EDITORIAL: Postal decision

By NEMS Daily Journal

Almost everyone knows the United States Postal Service isn’t the only way to communicate in writing both near and far in the 21st century, and its business decline calls for hard decisions with impacts at many levels.
The USPS announced this week that it will hold a public hearing July 6 at the Link Centre to discuss relocating some postal functions away from Tupelo, this time to Grenada and involve eight employee positions.
A previous service operation would have shifted functions and job positions to Memphis, but that move was first delayed and then canceled – and it was strongly opposed by city leaders, the region’s congressional delegation and many Tupelo residents.
This time, the USPS proposes moving some outgoing mail operations from Tupelo to Grenada, and it would include the loss of the Tupelo postmark except for mail hand-delivered for processing at the main post office in Tupelo.
USPS claims it could save $400,000 in the change. Postal employees doubt it, and most doubtless oppose the move because eight job positions are involved, and there’s no guarantee that if jobs are retained the positions would be in Tupelo.
The earlier proposed adjustment would have saved $181,000, USPS claimed.
There’s no reason for Tupelo and Lee County officials or civic leaders to be altruistic about losing jobs of any kind in the immediate market area because every job is an important piece of the local/regional economy.
Civic leaders, elected officials and patrons of the Tupelo post offices should attend the July 6 hearing at 7 p.m. and listen to the USPS presentation – and USPS should come prepared to listen that night to the comments and responses of the hearing attendees.
The loss of a Tupelo postmark is more than the loss of a quick glance to see where an envelope or parcel started out. It also is a valuable marketing tool for city identity. Places without postmarks are the postal equivalent of being taken off the map.
USPS apparently will not issue an advance statement detailing its reasons for considering the change, but that would be helpful in the context of a hearing during which people should be allowed an informed response.
Possible delays in delivery should also be a matter of discussion, not just USPS assurances.
The postal service and to-the-door mail delivery remain an essential service for millions of people.
Every issue has at least two sides. We’re hearing part of what USPS wants to say, but not all. The public’s voice has not been heard.