Tester opposes Postal consolidation

Great Falls Tribune

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester on Thursday urged the head of the U.S. Postal Service to avoid consolidating mail processing centers in Montana.

A Postal Service study showed consolidating certain mail sorting operations from Havre, Helena and Butte to Great Falls could save the agency about $500,000 a year and trim 14 positions. It also recommended consolidation of mail processing from Miles City to Billings, at a savings of $95,000 and a reduction of one employee.

At Tester’s request, postalservice employees held listening sessions this week with Montanans in Butte, Helena, Havre and Miles City.

In a letter Thursday to Postmaster General Patrick Donohue, Tester highlighted concerns expressed by hundreds of Montanans, including “the importance of a reliable and efficient postal system for doing business and making ends meet in our frontier state.”

Tester, a member of the Government Affairs and Homeland Security Committee that has jurisdiction over the Postal Service, also cited differences in the role post offices play in rural communities and urban cities.

“The bottom line is that Montana doesn’t fit well into consolidation modeling,” Tester added. “No rural state does, especially ones with challenging road conditions and long distances between communities.”