Complaint About Postal Services, 52718-52720 [2011-21415]

Download as PDF 52718 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 163 / Tuesday, August 23, 2011 / Notices Weeks of August 22, 29, September 5, 12, 19, 26, 2011. PLACE: Commissioners’ Conference Room, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland. STATUS: Public and Closed. DATE: Week of August 22, 2011 There are no meetings scheduled for the week of August 22, 2011. Week of August 29, 2011—Tentative Tuesday, August 30, 2011 8:55 a.m. Affirmation Session (Public Meeting) (Tentative) Final Rule: Enhancements to Emergency Preparedness Regulations (10 CFR parts 50 and 10 CFR part 52) (RIN—3150–Al10) (Tentative) This meeting will be webcast live at the Web address—https://www.nrc.gov. 9 a.m. Information Briefing on Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria (ITAAC), Related Activities (Public Meeting) (Contact: Aida Rivera-Varona, 301– 415–4001) This meeting will be webcast live at the Web address—https://www.nrc.gov. Week of September 5, 2011—Tentative There are no meetings scheduled for the week of September 5, 2011. Week of September 12, 2011—Tentative There are no meetings scheduled for the week of September 12, 2011. Week of September 19, 2011—Tentative There are no meetings scheduled for the week of September 19, 2011. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Week of September 26, 2011—Tentative Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9 a.m. Mandatory Hearing—Southern Nuclear Operating Co., et al.; Combined Licenses for Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4, and Limited Work Authorizations (Public Meeting) (Contact: Rochelle Bavol, 301–415– 1651) This meeting will be webcast live at the Web address—www.nrc.gov. * * * * * The schedule for Commission meetings is subject to change on short notice. To verify the status of meetings, call (recording)—(301) 415–1292. Contact person for more information: Rochelle Bavol, (301) 415–1651. * * * * * The NRC Commission Meeting Schedule can be found on the Internet at: https://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/ public-meetings/schedule.html. * * * * * VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:33 Aug 22, 2011 Jkt 223001 The NRC provides reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in these public meetings, or need this meeting notice or the transcript or other information from the public meetings in another format (e.g. braille, large print), please notify Bill Dosch, Chief, Work Life and Benefits Branch, at 301–415–6200, TDD: 301– 415–2100, or by e-mail at william.dosch@nrc.gov. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a caseby-case basis. * * * * * This notice is distributed electronically to subscribers. If you no longer wish to receive it, or would like to be added to the distribution, please contact the Office of the Secretary, Washington, DC 20555 (301–415–1969), or send an e-mail to darlene.wright@nrc.gov. August 18, 2011. Rochelle C. Bavol, Policy Coordinator, Office of the Secretary. [FR Doc. 2011–21626 Filed 8–19–11; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. C2011–2; Order No. 808] Complaint About Postal Services Postal Regulatory Commission. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: San Francisco, in its municipal capacity, has filed a formal complaint alleging that there deficiencies in the Postal Service’s delivery of mail to residents of certain multi-unit buildings, and that the Postal Service is therefore not acting in conformance with statutory requirements. This document identifies the grounds for the complaint, reviews key developments, and addresses certain procedural matters, including authorization of settlement negotiations. DATES: The settlement coordinator’s report is due September 15, 2011. ADDRESSES: Submit comments electronically by accessing the ‘‘Filing Online’’ link in the banner at the top of the Commission’s Web site (https:// www.prc.gov) or by directly accessing the Commission’s Filing Online system at https://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/filingonline/login.aspx. Commenters who cannot submit their views electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section as the source for case-related SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 information for advice on alternatives to electronic filing. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, at 202–789–6820 (case-related information) or DocketAdmins@prc.gov (electronic filing assistance). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction II. Postal Service Pleadings III. Statutory Alternatives for Commission Action IV. Analysis and Written Determination V. Ordering Paragraphs I. Introduction A. Procedural Context The instant Complaint was filed with the Commission on May 18, 2011.1 It involves two statutory claims about the mode of delivery the Postal Service provides to residents of single-room occupancy buildings (SROs) in San Francisco, California. The impetus for the Complaint stems from three developments that span more than 5 years. The first was a growing concern, on the part of the City and County of San Francisco (San Francisco or Complainant) about the reliability and security of mail delivery to residents of SROs. Delivery to SROs generally occurs under Postal Service regulations specifying the ‘‘singlepoint’’ mode of delivery for hotels, schools and