U.S. senators neutral on postal transfer

By Emily LeCoz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A plan to ship some of Tupelo’s mail operations to Grenada earned swift opposition from Mayor Jack Reed Jr. this week, but Mississippi’s two U.S. senators – who had joined Reed in opposing an earlier consolidation attempt – offered little resistance this time.

“Whenever there’s a suggestion about changing operations, as the case is here in Tupelo, we just hope they’ll consider it carefully and make sure the postal service doesn’t ignore its obligation to make timely delivery,” said U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Said Sen. Roger Wicker, a Tupelo resident: “We have asked the Postal Service to run its operation more like a business. In my judgment, we have to give them some leeway based on economics. Congress no longer appropriates taxpayer funding for the Postal Service.”

U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. Postal Service announced last week a preliminary study supports consolidating some of Tupelo’s outgoing mail processing operations to Grenada. It would save the federal agency $400,000 annually amid declining mail volume and plummeting revenues.
It would affect eight Tupelo workers, but isn’t expected to delay mail delivery.

Reed remains opposed to the move, as he, Cochran and Wicker were to an earlier proposal to move Tupelo’s outgoing mail processing to Memphis.

With the impending opening of Toyota and its suppliers, “our city and region are getting ready to experience significant commercial activity, which should obviously translate into increased U.S. Postal Service activity,” Reed wrote in his June 30 letter to Mississippi’s consumer affairs manager, Doug Kyle.

“To downgrade Tupelo’s operation at this time,” Reed continued, “seems counterproductive as you try to balance workers and work load, and their productivity.”

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Link Centre.

The earlier Memphis consolidation proposal was eventually scrapped. The USPS held a public hearing on that plan in January 2010 and approved the move in July the same year.

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.

An average 100,000 pieces of mail go through that facility daily, said Tupelo Processing Clerk Steven Joslyn.

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