 U.S.C. § 201) as it is controlled by Presidential appointees and the Postmaster General. As a quasi-governmental agency, it has many special privileges, including sovereign immunity, eminent domain powers, powers to negotiatepostal treaties with foreign nations, and an exclusive legal right to deliver first-class and third-class mail. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery Indeed, in 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the USPS was not a government-owned corporation, and therefore could not be sued under the Sherman Antitrust Act.[70]The U.S. Supreme Court has also upheld the USPS's statutory monopoly on access to letter boxes against a First Amendment freedom of speech challenge; Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery it thus remains illegal in the U.S. for anyone, other than the employees and agents of the USPS, to deliver mailpieces to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail."[71] The Postal Service also has a Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee and local Postal Customer Councils, which are advisory and primarily involve business customers. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery Article I, section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution grants Congress the power to establish post offices and post roads, which has been interpreted as a de facto Congressional monopoly over the delivery of mail. Accordingly, no other system for delivering mail – public or private – can be established, absent Congress's consent. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery The mission of the Postal Service is to provide the American public with trusted universal postal service at affordable prices. While not explicitly defined, the Postal Service's universal service obligation (USO) is broadly outlined in statute and includes multiple dimensions: Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery geographic scope, range of products, access to services and facilities, delivery frequency, affordable and uniform pricing, service quality, and security of the mail. While other carriers may claim to voluntarily provide delivery on a broad basis, the Postal Service is the only carrier with a legal obligation to provide all the various aspects of universal service at affordable rates. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery Proponents of universal service principles claim that since any obligation must be matched by the financial capability to meet that obligation, the postal monopoly was put in place as a funding mechanism for the USO, and it has been in place for over a hundred years. It consists of two parts: the Private Express Statutes (PES) and the mailbox access rule. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery The PES refers to the Postal Service's monopoly on the delivery of letters, and the mailbox rule refers to the Postal Service's exclusive access to customer mailboxes. Proponents of universal service principles further claim that eliminating or reducing the PES or mailbox rule would have an impact on the ability of the Postal Service to provide affordable universal service. Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery If, for example, the PES and the mailbox rule were to be eliminated, and the USO maintained, then either billions of dollars in tax revenues or some other source of funding would have to be found.Sony PCG-31211T Battery Some proponents[by whom?] of universal service principles suggest that private communications that are protected by the veil of government promote the exchange of free ideas and communications. This separates private communications from the ability of a private for-profit or non-profit organization to corrupt. Sony PCG-31311T Battery Security for the individual is in this way protected by the United States Post Office, maintaining confidentiality and anonymity, as well as government employees being much less likely to be instructed by superiors to engage in nefarious spying. It is seen by some[by whom?] as a dangerous step to extract the universal service principle from the post office, Sony PCG-51111T Battery as the untainted nature of private communications is preserved as assurance of the protection of individual freedom of privacy. Critics of universal service principles include several professional economists advocating for the privatization of the mail delivery system, or at least a relaxation of the universal service model that currently exists.[73] Sony PCG-81111T Battery Rick Geddes argued in 2000:[74] First, basic economics implies that rural customers are unlikely to be without service under competition; they would simply have to pay the true cost of delivery to them, which may or may not be lower than under monopoly. Sony PCG-81311T Battery

Second, basic notions of fairness imply that the cross-subsidy should be eliminated. To the extent that people make choices about where they live, they should assume the costs of that decision.

Third, there is no reason why the government monopoly is necessary to ensure service to sparsely populated areas. Sony VPCF138FC Battery

The government could easily award competitive contracts to private firms for that service.

Fourth, early concerns that rural residents of the United States would somehow become isolated without federally subsidized mail delivery today are simply unfounded. ... Once both sender and receiver have access to a computer, the marginal cost of sending an electronic message is close to zero. Sony VPCF219FC Battery However, as the recent notice of a termination of mail service to residents of the Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness indicates, mail service has been contracted to private firms such as Arnold Aviation for many decades. KTVB-TV reported:[75] Sony VPCS135EC Battery '"We cannot go out every week and pick up our's impossible", said Heinz Sippel. "Everyone gets their mail. Why can't we?" said Sue Anderson. Getting mail delivered, once a week, by airplane is not a luxury, it's a necessity for those who live in Idaho's vast wilderness – those along the Salmon and Selway rivers. Sony VPCS136EC Battery It's a service that's been provided to them for more than half a century – mostly by Ray Arnold of Arnold Aviation.The decision was reversed; U.S. Postmaster General John Potter indicated that acceptable service to back country customers could not be achieved in any other fashion than continuing an air mail contract with Arnold Aviation to deliver the mail."[76]Sony VPCS138EC Battery The Postal Act of 2006 required the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to submit a report to the President and Congress on universal postal service and the postal monopoly in December 2008. The report must include any recommended changes. Sony VPCS139GC Battery The Postal Service report supports the requirement that the PRC is to consult with and solicit written comments from the Postal Service. In addition, the Government Accountability Office is required to evaluate broader business model issues by 2011. On October 15, 2008, the Postal Service submitted a report[77] to the PRC on its position related to the Universal Service Obligation (USO). Sony VPCYA15EC Battery It said no changes to the USO and restriction on mailbox access were necessary at this time, but increased regulatory flexibility was required to ensure affordable universal service in the future. In 2013, the Postal Service announced that starting August 2013, Saturday delivery would be discontinued. Sony VPCYA16EC Battery Obligations of the USO include uniform prices, quality of service, access to services, and six-day delivery (reduced to five-day delivery starting in 2013) to every part of the country. To assure financial support for these obligations, the postal monopoly provides the Postal Service the exclusive right to deliver letters and restricts mailbox access solely for mail. Sony VPCYA25EC Battery

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