The U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report today on “The Road Ahead for Postal Financial Services.” Below is a statement from Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers:
The OIG’s report contains interesting observations and recommendations on ways the Postal Service can begin to serve the needs of 68 million adults in this country who have either no access or only limited access to basic financial services.
Of particular interest are services that the Postal Service could immediately pursue since it already has the authority to provide such services as money orders, post-office-to-post-office money transfers, bill payment, check cashing, international remittances and automatic teller machine (ATM) access. These basic services would give a much-needed option to those with no alternative available in their communities.
Because post offices are located everywhere—urban centers, suburbs and rural America; not simply located according to profit models—they are a ready-made network for people to come to, to obtain affordable financial services administered by highly trained, experienced and trusted public servants. This infrastructure includes more than 30,000 post offices and is the largest, best-distributed physical network in the country.
This model has been successful in many other countries and has the potential, according to the OIG, to generate at least $1.1 billion of revenue annually, which would allow the Postal Service to continue its innovative efforts.
The OIG’s recommendations are a good place to start, and we urge the Postal Service to take steps to immediately pursue these opportunities to fill the unmet needs of those in underserved communities.
Source: NALC statement on OIG’s report regarding USPS financial services | National Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO
Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, apparently thinks the US Postal Service might be using money saved from service cutbacks in its “market dominant” products (e.g. first class mail) to finance expansion of its package delivery business and other “competitive” services. Under the 2006 PAEA law, competitive products have to pay their own way, and the USPS is required to pay the equivalent of corporate income tax on competitive revenues. Those “tax” payments are then supposed to help support the postal service’s market dominant, “universal service” products.
Chaffetz suggests the USPS might be doing just the opposite. In a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan, Chaffetz points out that the USPS has said as much in its own public staements, pointing to a faq published on the Network Rationalization site that says cost savings from plant consolidations and other cutbacks “should better position the Postal Service to make the needed investment in package processing and other automation equipment, and in our delivery fleet, which will help us to grow our package business” Continue reading
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Building on her efforts to improve mail delivery and service in rural communities in North Dakota and across the country, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp brought together the first bipartisan meeting of solely Senators from rural states to speak with the U.S. Postmaster General about the impact that mail processing facility closures and service standard reductions have had on families and communities throughout rural America.
Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Committee which oversees the U.S. Postal Service, brought together U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) to raise awareness about declining postal standards and the effects of closing mail processing facilities in rural communities across their states with U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan. Continue reading
The members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation have written to Postmaster General Megan Brennan requesting a meeting to discuss the Postal Service’s plan to consolidate mail processing facilities and the future of delivery standards. The letter is signed by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representatives Peter Defazio, Kurt Schrader, Greg Walden, Suzanne Bonamici, and Earl Blumenauer.
Source: Oregon’s Congressional delegation asks to meet with PMG on plant consolidations | Save the Post Office
The Tampa Bay Times reports that the US Postal Service has tried to prevent rural carrier Doug Hughes from talking to the press about his protest:
TAMPA — The Ruskin mail carrier who last week flew a gyrocopter into restricted airspace over Washington D.C., to make a political statement says he has been put on paid leave with the U.S. Postal Service with orders not to discuss his story with the media.
“I was informed by the acting postmaster — and he sounded like he was reading from a script — that I was on administrative leave pending an investigation,” Hughes wrote in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. “I am NOT allowed on postal property without advance permission and I can only enter the building through the front if I do visit with permission. (This injunction always precedes a termination.) I asked about the nature of the administrative leave — it’s with pay BUT I’m not allowed to talk to the media AT ALL.”
It is another restriction that Hughes said he intends to violate. He said the move amounted to a “gag order” that he did not respect.
Read more: Ruskin gyrocopter pilot says postal officials are telling him not to talk to media | Tampa Bay Times.