The U.S. Postal Service is proceeding with recommendations to close three House-side post offices and is posting solicitations for public comment on whether to go ahead with the closures.
The USPS first made the recommendation to close post offices in the Capitol and Cannon and Rayburn House office buildings to the chief administrative officer of the House in the fall of 2001. The recommendations were made as part of a broader plan to reduce costs at the agency and included closing scores of other post offices and mail-processing facilities across the country.
The reaction from the public and Congress was so fierce that the Postal Service abandoned the overall closure plan. But the idea of closing the three House-side post offices was supported by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., whose panel oversees the USPS, and House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., whose committee oversees House Capitol campus operations.
In an April 4 letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, the lawmakers signed off on the closures, writing that it made sense given the “low usage” of the facilities, according to a USPS survey. “We request that within the next three months you close the above mentioned facilities, consolidating these services to the Ford and Longworth House Office Buildings,” the letter said.
GPO Gets Labor Director
The Government Printing Office announced Tuesday that Melissa Hatfield is its new director of labor relations. In her position, Hatfield will be management’s go-between with the GPO’s 12 unions. She has previous experience in similar jobs with the Education Department, where she was director of workforce relations, as well as the Transportation Department and the EPA. Before she joined the executive branch, she worked for the National Treasury Employees Union, where she helped lead negotiations for the union with federal agencies, so she has experience on both sides of the negotiating table.
“Melissa’s extensive legal and labor relations experience dealing with [the] federal government and the private sector is important as she works with GPO’s management and unions on labor relations matters,” acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks said in a statement.
For anyone who might doubt Hatfield’s toughness, take note: According to the GPO, she’s the “great, great, great granddaughter of the Judge Valentine ‘Wall’ Hatfield, of the famous West Virginia Hatfield family.” You know, half of the equation that gave us one of history’s indelible feuds: the Hatfields and McCoys.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.