Delays reported since mail sorting plant closed in Roaring Fork Valley

adminBlog

When the Postal Service presented testimony to the Postal Regulatory Commission about its plans to close over 240 mail processing plants, it claimed repeatedly that during the first phase, which involved closing about 150 facilities, overnight delivery would continue and only during phase two would it end.  But there have been many reports of delays.  

Today the Aspen Daily News reports, "Two years after the U.S. Postal Service moved mail-sorting operations for the Roaring Fork Valley from Glenwood Springs to a centralized facility in Grand Junction, some clerks are reporting delays in delivery, and the window for getting local mail to the post office in time for next-day delivery has shrunk. 

“Talking to my clerks in that area I’ve heard all sorts of stories in terms of delays, where they used to get the same mail on the same day of the week, and now it’s three or four days later,” said Shane McDonnell, president of the Grand Junction-based Western Colorado chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents postal clerks.   Read more.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Public meeting planned on possible closure of historic Glendale post office

adminBlog

Postal Service officials will hold a public meeting on Thursday about a proposal to relocate retail services from the historic post officein Glendale, California. The post office was built in 1934 and it is listed on the Glendale Register of Historic Resources and the National Register of Historic Places.  “Given that the building is a historic landmark, we believe that it will be difficult to minimize any adverse affects that the sale or reuse of the building would have on the property,” Greg Grammer, president of the Glendale Historical Society, said in a message to members.  

Even though the plan is obviously to close and sell the building, as reported widely in the media, the Postal Service will say that it hasn't made a decision to sell the building — at this point, it is just deciding whether or not to relocate.  That distinction allows the Postal Service to evade its responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act, just as it has done previously in Venice, Santa Monica, La Jolla, Berkeley, and elsewhere.  Read more.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Greeting Card Association greets us with its proposals for saving the Postal Service

adminStory

The Greeting Card Association (GCA) has produced a long report describing what it calls "commonsense solutions" to put the Postal Service on "a path to solvency."  It includes more than 100 deficit reduction proposals.

The main one is simple: "The Postal Service should immediately implement cluster boxes on a widespread national scale using its existing management authority to do so, and drop politically divisive plans for Congress to end Saturday mail delivery."  

The report suggests that ending Saturday delivery is highly unpopular, while replacing delivery to the door or curb with cluster boxes would be fine with most customers.  

That's a highly dubious proposition.  The Postal Service has generally resisted mass conversions to cluster boxes, especially for existing customers, because it knows they will anger customers, and it's been pushing five-day delivery in the belief that customers prefer it to other ways for saving money or to raising rates.  When the OIG did a report on the cost savings of switching modes of delivery, the Postal Service responded, "when surveyed, our customers indicated that they would rather lose a day of delivery service than have their mailbox moved from a door or curbside locations to a centralized delivery.”

The GCA's proposals are often contradictory, and there are many numbers mentioned without a citation to check them.  For example, the report says, "The cost of modifying the Postal Service’s original proposal [to end Saturday delivery] was to add back $500 million to Saturday delivery costs for packages and medicines."  There's no source cited for this figure.  The Postal Service, to our knowledge, has never provided such an estimate, nor has the Postal Regulatory Commission, the agency which has done the most work on analyzing cost savings for ending Saturday delivery.

The GCA suggests that selling the Postal Service's real estate portfolio — valued at $85 billion by the OIG — would be a viable way to cover the remaining obligation ($46 billion) in the Retiree Health Benefit Fund.  There's no discussion, however, of how much it would cost to replace these facilities with leased spaces.  Over the long run, leasing usually costs more than owning, so what good would it do to sell off all this real estate?  

The report makes some good proposals for putting the excess space in post offices to better use, such as leasing out the extra space to other government agencies and using post offices as "centers of continuous democracy" and to help people interface with other federal agencies.  But such ideas are not exactly consistent with the proposal to sell off the Postal Service's real estate holdings.

Despite its problems, the GCA's report is worth reading.  If nothing else, it shows how self-serving each stakeholder's solution for rescuing the Postal Service can be.  Read the report.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Thiels Station in Alexandria to close

adminBlog

The Thiels Southpark Station was on the 2011 RAOI list of 3,700 post offices earmarked for closure, and the Postal Service had held a community meeting and solicited comments, but then the moratorium on closures kicked in, and the closure never happened.  Last July, the carriers were relocated, and now the Postal Service says it plans to close the office completely.  Thiels Station is named for longtime mail carrier John “Marty” Thiels, who died on the job in 2007 when a man entered a downtown law office and opened fire.  The main post office will be renamed after Thiels.  Read more.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Locals, city fight on to prevent sale of Berkeley post office

adminBlog

The local group protesting the sale of the downtown Berkeley post office building says it will continue its fight after United States Postal Service turned down its appeal that it not sell its Renaissance-style building at 2000 Allston Way. And a Berkeley councilman is trying to give USPS pause, if not prevent the sell-off, with a proposal that would limit the building’s use post-sale.

“We are poised and ready to file an injunction,” said Jacquelyn McCormick, Executive Director of the National Post Office Collaborative, who said USPS needs to post the property for sale before they can take that action. Meanwhile, McCormick says she fears developers and potential buyers are probably already in “behind-the-scene” negotiations to buy the building.  Read more.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Serrano provision in spending bill checks on lawfulness of Bronx GPO, would suspend sale of historic post offices

adminBlog

Congressman José E. Serrano today announced that he had succeeded in including a provision in an annual appropriations bill moving through the House of Representatives that would ensure that the Postal Service’s proposed sale of the historic Bronx General Post Office receives extra scrutiny.   The provision calls for the suspension of the sale of historic properties like the Bronx GPO until the USPS Office of Inspector General  completes its investigation, and all the laws and guidelines have been satisfactorily complied with.  The OIG is scheduled to complete its audit in October 2013.  Read more.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail