During dinner this evening, my friend said that she loves her local post office. A very small branch in a teeny building, they know her name, her needs, and are a neighborhood institution.
But, is it worth $1 billion a month?
During the first 3 months of 2012, the USPS lost $3.2 billion. First class mail volume is down and their retiree expenses are massive.
Changes have been proposed and opposed in Congress. Close 252 mailprocessing facilities? Lose jobs and still 235 remain. Stop Saturday deliveries? Let’s gradually do it during several years. Close my friend’s post office and hundreds of others in rural communities? Just let them remain open for fewer hours. Change the rules for prepaid pensions and maintain pension benefits? Attrition might work.
My bottom line: I keep returning to the Congressional oversight that makes innovative leadership impossible. Maybe we should just say that the USPS is such a valuable institution that we are willing to accept the huge expense and mediocre business model.
After all, I really would hate to lose the small and friendly post office near my home.
The Washington Post’s “Federal Insider” is a perfect source of information on the USPS as the issues evolve.