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Higgins urges removal of postmaster general

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, on Thursday called for the removal of Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe, saying he botched the troubled Postal Service's fitful attempts to close processing centers and fix the agency's financial problems.

"I don't take this action lightly," Higgins said on the House floor. "But I believe we are left with no choice. We must protect the Postal Service, the businesses and the people that they serve."

He spelled out his concerns in a letter to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, saying that panel should remove Donahoe from his post following his proposal to close mail processing centers such as the one on William Street in Buffalo.

While the Postal Service eventually reversed itself and said it would keep the Buffalo facility open for the next three years, Higgins said the process leading up to the proposed closures indicates that Donahoe may be incapable of leading the Postal Service through its current financial crisis.

"Under the Postmaster General's leadership, the USPS displayed a complete lack of transparency and accountability throughout the process, which casts serious doubt that the current leadership is up to the task of leading the Postal Service through these challenging times," he said in a letter to Thurgood Marshall Jr., chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors.

He said the Postal Service discouraged public engagement in reviewing the proposed closures and refused to cooperate with requests for information. As for Donahoe, he initially ignored Higgins' phone calls and requests for a meeting to discuss the Buffalo facility, the congressman said.

Higgins said in the letter that he understood the Postal Service's struggles and wants to work with the agency to help it increase its business.

"However, I do not think that is possible under its current leadership," he said. "And I will not tolerate allowing my community to go through such a disrespectful and arrogant process at the hands of USPS executives again."

Two spokesmen at the U.S. Postal Service's national headquarters did not respond to a request for comment on Higgins' call for Donahoe's ouster.