3Q's: Nancy Ross, Postal Service Spokeswoman

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

Rapidly declining mail volume and decreased revenues have forced the U.S. Postal Service to consolidate mail processing operations nationwide. Tupelo now is on that list and risks losing its outgoing and incoming mail processing operations to Grenada. As the agency mulls this controversial move, the Daily Journal’s Emily Le Coz asked USPS regional spokeswoman Nancy Ross some of the most common questions about it.

Q: Critics of the proposed consolidation accuse the USPS of shrouding the process in secrecy. They want to see the numbers that support the move, yet the USPS won’t reveal them. Why the lack of transparency?
A: This information is proprietary for the moment. Our biggest fear is that if we release the information before the study is done, and if the numbers change because we uncovered other information during the study, then it becomes so convoluted to the public and can confuse everyone. So we protect those numbers and accumulate all the data that we can to make a decision that’s business worthy while protecting the service to our customers. (Then) if the study is declined or accepted, we can release that study information and let people know what went into the decision.

Q: Many people say it would make more sense to consolidate Grenada’s mail processing operations to Tupelo instead of the other way around. Has the USPS studied that option?
A: No, not to my knowledge.
Q: Tupelo’s proposed consolidation is among more than 65 currently under review by the USPS nationwide; roughly the same number already have been approved or implemented since 2009. And it seems like each one triggers strong opposition. Who are the opponents, and why are they fighting consolidation if the USPS needs to save money?
A: Most of the opponents are employees. I haven’t been to a meeting yet where there weren’t a lot of employees. When they get up (to speak), they are typically vocal about their own positions. We understand that. But they don’t understand some of the overall issues we have to face when looking at the budget of the postal service as a whole. We have to, nationwide, bring in enough revenue to support this company without going into the red. Five or six years ago, we processed 230 billion pieces of mail a year, and now it’s down to 170 billion.