WASHINGTON — Postmaster General Marvin T. Runyon said Wednesday he has asked his staff to study the possibility of reducing residential mail deliveries to four days a week as a way to further cut U.S. Postal Service costs.
Runyon, who has ordered a massive reorganization of the agency since taking office three months ago, gave no hint that he was planning to propose such a cutback, describing his action as one of several questions he has posed. Previous postmasters general have retreated from proposals to cut residential delivery under sharp criticism from Congress, postal unions and mailers.
In an interview, Runyon expressed overall satisfaction with his major cost-cutting effort, the elimination of 30,000 to 40,000 jobs. Most are what Runyon calls the "overhead" jobs, not directly tied to handling the mail.
He continued to express confidence that he will be able to maintain current mail-delivery standards despite the resignations of about 46,500 workers, ranging from senior executives to letter carriers. The high number of employees who have filed retirement papers will force the hiring of new workers, but, "we knew that going in," he said.
A number of those expected to be hired will be temporary workers at lower pay.
Runyon, in discussing cost-cutting measures, said he initially considered eliminating Saturday mail delivery. But he said he learned that business mailers, who account for a large percentage of the service's revenue, are opposed to that idea.
"I have . . . got no concurrence from anybody in the Postal Service or customers, other than residential customers, that says we don't need Saturday delivery," he said. "We can't do without Saturday delivery, that's what I'm hearing."
But Runyon said he asked his staff to consider an alternative--eliminating residential delivery on Tuesdays and Thursdays.