March 29, 2009

The Postal Service in 2009 Crisis

Being a part of the USPS as a rural carrier for 30 years, the postal service as done much to reduce the bureaucracy of it's management, but it still has a ways to go.  Much of what the PM General has said is not reflective of what is happening on the ground. 
First off, the closing of Post Offices has been something that should have been allowed years ago.  The USPS has tried to do this, but the political ignorance of our government has stopped it, in that communities are selfish in keeping their local office, a status symbol of sort.  Back in the day when the Post of Post Office meant something, the post office was controlled by the Post master being appointed by the Township Supervisor.  In 1968 all that changed when the USPS was made a non-profit entity,, yet it is still under the Federal Government.  On the shelves in every post office is a box of identification cards to be filled out in the event of a catastrophic disaster.  But no longer is the Post Office the center of the community, where the public could find out and share it's needs.  Now it is an online contact or and 1-800 number.  Strike one.
As to the closing of offices, that must happen.  This move alone would reduce all of the deficit for years.  Why is it necessary to have four post offices within a 5 mile radius with the ability of transport we have today and the continued rural delivery?  Contact your congressman and tell them to support the reduction of Post offices and to allow for the local stores to bid on providing a store front for the Postal service, with one post office being provided within an five mile radius.
On the reduction of mail delivery days from 6 to 5, the cost savings is not as it may seem.  Yes, mileage will be reduced and the time to travel those miles, but the mail will be rolled into the volume of five days which will increase the size of the route for the five days of delivery.  Most routes have carriers who are working only five days and the addition of the mail volume will push many up and into the need to divide out another route, thus increasing the number of routes and the overhead that entails.  It will curtail the service to both business and customers who to many find mail delivery to be a high point of their day.  Why?  Even though we have the technology advance of the Internet, the personal touch of a handwritten letter from a friend or family member, loved one is much cherished and many people, even with Internet service, find it intruding on their busy life and really don't have much time for it.  Looking through a catalog online is not even close to the one in your hand.  Do the five day if you wish, but it comes with a price.  And if you do, will it be on a Wednesday when the mail sorted on Tuesday by the mail processing plants hits the delivery offices or will it be on Saturday, as is the normal habit of preserving the weekend?  Some fear that if the postal service can split their days off, so to can the rest of America.  It may set a precedence no one will like.
As to allowing for the private business to absorb the Postal Service and remove the monopoly on first class mail, which is only at the letter rate, it would end the affordability of sending mail.  The postal service handles over a million pieces of mail every day.  The providing of delivery to your home saves many barrows of oil in the unneeded trip to a delivery center.  If mail is delivered, it would make a letter mailing cost become very expensive.  The Postal service is in competition with the delivery of overnight envelopes, parcels and such.  But the cost of providing the mandatory delivery and the letter at the most proficient cost in the world, and the number of offices for service makes the Postal service handicapped by Constitutional mandate to provide for a Postal Service and for the liberty and freedom mail delivery provides.
Yes, close offices and avoid the need for bailouts to the postal service.  Also, you might remind the USPS that their Post Masters are quite capable of doing their job and do not need so much micro managing and to get rid of those who are not responsible for handling the mail.  As to reducing days of delivery, that may not be wise, unless the mail volume drops considerable.
Speaking to mail volume, over the years, one could measure when we were going into and out of a recession.  If the mail volume started to drop, you could expect that we would recognize we were into a recession within six months. The same went for coming out of a recession.  We could see the end of a recession about six months after the mail volume picked back up.  Our current recession showed up first as a mail volume drop off in August of 2007.  Around The first of September 2008, the mail volume began to pick back up.  (We just had a count of the mail volume and in Michigan, the average change was about a .5 decrease in volume over a year ago.)  That would have indicated that by February we would have recognized the recession seceding.  One has to wonder how much of this current fiscal crisis was created by the Presidential election and the wonder of how manufactured was the need for a bailout in September of 2008.  The International banking community would move 400 to 500 billion dollars at least once a week as standard practice.  You would have thought that the big bad Federal Reserve could have taken care of business.  Go figure.
R. George Dunn
Postmaster general: 'Situation is critical' - Mar 26, 2009
With predictions that mail volume will plunge this year, US Postmaster General John Potter is asking Congress for help in finding ways to survive. ... - 1055 related articles »
Being a part of the USPS as a rural carrier for 30 years, the postal service as done much to reduce the bureaucracy of it's management, but it still has a ways to go. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be patient on comment approval. Too many places to be. Thanks for your thoughts.