Postal problems

Roy Reynolds, Sioux Falls, S.D.

The March 3 letter “Saving the Postal Service” suggests fixing the Retiree Health Benefits issue alone would solve all of the financial woes of the Postal Service. While it is true the prefunding obligation has resulted in a severe financial strain and must be addressed legislatively, it is not the only encumbrance.

Americans have told us with their purchasing choices how they wish to use their postal system. As consumers replace letters and cards with online bill-paying, tax-filing, and socializing, First Class Mail volumes which have already fallen by more than 30 percent in the last 10 years continue to decline. Maintaining the status-quo is not a viable solution in this changing environment.

The Postal Service developed the new delivery schedule (six days for packages, five days for mail) by working with customers to understand their delivery needs. This schedule reflects the strong growth of our package business, and responds to financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits.

Surveys, as well as those conducted by the Postal Service consistently show 70 to 80 percent of Americans support this change.

A new strategy designed to preserve rural post offices, announced in May of 2012, offers an option that could keep most existing post offices in place, but with modified window hours to better match actual customer use. Access to post office boxes will remain unchanged, and the town’s ZIP code and community identity will be retained.

Comprehensive postal reform legislation is needed as well. To preserve our mission to provide secure, reliable and affordable universal delivery service to the American people, a financially stable Postal Service is a necessity. We will continue to work with Congress to achieve that goal.

(Reynolds is Dakotas District manager for the U.S. Postal Service)