(July 2, 2014) South Dakota Newspaper Association Board of Directors today issued a statement objecting to the U.S. Postal Service’s plan that it will consolidate more than 80 mail processing facilities across the country, including the Dakota Central Processing and Distribution Facility at Huron.
“This latest announcement by the Postal Service hits rural America hard,” said SDNA President John Suhr, publisher of the Reporter & Farmer at Webster. ”The delivery of newspapers and other publications to our subscribers would be delayed even further. More importantly, rural communities would be harmed by yet another degradation in mail delivery and service. We cannot afford to lose a another processing plant as it will have a major impact not only for our newspapers, but our subscribers throughout the country.”
Suhr added: “SDNA wants the Postal Service to succeed. Rural America needs the Postal Service to succeed. SDNA has consistently supported efforts to get postal reform legislation passed by Congress. We just do not see how slower service and the further concentration of mail services into urban areas is a solution for the survival of the United States Postal Service.”
The Postal Service announced June 30 that it is targeting a broad list of mail processing plants across the United States for a second round of “network consolidation.” An initial round of mail processing plant consolidations in 2012-2013 affected mail delivery in many parts of South Dakota. Processing plants in Aberdeen and Pierre were consolidated then.
Though USPS is showing operating profits this year after several years of red ink, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe cited a $40 billion debt on the USPS balance sheet as a reason for this latest consolidation plan. Most of the Postal Service debt is to the United States Treasury, which it owes for the accelerated prepayment of postal retiree health costs imposed by Congress in a 2006 postal law.
Besides Suhr, other members of the SDNA Board include Second Vice President Jeremy Waltner, editor of the Freeman Courier; Third Vice President Kelli Bultena, co-publisher of the Lennox Independent and Tea Weekly; Director Shannon Brinker, publisher of the Rapid City Journal; Director Becky Tycz, publisher of the Scotland Journal, Tyndall Tribune & Register and Springfield Times; and Immediate Past President Steve Baker, publisher of the Pierre Capital Journal.
South Dakota Newspaper Association, founded in 1882 and based in Brookings, represents 127 weekly and daily newspapers with a total readership of more than 600,000 people.