Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Flaxton Post Office

Yesterday several community members met with a representative of the USPS - United States Post Office.

I, for one, am deeply concerned about the outcome of this meeting. Although the official line is that the possible closure (discontinuance) of our post office is six months away and not a decision made by local personnel, it was clear to me that a decision had been made.

Most of the discussion concerned a Village Post Office, which is a contract space in which citizens can rent a post office box in a 'shop', a flower store, restaurant, gas station convenience store, etc etc etc. The owner of the 'shop' earns a tiny percentage of the income taken in for the cost of the rental of the post office box and for stamps. No weighing or measuring of packages takes place in this 'shop'. One must use a pre-paid box or envelope that has a pre-designated price attached.

This alternative saves the USPS a whole lot of money because they are NOT paying rent, utilities, or wages. They are simply sharing a percentage of the money that comes into the til.

Interestingly enough, the USPS representative had no idea what that percentage might be.

And so, I did some research.

Postal delivery is mandated by the Constitution of the United States - Article 1, section 8.

The post office is a corporation run by a Board of Directors appointed by the President of the USA and the PostMaster General is chosen by this board. The Directors are paid $30,000 a year + $300 a day for up to 42 days a year as well as travel expenses. Not bad work if you can get it.

The USPS has been doing quite well for the last century. Receipts outrun expenditures in most years. However, when Wall Street went belly up, the situation changed. I mention this because the USPS claims it is the computer who has impacted their receipts. It would appear that 2007 was a boom year with receipts outrunning expenditures by some several million dollars.

However, in 2008, the worm turned. USPS shows a loss of 1 million. In 2009, a loss of 3 million, and in 2010 a loss of 8 million.

However, I'm still impressed that the second largest civilian company in the USAwith the largest fleet of vehicles of any civilian company (second only to Walmart - would you believe?) - has suffered only an 8 million dollar loss this past year.

USPS has in excess of 465,000 employees, 40,000 of whom were let go - no mention of firing - in the last two years. Ouch!!

So, there you are!..several hours of research on the USPS official internet site is filled with important information including the fact that Ben Franklin was our first PostMaster General and it is he to whom we owe thanks for 'book rates' - which are lower than rates to send books and CDs anywhere in the world.

Oh..stamps..first class letter

USA .44
Britain .57
Australia .50
Norway 1.50