Postal Service headed in the wrong direction
By Russ Pankonin, The Imperial Republican
At a time when businesses are doing all they can to improve customer service to keep their customers happy and help the business grow, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is doing just the opposite.
For all intents and purposes, the USPS has given up its franchise. Rather than trying to improve their service, they are revising their delivery standards downward to vindicate themselves for the substandard service they have become so well known for.
That’s bad for rural and small-town America! Despite the ever-growing use of e-mail, many individuals and businesses still count on prompt mail service as a way of transacting business.
Soon, the promise of next-day mail delivery for first-class letters could be a fading memory.
Beginning in 2015, the USPS will close 80 mail processing centers across the country. Two of those are in Nebraska—Grand Island and Norfolk. Mail previously sorted in those centers will now go to Omaha to be sorted and then shipped back to those towns and area post offices.
Fortunately for us, the North Platte center escaped closure. Had that happened, our mail would have gone to Cheyenne to be sorted. Imagine that level of service for Imperial.
Community newspapers and their readers depend heavily on the Postal Service for delivery of their newspaper. In many rural communities, the USPS is the only feasible option for delivery. And like other postal customers, newspapers have witnessed a declining level of service.
It’s hard to understand why it can sometimes take a week to deliver a paper across state lines to Holyoke—a town that’s less than 40 miles away. On those occasions, I could walk the paper there myself faster than USPS can deliver it.
Congress isn’t helping the situation much either as the USPS continues to sink in a sea of red ink. In 2006, Congress passed a bill that required the Postal Service to prepay on its retirees’ health care benefits 75 years in advance. That means that unlike any other government or quasi-government agency, USPS has to pay for the retirements of workers who haven’t even been born yet!
Those payments—about $5.6 billion annually—could go a long ways towards helping restore financial stability for the Postal Service and improving delivery standards.
Where’s our Congressman Adrian Smith, chair of the House Rural Caucas, on this issue? Nowhere to be found! Despite that, this newspaper and the National Newspaper Association will not stand by quietly while small-town communities are put at risk by a Postal Service intent on degrading delivery standards rather than improving them.