Opinion: Postal service on rebound, needs help


Hub Opinion – September 29, 2015
PAEA_cartoon2Few weeks pass when we don’t hear from someone about slow mail delivery. The complaints have become more common as the U.S. Postal Service consolidates its mail handling and sorting operations to become a leaner, more efficient operation to satisfy provisions of Congress’ 2006 Postal Reform Act.

The act requires the Postal Service to pre-fund 75 years of future retirees’ health care benefits in just 10 years. To do that the Postal Service has had to enact some very difficult cost-saving measures.

Congress — which cannot balance its own budget — set an unrealistic goal with the health care funding mandate. USPS now must do more with less, and the results are not always desirable, as the trend of slow delivery demonstrates. In one of the more public examples of slow delivery, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry complained that letters he sent to constituents were delivered too late for them to attend a town hall meeting he was organizing.

Congress — which cannot balance its own budget — set an unrealistic goal with the health care funding mandate. USPS now must do more with less, and the results are not always desirable, as the trend of slow delivery demonstrates. In one of the more public examples of slow delivery, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry complained that letters he sent to constituents were delivered too late for them to attend a town hall meeting he was organizing.

Letter carrier Ken Nickerson of Kearney, in a letter to the editor responding to Fortenberry’s complaints, correctly pointed out that Congressmen Fortenberry, Adrian Smith and Brad Ashford all should take legislative action to reduce the damaging effects of the health care funding mandate, but they have not. In fact, Fortenberry, Smith and Ashford’s predecessor, Lee Terry, all resisted attempts from the business groups that rely heavily on mail delivery. That includes newspapers.

We appreciate Nickerson’s outspokenness on the postal reform issues. Over the years he has shed light on a variety of postal issues. On Monday, he weighed in again, urging newspapers to cover a training session for letter carriers this weekend in Grand Island. It would be an opportunity, Nickerson said, to educate the public about the problems that postal reform is causing for the pared down USPS.

prefunding_mailersThe Postal Service’s struggles are well-known. Less known is USPS’s amazing financial performance. Nickerson said that without the mandated health care funding requirement, USPS achieved an operational profit of $600 million in 2013, $1.2 billion in 2014 and stands at $1.2 billion so far this year.

Those are amazing numbers, but carriers like Nickerson and others employed by the Postal Service need the public’s help. Smith, Fortenberry and Ashford need to support a House resolution to restore the service standards to put deliveries back on schedule. Other measures in the House and Senate would keep six-day delivery service and reverse the trend of post office closures. USPS needs help. It’s time to write our congressmen and demand support for the Postal Service.

Source: Postal service on rebound, needs help – Kearney Hub: Hub Opinion

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