WASHINGTON — Cancellation of three-fourths of 1988 construction projects and closing of some post offices for at least the next two Saturdays were announced today by Postmaster General Preston R. Tisch.
Tisch said in a statement that the cuts in spending were required by the newly approved federal budget-cutting legislation, which calls for a $1.25-billion reduction in postal spending.
This is less damaging than originally proposed, Tisch said, but "will still bring about important and painful alterations in our ability to meet the needs of the American people for prompt, efficient and relatively inexpensive mail service."
In response to the budget cuts, the agency will cancel 50% of the construction projects planned for the next two years, including about 75% of those scheduled for 1988, Tisch said.
"The net effect of this will be that new facility construction projects not already under contract will be eliminated," Tisch said.
Postal officials said that managers are reviewing a list of several hundred construction projects to determine where cuts will be made, and that decisions will be announced locally.
In addition, Tisch announced that selected post offices across the country will be closed on the next two Saturdays, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.
Decisions on which offices will be closed will be made by division managers, Tisch said, and will be announced as soon as possible.
While the local offices will close, Saturday deliveries were not canceled, a move which would require permission from Congress.
Other cutbacks in service are considered likely, however, Tisch said, with all operating budgets currently under review.
Tisch also said that transportation for some third- and fourth-class mail will be consolidated, a step which should save money but could slow these classes of mail by a day or so. Third-class mail is generally advertising materials while fourth-class is parcels.
Cuts also will be made in planned purchases of equipment and vehicles, according to the statement.