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Rosen grills postmaster on plans to relocate Reno mail processing

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U.S.  Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., on Tuesday grilled U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy on his agency’s plan to relocate mail processing for northern Nevada to a facility in Sacramento, California. The exchange was part of a hearing held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, of which Rosen is a member.

Rosen, along with U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., has been working since February to stop the U.S. Postal Service from moving mail processing from Reno’s main post office on Vassar Street to a facility more than 100 miles away. 

The move is part of the USPS plans to improve services and efficiency. The plan recommends investing up to $8 million in sorting equipment at the Reno post office for mail destined for local addresses but moving outgoing mail processing out of state. 

USPS said it would save an estimated $3-4 million annually by moving outgoing mail processing to Sacramento. Rosen, however, said she’s repeatedly asked for data USPS officials used to develop its plan but it has never been provided.

“I would like to understand what analysis you undertook to conclude that moving mail processing from Reno to Sacramento would benefit Nevadans,” Rosen said to DeJoy. “Your staff has continued to assert your plan won’t undermine delivery standards for Nevada, but they have not been able to explain how this is possible or provide me any of that data you’ve collected.”

In addition to citing local delivery times twice as long as postal service standards—four days instead of two for local mail—Rosen noted that shipping mail over Donner Pass on Interstate 80 could slow mail delivery in northern Nevada even more. She asked DeJoy if he was aware of how many days each year Donner Pass is closed due to winter storms or wildfires. 

“How would I know that?” he responded. “We are investing significantly in the Reno facilities to repurpose it for what we feel is the modern-day need for postal service. The mail we are moving, only 10% of it…”

“So you want to sacrifice 10%?” Rosen responded. “You don’t get to sacrifice those living in my rural areas or subject to harsher weather in the name of cost savings.”

Local governments, including Washoe County and the City of Reno, have submitted letters to USPS officials asking them to reconsider their 10-year plan and keep mail processing in Reno. 

DeJoy, as part of his testimony, said the USPS has been in a financial death spiral for years and prior to his arrival had no plans for how to become self-sufficient. 

“As a former logistics industry executive, I can assure you that the Postal Service does not have an integrated mail and package network that can deliver to 167 million addresses, six days a week and produce a financially viable result in modern times under current operating and regulatory status and given the ongoing mail and package volume trends,” he said.

Nevada’s elected officials aren’t the only ones skeptical about DeJoy’s plans. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said it’s not clear any of the proposed USPS changes will save any money.

“There is no clear evidence that shows the changes will improve service in the long run,” he said. “When I have repeatedly asked the Postal Service for detailed studies, it cannot provide them. The Postal Service has even said it must execute more changes before studying their impacts – essentially plowing ahead without knowing whether service could be harmed.”

Watch Rosen’s exchange with DeJoy:


Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience working in marketing, public relations and communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. She also serves as director of communications for Nevada Cancer Coalition, a statewide nonprofit. Though she now lives in Atlanta, she is a Nevadan for life and uses her three-hour time advantage to get a jump on the morning’s news.

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