similar places. This means a letter carrier typically leaves a mail bag at or in the building, such as at the doorstep, in the lobby or at a central desk.2 Building management is responsible for delivering the mail to residents and for handling other tasks, such as forwarding. This contrasts with centralized delivery, where a letter carrier delivers mail pursuant to a regulation covering the residents of a multi-unit building, such as an apartment building, via individual, locked mailboxes.3 2006 ordinance. The second development was San Francisco’s adoption, in 2006, of an ordinance aimed at addressing its concerns about SRO mail delivery. Complaint at 2. The ordinance required SRO owners to install (by the end of 2007) individual, secure, Postal Service-compliant mailboxes for each resident. San Francisco asserts that prior to adoption of the ordinance, there was at least one conversation with a Postal Service employee indicating that installation of Postal Service-approved mailbox installations in SROs would result in a 1 Complaint of the City and County of San Francisco, May 18, 2011 (Complaint). 2 See POM § 615.2 (single-point delivery). 3 See POM § 631.45 (centralized delivery). E:\FR\FM\23AUN1.SGM 23AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 163 / Tuesday, August 23, 2011 / Notices switch from single-point delivery to centralized delivery. Following adoption of the ordinance, some SRO owners installed individual mailboxes and the Postal Service apparently began delivering mail to residents of these SROs via centralized delivery. However, this practice was later reviewed (as part of a broader evaluation) and found to be contrary to the postal regulation that establishes single-point delivery as the appropriate mode of delivery for SROs. The Postal Service informed a city official that it would continue to deliver mail via centralized delivery to SROs where individual mailboxes had been installed, but would use single-point delivery for all others, including those that installed individual mailboxes in the future. See id. Exh. 1 at 1–2. Federal lawsuit. The third development was San Francisco’s filing of a Federal lawsuit in 2009. The grounds, in brief, were that the Postal Service’s post-ordinance actions raise constitutional questions and regulatory (title 39) issues.4 The court dismissed the regulatory issues (finding them within the Commission’s purview), but retained jurisdiction over the constitutional claims. At this point, the record shows that the Federal lawsuit is still pending. A lengthy discovery phase is nearing an end; dispositive motions are to be heard by October 13, 2011; and a trial date has been set for January 9, 2012. See Answer of the United States Postal Service, August 8, 2011, Exh. 1 (Answer). B. The Commission’s Section 3662 Jurisdiction Commission jurisdiction over formal complaints is set out in section 3662(a). This section provides: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Any interested person * * * who believes the Postal Service is not operating in conformance with the requirements of the provisions of sections 101(d), 401(2), 403(c), 404a, or 601, or this chapter (or regulations promulgated under any of those provisions) may lodge a complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission * * *. 39 U.S.C. 3662(a). San Francisco generally claims that there are deficiencies in the Postal Service’s delivery of mail to most SRO residents in California, and that these deficiencies cause harm to the affected residents and to San Francisco. Complaint at 1. For purposes of establishing Commission jurisdiction, it relies on two of the provisions identified in section 3662: sections 401(2) and 403(c). Section 401(2) grants 4 City of San Francisco, et al. v. United States Postal Service, N.D. Cal. (1964). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:33 Aug 22, 2011 Jkt 223001 the Postal Service, as one of its general powers, the authority to adopt, amend, and repeal any rules and regulations necessary to the execution of its statutory functions, to the extent such rules and regulations are not inconsistent with title 39. 39 U.S.C. 401(2). Section 403(c) states that in providing services under title 39 ‘‘the Postal Service shall not, except as specifically authorized in this title, make any undue or unreasonable discrimination among users of the mails, nor shall it grant any undue or unreasonable preferences to any such user.’’ 39 U.S.C. 403(c). C. The Nexus Between Complainant’s Assertions and Section 3662 Jurisdiction The asserted link to section 401(2). San Francisco’s reading of postal regulations leads it to conclude that mail delivery to residents of SROs should be provided under centralized delivery regulations, rather than under regulations for single-point delivery, assuming the SRO has individual, locked mailboxes. It maintains that the Postal Service erroneously classifies SROs under the delivery regulation for hotels and schools, and is therefore failing to enforce its own regulations. Complaint at 16. The asserted link to section 403(c). San Francisco asserts that the Postal Service’s decision to use single-point delivery for residents of SROs reflects their socioeconomic status, especially relative to apartment dwellers, and unfounded assumptions about the transience of SRO residents, and therefore unduly discriminates against SRO residents and grants an undue preference to apartment dwellers in violation of 39 U.S.C. 403(c). Id. at 12. II. Postal Service Pleadings On June 7, 2011, the Postal Service filed a motion seeking dismissal of count 1 of the two-count Complaint.5 The basis was lack of jurisdiction under section 401(2). The Postal Service did not seek dismissal of count 2, stating instead that the Complainant arguably set out a claim with respect to undue discrimination. Id. at 2. The Complainant filed an opposition to the Motion.6 The Commission granted the Motion, in part, by striking allegations in count 1 that correspondence between the San Francisco Postmaster and a city 5 Motion of United States Postal Service for Partial Dismissal of the Complaint, June 7, 2011 (Motion). 