By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A recent proposal to ship Tupelo’s mail operations to Grenada will be ditched in favor of a previous plan to send those services to Memphis.
U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Enola Rice confirmed the switch Thursday. She said it was done in conjunction with a national restructuring, which the agency announced Thursday.
The USPS will cut by more than half its network of mail-processing facilities to save $3 billion annually. Declining mail volume has left the national agency scrambling to stay solvent.
As part of the sweep, nearly 250 facilities nationwide are being considered for closure or consolidation, including those in Tupelo, Grenada, Hattiesburg and Gulfport.
Under these plans, Tupelo’s mail processing would go to Memphis. Grenada, which was set to receive Tupelo’s mail operations, would have its sent to Jackson.
The USPS will launch studies of these and all other proposals within the coming weeks. They’re set to conclude early next year.
“This Area Mail Processing study involves a review of the mail processing and transportation operations to determine capacity needs within the postal network in order to increase efficiency and improve productivity,” the press release explained.
This isn’t the first study for Tupelo. A proposal to move its outgoing operations to Memphis had been studied in 2009 and approved last year. It would have saved the cash-strapped agency $181,000 annually and affected six local employees.
But it never happened.
Then early this year, the USPS announced it instead might move Tupelo’s incoming and outgoing mail operations to Grenada. The move would have saved the agency an estimated $491,000 annually and affected eight local workers.
Agency officials held a public hearing in July and were set to issue a final decision within weeks, but the national restructuring halted those plans, Rice said.
Mail is processed in Tupelo at the Thomas Street branch, which includes sorting, categorizing, stamping and shipping letters and packages originating from communities whose ZIP codes begin with 388.
An average 100,000 pieces of mail go through the processing center daily, which employs 50 people. An additional 48 employees are employed as letter carriers, clerks and in administrative positions.
All employees affected by the move would be offered other positions within the agency, Rice said.