The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 7, 2013

Saturday mail service to be cut

From staff, wire reports
The News Courier

— Rumors of dramatic changes to the country’s mail system come and go, but at least one rumor is now closer to truth.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced Wednesday that, starting Aug. 10, no first-class mail will be delivered or accepted anywhere in the country on Saturdays, but packages and certain kinds of deliveries will stay the same.

It’s one of several efforts by the United States Postal Service to plug holes in the crumbling dam of its financial situation. Putting an end to Saturday mail is estimated to save $2 billion a year, but it’s hard to cheer about those savings when looking at last year’s reported loss of $16 billion, according to CBS News.

“Given the ongoing financial challenges, the Postal Service Board of Governors last month directed postal management to accelerate the restructuring of Postal Service operations in order to strengthen Postal Service finances,” wrote the USPS in a press release. “The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.”

The agency already cut jobs around the country and even closed buildings in rural areas like Lester. In November a USPS press release stated the office in Mooresville would scale back to two operating hours per day at its retail window, however there was no planned starting date.

Changes like these prompted business-owner David Glanton to open the state’s first village post office, or VPO, inside his Lester feed-and-seed store last year after the local post office closed in 2011.

Reporters questioned whether Donahoe’s actions were legal; to which he replied that he would make the case before lawmakers that everything being done was for the best. He did not elaborate on what would happen if Congress denied an end to Saturday mail. 

“While the change in the delivery schedule announced today is one of the actions needed to restore the financial health of the Postal Service, legislative change is urgently needed to address matters outside the Postal Service’s control,” the press release continues. “The Postal Service continues to seek legislation to provide it with greater flexibility to control costs and generate new revenue and encourages the 113th Congress to make postal reform legislation an urgent priority.”