6 City and County of San Francisco’s Answer in Opposition to Motion of United States Postal Service for Partial Dismissal of the Complaint, June 15, 2011. PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52719 official had not been adopted pursuant to Federal rulemaking procedures.7 This disposition led to the filing of the Postal Service’s Answer on August 8, 2011. In its Answer, the Postal Service serially addresses each paragraph, providing responses that admit, deny, disclaim sufficient knowledge to the assertion, or state no response is needed. With respect to points central to the Complaint, it denies that San Francisco has alleged any ‘‘deficiencies’’ in mail delivery service and that ‘‘the socioeconomic circumstances of delivery customers matter when making decisions about the appropriate mode of delivery.’’ Answer at 1–2. The Postal Service also denies the applicability of POM 631.45, contending the controlling regulation is POM 615.2, Mail Addressed to Persons at Hotels, Schools, and Similar Places. Id. at 4. It adds that San Francisco has not made any showing, as required under POM 631.6 (Conversion of Mode of Delivery) that conversion to another mode of delivery is warranted. Id. Significantly, the Postal Service also states that it ‘‘would not object to delivering mail at those locations by placing it into a locked receptacle * * *.’’ Id. at 3. III. Statutory Alternatives for Commission Action The Commission has two affirmative alternatives for handling a section 3662 complaint under section 3662(b). One is to begin proceedings upon a finding that the complaint raises material issues of fact or law. 39 U.S.C. 3662(b)(1)(A)(i).8 The other alternative is to issue an order dismissing the complaint. 39 U.S.C. 3662(b)(1)(A)(ii). Action under either alternative is to be taken within 90 days and supported by a written statement setting forth the basis for the determination. 39 U.S.C. 3662(b)(1) and 3662(b)(1)(B). IV. Analysis and Written Determination The parties recognize that the Postal Service’s current delivery practices do differentiate between residents of many SROs in San Francisco and apartment dwellers. Thus, the current issue before the Commission is whether the pleadings indicate that there are material questions of fact and law on this point. In its Complaint, San Francisco concludes that in light of the parties’ inability to resolve their dispute during mediation associated with the Federal 7 Order Granting, in Part, Postal Service Motion To Dismiss Count 1, July 29, 2011. 8 The statute does not specify the precise nature of the proceedings. E:\FR\FM\23AUN1.SGM 23AUN1 52720 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 163 / Tuesday, August 23, 2011 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES lawsuit, it believes that additional steps to settle this matter prior to the filing of this Complaint would have been futile. Complaint at 15–16. However, as referenced above, the Postal Service Answer contains what appears to be a good faith offer to address the concerns that initially motivated this controversy by providing a new delivery option for residents of most SROs in San Francisco: delivery of the mail to a locked receptacle, with management continuing to be responsible from that point. The Commission views the Postal Service’s offer as an attempt to appropriately balance the concerns of the Complainant (for more security and reliability in mail delivery) and the Postal Service (for efficiency and effectiveness, including the cost implications of adding numerous delivery points at an especially critical financial time).9 The Commission therefore defers action on this Complaint and directs that the parties begin settlement negotiations based on the Postal Service’s offer. Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, the Commission designates James Waclawski as officer of the Commission (Public Representative) to represent the interests of the public. The Public Representative shall also serve as settlement coordinator. The Commission strongly believes that all concerned would be best served by a negotiated settlement of this matter. It directs the Public Representative to file a report on the progress of settlement within 30 days of the issuance of this order. V. Ordering Paragraphs It is ordered: 1. The Commission defers its decision on whether the Complaint of the City and County of San Francisco presents material questions of fact and law, pending settlement discussions between the parties. 2. The Commission directs the Complainant and the Postal Service to immediately engage in settlement negotiations with the goal of expeditiously resolving this controversy based on the Postal Service’s offer. 