on Jun 18th, 2012 in Post Offices & Retail Network | 10 comments
 
Americans are passionate about their post offices as they made clear when the Postal Service unveiled its original plan to close 3,700 post offices, most of them in rural areas. Last month, the Postal Service announced a new plan to keep post offices opened but reduce the operating hours at 13,000 locations. These low-activity post offices would be open only 2 to 6 hours a day, which the Postal Service says would save it $500 million a year. The Postal Service also plans to upgrade about 4,500 current part-time Post Offices to 8 hours of daily window service. Post offices are viewed by many as a gathering place for citizens and central to a community’s social and cultural identity. Some argue the Post Office is not just a profit-based retail establishment; it is part of the Postal Service’s larger public service mission. Perhaps the Postal Service should consider expanding the services it offers at post offices before it closes them. But others say the Postal Service needs to reduce its operating costs by right-sizing its retail network to match the new reality of a changing communications market. Nearly 80 percent of the 32,000 Post Offices operate at a loss. About 12,000 post offices average daily revenues of less than $68 per day, and one third of those Post Offices have average daily revenues of less than $25 per day. Closing low-activity post offices would help the cash-strapped Postal Service save money. What do you think about the Postal Service’s Post Office Structure Plan, or POStPlan? Does it make sense to reduce the hours at low-activity post offices or should the Postal Service close them altogether? Or is there a better retail plan that considers a more targeted approach, such as offering new services in Post Offices and/or extending the hours at some post offices while closing others?

10 Comments

I think there is a false crisis at the USPS, created by opportunistic politicians. Each post office contributes to the strength of the USPS - a democratic, equally priced communications systems for every citizen. Without that, the USPS will be no better than UPS or FedEx, which deliver quickly and remotely, but for a VERY high premium. Hours should be kept the same without closings, and the post office should expand into digital communications, as well. It is time the Postmaster stood up to politicians and called them out on their destruction of our great American system.

Congress should either subsidize the Postal Service for maintaining those horribly inefficient offices or let the Postal Service run like a business and make appropriate business-case decisions. The current bastardized hybrid will ultimately fail over time.

I live in Eau Claire, WI. anyone who lives here drives downtown to the main post office or uses one of our many convenient postal sub stations found in most of our grocery stores.

The town of Altoona is kind of wedged right into Eau Claire. It would only take a drive of several blocks for the people of Altoona, WI to reach a close substation.

I would think closing a full blown post office like that one would make sense. People of Altoona would not have to drive any further than those who live in Eau Claire city limits.

the guy who works in the Altoona post office always seems like he doesn't have much to do.

Maybe a more careful study of these little towns within bigger towns would cut costs.

Thank you for listening to my idea.

The POStPlan is most likely the only way the PMG can get the small offices closed. The hoops to close a small office otherwise have become greatly difficult. Politicians are not going to support closings.
And yes, many small offices should be closed. If you have five offices in a 5 mile radius of a township or two. Keep one and close the rest if the lack of revenue supports it.
There are boards on the internet where PMs speak of polishing their brass PO box doors, or painting their offices for the lack of nothing else to do. And yet in other offices they don't have enough personnel to provide the service of their growing community. Its disproportionate majorly in how we maintain and staff offices throughout the country.

I've witnessed L18 on down offices staffed with clerk OIC's and doing a fine job of running the office with no PM. Folks that is a savings of 65k in just one office!! Add the cost of benefits and I have no doubt the figure would be a billion dollar savings.Yearly.

Have to question why did PMG decide to upgrade so many smaller offices? I believe the total was 4500. We were told so they could oversee smaller offices.
Folks, in our area they upgraded all the smaller offices, there are no smaller offices to oversee?? But now, we are paying the PM that once was in a smaller level office more money to be in his/her newly upgraded office. (shell game?)

Certainly there is a plan that has not been divulged completely but presently it looks like the PMG has thrown out everything and the kitchen sink to get a plan going and its sadly filled with holes. But then its hard to run a business with your hands tied behind your back.

To your question about the plan . . . well, its probably the best the PMG can do considering.

