Tupelo awaits USPS decision

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Postal officials need more time to decide if consolidating some of Tupelo’s mail operations with those in Grenada makes sense.
The United States Postal Service typically renders a decision within two months of launching a consolidation study, but the Tupelo-Grenada deadline passed four weeks ago.
“Typically, studies take 60 days, but that’s not in stone,” said USPS spokeswoman Nancy Ross. “If circumstances cause us to take more time, we’ll do that.”
Ross didn’t know the specific circumstances delaying the Tupelo-Grenada study outcome.
This is the second time in a year the cash-strapped USPS has tapped Tupelo’s mail processing operations for consolidation with nearby offices. The first time, it had decided to move outgoing mail processing to Memphis. That decision was approved July 21 and slated to take effect by Oct. 1 despite widespread public outcry.
But the move never happened.
Then, on Feb. 11, the federal agency announced it would study a consolidation with Grenada. A decision could come at any time. If officials give it the green light, they’ll hold a public hearing on the matter within 45 days. It could take several more weeks before a final decision is made.
Outgoing mail from this area is processed in Tupelo at the Thomas Street branch. Workers there sort, categorize, stamp and ship items originating from ZIP codes that begin with 388.
If the consolidation is approved, those functions would occur in Grenada. It’s unclear how much money it would save the USPS or how many workers would be affected.
Officials had estimated the Memphis consolidation would save $181,000 annually and affect six Tupelo employees. It was opposed by local leaders, but the USPS defended the consolidations as a necessary measure to become more efficient in a declining market.
“Five or six years ago, we processed 230 billion pieces of mail a year, and now it’s down to 170 billion,” Ross said. “Technology has really cut into our first-class mail, and that’s what triggered these studies.”

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@journalinc.com.