3. The Commission, pursuant to section 505, appoints James Waclawski to serve as Public Representative in this proceeding and to serve as settlement coordinator. 4. The Commission directs the settlement coordinator to file a report within 30 days of the date of this order. 5. The Commission directs the Secretary of the Commission to arrange 9 San Francisco states that 18,000 San Franciscans live in SROs. Id. at 6. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:33 Aug 22, 2011 Jkt 223001 for publication of this order in the Federal Register. By the Commission. Shoshana M. Grove, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2011–21415 Filed 8–22–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710–FW–P POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. A2011–47; Order No. 805] Post Office Closing Postal Regulatory Commission. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: This document informs the public that an appeal of the closing of the Francitas, Texas post office has been filed. It identifies preliminary steps and provides a procedural schedule. Publication of this document will allow the Postal Service, petitioners, and others to take appropriate action. DATES: Administrative record due (from Postal Service): August 30, 2011; deadline for notices to intervene: September 12, 2011. See the Procedural Schedule in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for other dates of interest. SUMMARY: Submit comments electronically by accessing the ‘‘Filing Online’’ link in the banner at the top of the Commission’s Web site (https:// www.prc.gov) or by directly accessing the Commission’s Filing Online system at https://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/filingonline/login.aspx. Commenters who cannot submit their views electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section as the source for case-related information for advice on alternatives to electronic filing. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, at 202–789–6820 (case-related information) or DocketAdmins@prc.gov (electronic filing assistance). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 404(d), on August 15, 2011, the Commission received a petition for review of the Postal Service’s determination to close the post office in Francitas, Texas. The petition was filed by Carolina Jalufka (Petitioner) and is postmarked August 6, 2011. The Commission hereby institutes a proceeding under 39 U.S.C. 404(d)(5) and establishes Docket No. A2011–47 to consider Petitioner’s appeal. If Petitioner would like to further explain her position with supplemental information or facts, Petitioner may ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 either file a Participant Statement on PRC Form 61 or file a brief with the Commission no later than September 19, 2011. Categories of issues apparently raised. Petitioner contends that the Postal Service failed to consider the effect of the closing on the community. See 39 U.S.C. 404(d)(2)(A)(i). After the Postal Service files the administrative record and the Commission reviews it, the Commission may find that there are more legal issues than those set forth above, or that the Postal Service’s determination disposes of one or more of those issues. The deadline for the Postal Service to file the applicable administrative record with the Commission is August 30, 2011. See 39 CFR 3001.113. In addition, the due date for any responsive pleading by the Postal Service to this notice is August 30, 2011. Availability; Web site posting. The Commission has posted the appeal and supporting material on its Web site at https://www.prc.gov. Additional filings in this case and participants’ submissions also will be posted on the Commission’s Web site, if provided in electronic format or amenable to conversion, and not subject to a valid protective order. Information on how to use the Commission’s Web site is available online or by contacting the Commission’s webmaster via telephone at 202–789–6873 or via electronic mail at prc-webmaster@prc.gov. The appeal and all related documents are also available for public inspection in the Commission’s docket section. Docket section hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., eastern time, Monday through Friday, except on Federal government holidays. Docket section personnel may be contacted via electronic mail at prcdockets@prc.gov or via telephone at 202–789–6846. Filing of documents. All filings of documents in this case shall be made using the Internet (Filing Online) pursuant to Commission rules 9(a) and 10(a) at the Commission’s Web site, https://www.prc.gov, unless a waiver is obtained. See 39 CFR 3001.9(a) and 3001.10(a). Instructions for obtaining an account to file documents online may be found on the Commission’s Web site or by contacting the Commission’s docket section at prc-dockets@prc.gov or via telephone at 202–789–6846. The Commission reserves the right to redact personal information which may infringe on an individual’s privacy rights from documents filed in this proceeding. Intervention. Persons, other than Petitioner and respondent, wishing to be heard in this matter are directed to file E:\FR\FM\23AUN1.SGM 23AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 163 (Tuesday, August 23, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52718-52720]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-21415]


