USPS study recommends consolidation

TUPELO – The United States Postal Service favors a plan to move some of Tupelo’s mail-processing operations to Memphis after initial results from an ongoing study support the idea.
The announcement, made late Monday in a press release, confirms the fears of Tupelo postal workers who for weeks have lobbied against such a move.
They say it will strip jobs from the local economy, slow mail services and cause the city to lose its postmark.
“We are a productive operation and we generate revenue, and someone’s always wanted to take us over, said Reco Colebrooke, a longtime Tupelo postal worker. “We’re the cash cow, and there will be people suffering if it happens.”
The USPS, however, claims the move, one of several under consideration nationally, could improve efficiency and cut costs as mail volume declines.
“The postal service really needs to improve productivity and efficiency,” its spokeswoman, Beth Barnett, previously told the Daily Journal. “And we’re going to continue to focus on customer service.”
Mail processing in Tupelo happens at the Thomas Street branch and includes sorting, categorizing, stamping and shipping letters and packages.
Barnett said Tuesday that workers’ concerns will be taken into account, as will those of the community. And residents will have a chance to voice their opinions at a public meeting next month.
Scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 13 at the Link Centre, the meeting will allow postal officials to present the study’s initial findings and their consolidation plan, as well as get public feedback.
“It’s part of the process, and it becomes part of the study,” Barnett said. “All of the statements and information given from the public is part of the record. It’s extremely important.”
Several residents already have voiced their opinions through letters, e-mails and phone calls to congressional representatives.
A spokesman for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said people are concerned about job loss and a disruption in mail services.
And a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., said his office received about 10 responses from residents – all opposed to the potential consolidation.
Childers, Cochran and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., all signed a letter in November asking the USPS to reconsider the plan. Also sending letters of opposition were Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and the City Council, as well as the Lee County Board of Supervisors.
The public first learned of the potential consolidation in October, when the USPS launched a five-month study of the issue. Within weeks, postal workers mounted a counterattack: speaking at public meetings, airing radio ads and buying billboard space at Crosstown.
Details of the proposed consolidation aren’t yet available, so it’s unknown when it might occur or how many jobs would be transferred or eliminated.
Barnett said that type of information will be presented at the public meeting. It also will be posted on the USPS Web site before to the meeting, she said.
Under other consolidations being considered in the region, Grenada’s processing would move to Jackson, and operations in Jackson, Tenn., would go to Memphis.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Voice Off
The United States Postal Service will hold a public meeting next month to explain why it might move some of Tupelo’s mail-processing operations to Memphis. The consolidation would affect several employees and mail service in the 46 cities whose ZIP codes start with 388.
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Date: Jan. 13
Place: Link Centre, 1800 W. Main St., Tupelo
More info: www.usps.com

Submit a letter
Anyone wishing to submit comments by letter must send them before Jan. 29 to this address:
Consumer Affairs Manager
Mississippi District
P.O. Box 99655
Jackson, MS 39205-9655

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal