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DA files lawsuit against Postal Service after county commissioners voted to approve litigation costs


Washoe County’s District Attorney sued the U.S. Postal Service today over the proposed move of mail sorting operations to Sacramento. The lawsuit was filed just after the Board of County Commissioners approved proceeding with litigation against the USPS. 

The lawsuit seeks to stop the USPS from implementing its plan to move processing operations, according to the DA’s office. 

“The complaint is for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, premised on the Postal Service’s failure to follow required procedures before they implement a major change to their operations,” DA spokesperson Kendall Holcomb said. “The cause of action is called Ultra Vires, which means the agency took an action that was outside the scope of their authority. 

“We will tenaciously pursue our claims on this and don’t have additional comment beyond that at this time,” Holcomb added.

DA Chris Hicks, after filing the case, alleged that Federal law requires the USPS to first go through the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), an independent body overseeing their operations, before changing services on a nationwide basis.

“If the current Postal Service plan is implemented, a letter destined for a person in Reno from another person in Reno would be placed on a truck, driven over Donner Pass to Sacramento – weather permitting, sorted in California, placed back on a truck to be driven over Donner Pass again – weather permitting, and then transferred to the Reno local processing center for delivery,” Hicks said. “It does not take much to imagine the mail delays our region could face with such a change.”

The move has drawn outrage from northern Nevada residents, including local governments and elected politicians. The DA called the USPS’s plan a threat: “This item could enable the country to mitigate or avoid these impacts.” 

From 2016 through 2023, trucks were prevented from driving over the pass for hundreds of hours in both directions. Up to $25,000 was approved for litigation.

 “The county’s lawsuit seeks to unwind the Postal Service’s decision to move the operations until the appropriate regulatory commission can issue an opinion on the merits of the proposal,” Hicks added.

Other commission actions

Provided by Washoe County and edited by This Is Reno

Contracts renewed with homeless services providers: Washoe County contracts with Karma Box, Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality and Volunteers of America for operations of Our Place, the Nevada Cares Campus and Safe Camp were approved. The board voted to approve cost-of-living increases to their contracts for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2024. These increases fall under the approved budget authority and incur no additional budgetary impacts.

Sky Tavern special use permit approved: The Board of Adjustment approved a special use permit for the Sky Tavern Junior Ski program expansion on April 4. The permit includes utility service for the installation of snow-making infrastructure and an expansion of the destination resort use type to expand site parking and lighting for the parking area and lighting for night skiing. Mount Rose Bowl Property Owners Water Co. appealed the part of the permit that allows lights for night skiing. The permit allows lighting until 9 p.m., mostly during the winter months. The Board of County Commissioners upheld the BOA’s permit approval.

Board approves donation to Animal Services to support pet reunification: Washoe County Regional Animal Services received a $20,000 grant from the Petco Love Foundation to expand and market its pet reunification efforts. WCRAS has a texting program that allows citizens to report a lost or found pet more easily. This builds on previous grant funding to implement public microchip scanning stations, which allow the public to scan a pet for a microchip and reunite it with its family before taking the pet to the shelter.

Board awards building projects from Affordable Housing Trust Fund: The Affordable Housing Trust Fund was established in 2018 and has become a funding source for permanent supportive housing for extremely low-income people. The fund has received county allocations and private donations and now has a $2 million balance. The first two projects to receive funding were approved today by the county commissioners. The projects will create 220 new supportive housing units. The Sutro Senior Sanctuary will provide 170 units with a completion date no later than February 2026 for $1 million, and the Line Drive Apartments will provide 51 units with a completion date no later than June 2026 for $750,000. 

Update: This story was updated to include a statement and new information from the DA’a office that arrived after initial publication of this story.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.