=======================================================================
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POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. C2011-2; Order No. 808]


Complaint About Postal Services

AGENCY: Postal Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: San Francisco, in its municipal capacity, has filed a formal 
complaint alleging that there deficiencies in the Postal Service's 
delivery of mail to residents of certain multi-unit buildings, and that 
the Postal Service is therefore not acting in conformance with 
statutory requirements. This document identifies the grounds for the 
complaint, reviews key developments, and addresses certain procedural 
matters, including authorization of settlement negotiations.

DATES: The settlement coordinator's report is due September 15, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments electronically by accessing the ``Filing 
Online'' link in the banner at the top of the Commission's Web site 
(https://www.prc.gov) or by directly accessing the Commission's Filing 
Online system at https://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/filing-online/login.aspx. Commenters who cannot submit their views electronically 
should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section as the source for case-related information for advice 
on alternatives to electronic filing.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, 
at 202-789-6820 (case-related information) or DocketAdmins@prc.gov 
(electronic filing assistance).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction
II. Postal Service Pleadings
III. Statutory Alternatives for Commission Action
IV. Analysis and Written Determination
V. Ordering Paragraphs

I. Introduction

A. Procedural Context

    The instant Complaint was filed with the Commission on May 18, 
2011.\1\ It involves two statutory claims about the mode of delivery 
the Postal Service provides to residents of single-room occupancy 
buildings (SROs) in San Francisco, California.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Complaint of the City and County of San Francisco, May 18, 
2011 (Complaint).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The impetus for the Complaint stems from three developments that 
span more than 5 years. The first was a growing concern, on the part of 
the City and County of San Francisco (San Francisco or Complainant) 
about the reliability and security of mail delivery to residents of 
SROs. Delivery to SROs generally occurs under Postal Service 
regulations specifying the ``single-point'' mode of delivery for 
hotels, schools and similar places. This means a letter carrier 
typically leaves a mail bag at or in the building, such as at the 
doorstep, in the lobby or at a central desk.\2\ Building management is 
responsible for delivering the mail to residents and for handling other 
tasks, such as forwarding. This contrasts with centralized delivery, 
where a letter carrier delivers mail pursuant to a regulation covering 
the residents of a multi-unit building, such as an apartment building, 
via individual, locked mailboxes.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ See POM Sec.  615.2 (single-point delivery).
    \3\ See POM Sec.  631.45 (centralized delivery).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2006 ordinance. The second development was San Francisco's 
adoption, in 2006, of an ordinance aimed at addressing its concerns 
about SRO mail delivery. Complaint at 2. The ordinance required SRO 
owners to install (by the end of 2007) individual, secure, Postal 
Service-compliant mailboxes for each resident. San Francisco asserts 
that prior to adoption of the ordinance, there was at least one 
conversation with a Postal Service employee indicating that 
installation of Postal Service-approved mailbox installations in SROs 
would result in a

