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Friday, September 16, 2011 - 4:25am

Postal Processing Sites Could Close

More than a dozen U.S. Postal Service distribution and processing locations in Georgia could close. It’s the latest proposal being considered as the agency grapples with a deficit in the billions of dollars.

Locations on the chopping block being considered include in Acworth, Albany, Athens, Augusta, Cartersville, Columbus, Douglasville, Marietta, Savannah, Swainsboro, Valdosta, and Waycross. Nationwide, more than 250 could close.

A dramatic decline in first class mail volume has left the Postal Service grasping for ways to cut its expenses. Last year the agency lost more than $8 billion.

The USPS's Stephen Seewoester says this proposal allows for a restructuring of operations, and potential savings of $3 billion.

“As part of this proposal, we are changing service standards. For instance, in first class mail today, the standard is 1-3 days. And that would changed to 2-3 days.”

Seewoester could not immediately say how many Georgia postal employees would potentially be affected. But he says the total number nationwide could be up to 50,000.

A study on the proposal is underway, followed by public hearings next year.