And honestly beyond the bigger picture. The study done regarding the unnecessary and redundant reports by OIG. How can you do a random check of 22000 offices with 400. Get a response rate that is somewhere around 80 responses and consider that a good evaluation? That is .0036 percent that responded!! Not to mention the survey is completed by PM's that were and still are concerned about having a job down the road.
Hey, ask me with my job on the line. Do you think those reports you do are unnecessary? Hell no, they are definitely needed.

The sad thing is the USPS responded to the OIG's request on the report. Pencil whipped the report that received .0036 response rate. And even better the OIG accepted their response.
Sounds like they did the same thing the 80 responders did.
USPS headquarters do we need a study to find out if we have have an excessive amount of reports? (USPS headquarters would say hell yes, we need those reports)
OIG, what do you think? does the USPS need you to study "if" they have excessive reports? hell, yes. We need to make sure we make a report on this. Even if we only get .0083 percent response rate.

Guys, I'm sure there are some good and sincere desires to make this work. But from my standpoint in a small town I would say those in power cannot see the forest from the trees.

With that said, YES, there are redundant reports. YES, there is no consistancy in measurement of mail in these offices. YES, there is a problem with the plants properly sorting and distributing mail to offices (not: 2-3 times a week each office is getting mail home to the proper office) But hey, we have another report to prove there is a problem. Doesn't fix the problem, but we have a report that shows mail was sent to the wrong offices.

I think this PostPlan is ridiculous. Reducing service is not the answer. They should close these offices that are making $25 or less a day but leave the others alone. This Postmaster General has no clue. He is killing this great institution. Reducing hours is just going to drive customers away.

A number of small offices in my area of West Virginia are having reduced hours. That means rent and utilities are still being paid for buildings, I sure the rent will not be reduced, so where is the saving? It would still take a number of people to operate all of them regardless of the reduced hours. It would make more sense to make a mobile office (a converted bus or RV) that would service theses areas. The customers would know the location, days, and hours the mobile office would be in there area. No rent, no utilities and one person could serve several areas once the "route" is set up.

Instead of the Post plan, a 2 tier pay system should have been offered for those running the smallest of offices, while keeping the offices open full time. Any cut will result in lost revenue, not everybody is going to simply go to another office. The $500 million figure does not account for any revenue loss.

What about those who cannot retrieve their parcels when the window is open? They are just going to ask to UPS the parcel instead. That is money lost not at the small office, but at the larger originating office.

If anything, expand the services in the small offices and shift the workload. Let them be the ones doing passports, sell greeting cards, etc. Let them be the ones offering driver's licenses. I am always hearing that the large offices do not have enough help to process passports, yet small offices are looking to more ways to bring on revenue and keep busy.

What about domiciling all of those excessive number of analysts in these offices and have them wait on customers between paper shuffling?

The Post plan was the worst of all the plans that have been presented, yet it looks like the one that is going to stick, go figure....

as a rural carrier im able to carry most postal products in my vehicle. with online ordering, you can have any service same or next day that you get by going into the post office. in my area we have 5 offices in a 12 mile stretch of small towns. one town has 3 bars, one has a coop and gas station, next one has a bank 4 stores and 500 residents, smallest one 25 people and 12 po boxes in office, and last one has several shops and gas stations. 5 postmasters, 5 buildings, and only the one with the bank really needs a post office. put up rural delivery boxes for all 5 towns and the mail will be delivered faster and several hundred thousand dollars cheaper.
my biggest complaint is that they[ management ] have taken the service out of our jobs. i only have one job, to deliver all my mail everyday. and damn proud of the job i do!!!!

Close them! Save my tax dollars! My experience with the small post office in my samll town is that it is not worth saving. I drive to a larger post office to avoid dealing with them.

We have 2 post offices where I live within a 2 mile radius. That is utterly ridiculous! I could walk 2 miles if need be. Goodness gracious if a child lives within a mile and a half radius the bus doesn't pick them up. If the post office wants to cut costs then centralize. There should not be more than 1 post office within a 5 mile radius. You could take those few workers that you have at smaller post offices and add them to larger post offices and you would still need the delivery drivers. But you would not be wasting money on utilities and stocking and moving mail from one place to another. The postal system is currently disorganized beyond belief!!!

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