EDITORIAL: Listen to customers

By NEMS Daily Journal

A Jan. 13 public meeting will offer Tupeloans and other Northeast Mississippians the opportunity to express their concerns about the U.S. Postal Service’s still undetailed plans.to transfer some functions – and jobs – to Memphis.
The meeting, which will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Link Centre, was set after the Postal Service said it plans to move some processing operations to Memphis without sacrificing service and timely delivery, a claim that has caused a skeptical stir among postal customers.
USPS says the move would create efficiencies and cut costs as mail volume declines. We think it appropriate to ask how risking quality of service will improve the postal service’s marketability and mail volume in the face of private-sector electronic and direct delivery.
Job losses – especially in a recession – must not be ignored. Postal employee salaries, which usually carry full benefits, are like other good jobs: They help the local and regional economy as well as support households.
We believe comments for the record from Tupelo and regional business owners, elected officials, and civic leaders whose mailed transactions could be affected in any consolidation should attend the meeting, cite their concerns, and insist on specific, factual responses.
The most important impact could be felt by household mail customers, the people whose mailbox or post office box continues as the starting and ending point for personal, written communication, plus individual and family business correspondence.
The postal service remains the largest mail carrier in the world, and its viability depends wholly on timely, safe delivery of mail in Tupelo, every hamlet, town and city in the U.S., and in far-flung parts of the American sphere: American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Palau, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Republic of Marshall Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands.
In 2008, total mail volume was 203 billion pieces – 667 million each day.
Every business – the postal service is a hybrid corporation with federal ties – has to ensure efficiencies and financial integrity. Workforce reductions have been felt in almost all kinds of industries during what’s called the “Great Recession,” but cuts always must be balanced against maintaining quality.
The consolidation-transfer issue is considered serious enough that opposition and official concern has been expressed by Sens. Cochran and Wicker, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, Mayor Jack Reed Jr., the City Council and the Lee County Board of Supervisors. All will have representatives at the Jan. 13 meeting or attend in person.
Other concerned citizens should be there, too.