[[Page 52719]]

switch from single-point delivery to centralized delivery.
    Following adoption of the ordinance, some SRO owners installed 
individual mailboxes and the Postal Service apparently began delivering 
mail to residents of these SROs via centralized delivery. However, this 
practice was later reviewed (as part of a broader evaluation) and found 
to be contrary to the postal regulation that establishes single-point 
delivery as the appropriate mode of delivery for SROs. The Postal 
Service informed a city official that it would continue to deliver mail 
via centralized delivery to SROs where individual mailboxes had been 
installed, but would use single-point delivery for all others, 
including those that installed individual mailboxes in the future. See 
id. Exh. 1 at 1-2.
    Federal lawsuit. The third development was San Francisco's filing 
of a Federal lawsuit in 2009. The grounds, in brief, were that the 
Postal Service's post-ordinance actions raise constitutional questions 
and regulatory (title 39) issues.\4\ The court dismissed the regulatory 
issues (finding them within the Commission's purview), but retained 
jurisdiction over the constitutional claims. At this point, the record 
shows that the Federal lawsuit is still pending. A lengthy discovery 
phase is nearing an end; dispositive motions are to be heard by October 
13, 2011; and a trial date has been set for January 9, 2012. See Answer 
of the United States Postal Service, August 8, 2011, Exh. 1 (Answer).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ City of San Francisco, et al. v. United States Postal 
Service, N.D. Cal. (1964).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. The Commission's Section 3662 Jurisdiction

    Commission jurisdiction over formal complaints is set out in 
section 3662(a). This section provides:

    Any interested person * * * who believes the Postal Service is 
not operating in conformance with the requirements of the provisions 
of sections 101(d), 401(2), 403(c), 404a, or 601, or this chapter 
(or regulations promulgated under any of those provisions) may lodge 
a complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission * * *.

39 U.S.C. 3662(a).
    San Francisco generally claims that there are deficiencies in the 
Postal Service's delivery of mail to most SRO residents in California, 
and that these deficiencies cause harm to the affected residents and to 
San Francisco. Complaint at 1. For purposes of establishing Commission 
jurisdiction, it relies on two of the provisions identified in section 
3662: sections 401(2) and 403(c). Section 401(2) grants the Postal 
Service, as one of its general powers, the authority to adopt, amend, 
and repeal any rules and regulations necessary to the execution of its 
statutory functions, to the extent such rules and regulations are not 
inconsistent with title 39. 39 U.S.C. 401(2). Section 403(c) states 
that in providing services under title 39 ``the Postal Service shall 
not, except as specifically authorized in this title, make any undue or 
unreasonable discrimination among users of the mails, nor shall it 
grant any undue or unreasonable preferences to any such user.'' 39 
U.S.C. 403(c).

C. The Nexus Between Complainant's Assertions and Section 3662 
Jurisdiction

    The asserted link to section 401(2). San Francisco's reading of 
postal regulations leads it to conclude that mail delivery to residents 
of SROs should be provided under centralized delivery regulations, 
rather than under regulations for single-point delivery, assuming the 
SRO has individual, locked mailboxes. It maintains that the Postal 
Service erroneously classifies SROs under the delivery regulation for 
hotels and schools, and is therefore failing to enforce its own 
regulations. Complaint at 16.
    The asserted link to section 403(c). San Francisco asserts that the 
Postal Service's decision to use single-point delivery for residents of 
SROs reflects their socioeconomic status, especially relative to 
apartment dwellers, and unfounded assumptions about the transience of 
SRO residents, and therefore unduly discriminates against SRO residents 
and grants an undue preference to apartment dwellers in violation of 39 
U.S.C. 403(c). Id. at 12.

