USPS Has Achieved Just a Fraction of Its Projected Savings From Slowing Mail Delivery

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govexec.com: The U.S. Postal Service is not realizing the savings it projected when it slowed mail delivery and closed facilities, according to a new audit, which also found the mailing agency was struggling to meet its new standards.

USPS said when it virtually eliminated overnight mail while shifting much of its two-day service to a three-day window in 2014 it would save more than $805 million. In a new report, however, the agency’s inspector general identified just 10 percent of that estimate.

A large portion of the projected savings — $679 million — was slated to come from increased productivity. The IG said USPS could not document any savings from boosting its efficiency.  In fact, the IG found productivity actually declined 4.5 percent in 2015, the year after the new operating window change went into effect.  The auditors added productivity has dipped an additional 2.8 percent from January to April 2016. Read more.

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Food hall planned for old post office site in Stamford, CT

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Stamford Advocate: The old U.S. Post Office on Atlantic Street in Stamford, Conn. — closed since being sold to a developer three years ago for $4.3 million — was given a new day in the spotlight as dozens of city residents gathered inside to learn about the historic structure’s past, present and future.

“Today, we are not lamenting the lack of letters and the closing of this post office, but we are here to celebrate the fact that this beautiful historic building will be rehabilitated and converted into a new use,” said Lynn Drobbin, chair of Stamford’s Historic Preservation Advisory Commission.

The 1916 neo-Renaissance Italianate federal-style building, which has stood empty as one of the casualties of struggling post offices across the country that have been closed, downsized — and in some cases, demolished — will be flanked by two high-rise towers housing 650 apartments. And on Saturday, Bruce Berg, CEO of the Capelli Organization of White Plains, N.Y., said the oldest part of the site — which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 — will be restored and converted into a food hall, similar to the Urbanspace markets that dot New York City.

“We think this will be a great compliment not only to downtown Stamford, but to the buildings next door,” the developer said. “And we will be preserving the architecture at the same time.”

His statements, which included plans to offer pizza, a cheese shop and other vendors that may include a full restaurant, were met with loud, resounding bursts of applause throughout the lecture hall.  Read more.

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Post Office Banking: An Old Idea Getting New Life

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News OK: In big cities and affluent areas, banks can seem as ubiquitous as coffee chains. Making a deposit or stopping in to talk about a loan can be about as simple as grabbing a nonfat vanilla latte with an extra shot, no foam.But many Americans — those living in poor neighborhoods or in rural communities — don’t enjoy such convenience. They rely instead on costly “off-the-grid” services such as payday loans and check cashing. And plenty of others are tired of banks and would like an alternative.

What if the local post office could fill this gap? Customers could complete everyday banking tasks while sending packages and buying stamps.

It’s an old reality that’s getting a new look. And depending on whom you ask, it would either be a massive and misguided government overreach or the long-awaited alternative to payday loans that could save Americans about $90 billion a year.  Read more.

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Old post office in Bentonville, AR, may be demolished

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Democrat Gazette: The future of the old post office on the downtown square in Bentonville, Arkansas, remains in question.  The building currently serves as the Benton County Courthouse Annex, and local officials are working on plans for a new courts building.

“If you’re going to use that site, it’s better to use the whole site and demolish it,” County Judge Bob Clinard said of the prospect of building on that site. “Incorporating the old post office into a new, 21st century-structure is about like taking a Model T and attaching it to a BMW.”

Glenn Jones with the Historical Preservation Commission said he will fight any plan that calls for the demolition of the old post office building.bettonville-post-office

“Tearing down that old building has got to be the dumbest thing you can do,” Jones said.

The old post office at the intersection of Second and Northeast A streets — at the northeast corner of the downtown square in Bentonville — opened in July 1935, and was built for about $50,000, according to information from contemporary newspaper accounts gathered by the Benton County Historical Preservation Commission.  Read more.

(Photo credits: Google Street view and delcampe.net.)

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Wayne, OH Post Office suspended due to poor building condition

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Sentinel-Tribune: Village residents in Wayne, Ohio, have been without a local post office since August because of the extremely poor condition of the building in which it was housed, and some are saying the closure is starting to affect business. An attorney handling the estate that owns the building says progress is being made to restore the building to an acceptable condition.

The building that housed the post office is owned by the estate of Beryl and Joan Stewart, and Wayne Fiscal Officer Melissa Repasz said that building is now tied up in probate proceedings. The Stewarts died in 2013.“We’ve been directing people (with complaints) to the estate office and the (United States) post office,” she said.

David Van Allen of the United States Postal Service’s corporate communications division said complaints received by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about the air quality in the building led to an in-depth USPS safety and health investigation. The leased building was found to have a gas leak, vermin infestation and “significant” levels of airborne mold.

“In accordance with OSHA and USPS regulations intended to safeguard the health and safety of customers and employees, the Postal Service temporarily suspended operations at the Wayne Post Office on August 1, 2016,” an email from Van Allen read.He said people with post office boxes at the Wayne Post Office were notified of the situation and given alternatives for obtaining USPS retail services and their mail — including driving to the post office in Bradner. Bradner’s post office is at 101 Crocker St., which is about 2.5 miles away from Wayne’s closed post office at 101 W. Main St.Van Allen said the owner of the property is researching options for abating the health issues.

“When the issues are abated, the Wayne Post Office will reopen at its current location,” Van Allen said.  Read more.

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