The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday it will stop delivering Saturday mail to trim costs. USPS will continue to disburse packages six days a week.
The Orange Leader is delievered to readers through the mail three times a week, including a weekend publication mailed on Saturdays.
“We began exploring Saturday delivery options Wednesday morning,” Orange Leader Publisher Eric Bauer said. “It’s too early to say definitively which path we’ll take before the USPS stops Saturday delivery in August. We’ll work through all the options and keep our readers informed in the weeks to come. We want to continue the weekend edition. It’s proven very successful for our readers and advertisers. We know our readers want Friday night sports, local news, classifieds and other big ads on the weekend.”
The service expects the Saturday mail cutback to begin the week of Aug. 5 and to save about $2 billion annually, said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe.
"Our financial condition is urgent," Donahoe told a press conference.
The move accentuates one of the agency's strong points — package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet services.
Under the new plan, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday, but would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays.
Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages — and it repeatedly but unsuccessfully appealed to Congress to approve the move. Though an independent agency, the service gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.
Congress has included a ban on five-day delivery in its appropriations bill. But because the federal government is now operating under a temporary spending measure, rather than an appropriations bill, Donahoe says it's the agency's interpretation that it can make the change itself.
The Postal Service is in the midst of a major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, it has cut annual costs by about $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 or by 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations, officials say.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.