II. Postal Service Pleadings

    On June 7, 2011, the Postal Service filed a motion seeking 
dismissal of count 1 of the two-count Complaint.\5\ The basis was lack 
of jurisdiction under section 401(2). The Postal Service did not seek 
dismissal of count 2, stating instead that the Complainant arguably set 
out a claim with respect to undue discrimination. Id. at 2. The 
Complainant filed an opposition to the Motion.\6\ The Commission 
granted the Motion, in part, by striking allegations in count 1 that 
correspondence between the San Francisco Postmaster and a city official 
had not been adopted pursuant to Federal rulemaking procedures.\7\ This 
disposition led to the filing of the Postal Service's Answer on August 
8, 2011.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Motion of United States Postal Service for Partial Dismissal 
of the Complaint, June 7, 2011 (Motion).
    \6\ City and County of San Francisco's Answer in Opposition to 
Motion of United States Postal Service for Partial Dismissal of the 
Complaint, June 15, 2011.
    \7\ Order Granting, in Part, Postal Service Motion To Dismiss 
Count 1, July 29, 2011.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In its Answer, the Postal Service serially addresses each 
paragraph, providing responses that admit, deny, disclaim sufficient 
knowledge to the assertion, or state no response is needed. With 
respect to points central to the Complaint, it denies that San 
Francisco has alleged any ``deficiencies'' in mail delivery service and 
that ``the socioeconomic circumstances of delivery customers matter 
when making decisions about the appropriate mode of delivery.'' Answer 
at 1-2. The Postal Service also denies the applicability of POM 631.45, 
contending the controlling regulation is POM 615.2, Mail Addressed to 
Persons at Hotels, Schools, and Similar Places. Id. at 4. It adds that 
San Francisco has not made any showing, as required under POM 631.6 
(Conversion of Mode of Delivery) that conversion to another mode of 
delivery is warranted. Id.
    Significantly, the Postal Service also states that it ``would not 
object to delivering mail at those locations by placing it into a 
locked receptacle * * *.'' Id. at 3.

III. Statutory Alternatives for Commission Action

    The Commission has two affirmative alternatives for handling a 
section 3662 complaint under section 3662(b). One is to begin 
proceedings upon a finding that the complaint raises material issues of 
fact or law. 39 U.S.C. 3662(b)(1)(A)(i).\8\ The other alternative is to 
issue an order dismissing the complaint. 39 U.S.C. 3662(b)(1)(A)(ii). 
Action under either alternative is to be taken within 90 days and 
supported by a written statement setting forth the basis for the 
determination. 39 U.S.C. 3662(b)(1) and 3662(b)(1)(B).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ The statute does not specify the precise nature of the 
proceedings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Analysis and Written Determination

    The parties recognize that the Postal Service's current delivery 
practices do differentiate between residents of many SROs in San 
Francisco and apartment dwellers. Thus, the current issue before the 
Commission is whether the pleadings indicate that there are material 
questions of fact and law on this point.
    In its Complaint, San Francisco concludes that in light of the 
parties' inability to resolve their dispute during mediation associated 
with the Federal

[[Page 52720]]

lawsuit, it believes that additional steps to settle this matter prior 
to the filing of this Complaint would have been futile. Complaint at 
15-16. However, as referenced above, the Postal Service Answer contains 
what appears to be a good faith offer to address the concerns that 
initially motivated this controversy by providing a new delivery option 
for residents of most SROs in San Francisco: delivery of the mail to a 
locked receptacle, with management continuing to be responsible from 
that point. The Commission views the Postal Service's offer as an 
attempt to appropriately balance the concerns of the Complainant (for 
more security and reliability in mail delivery) and the Postal Service 
(for efficiency and effectiveness, including the cost implications of 
adding numerous delivery points at an especially critical financial 
time).\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ San Francisco states that 18,000 San Franciscans live in 
SROs. Id. at 6.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Commission therefore defers action on this Complaint and 
directs that the parties begin settlement negotiations based on the 
Postal Service's offer. Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, the Commission 
designates James Waclawski as officer of the Commission (Public 
Representative) to represent the interests of the public. The Public 
Representative shall also serve as settlement coordinator. The 
Commission strongly believes that all concerned would be best served by 
a negotiated settlement of this matter. It directs the Public 
Representative to file a report on the progress of settlement within 30 
days of the issuance of this order.

V. Ordering Paragraphs

    It is ordered:
    1. The Commission defers its decision on whether the Complaint of 
the City and County of San Francisco presents material questions of 
fact and law, pending settlement discussions between the parties.
    2. The Commission directs the Complainant and the Postal Service to 
immediately engage in settlement negotiations with the goal of 
expeditiously resolving this controversy based on the Postal Service's 
offer.
    3. The Commission, pursuant to section 505, appoints James 
Waclawski to serve as Public Representative in this proceeding and to 
serve as settlement coordinator.
    4. The Commission directs the settlement coordinator to file a 
report within 30 days of the date of this order.
    5. The Commission directs the Secretary of the Commission to 
arrange for publication of this order in the Federal Register.

    By the Commission.
Shoshana M. Grove,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2011-21415 Filed 8-22-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P