Postal Service plans to create own inefficiency

If local mail in Cobleskill, NY takes a straight route to Albany, NY for processing, it is an 90.8 mile round trip. It’s an utterly unnecessary trip for the United States Postal Service.

According to the postal service this sorting of local mail at massive city locations is supposedly making the postal service more efficient than ever. But that is the kind of inefficiency built in to new postal service policy. No wonder they’re hemorrhaging money. I don’t know how driving at least an extra 90 miles is more efficient, especially when it’s returning to the same place from where it started.

It’s a pity it’s illegal to just put it in the box yourself.

I think it used to be efficient. But that was in the days before consolidation, back when postal employees would go outside, get the local mail out of the box, bring it in for sorting, and place it immediately into the mailboxes. That was less than a tenth of a mile.

Instead, the mail is picked up and sent out of the county for processing to reduce the need for employees. In Schoharie County, where Cobleskill is located, unemployment is already soaring near 10 percent; we really don’t need to be cutting jobs at the expense of the environment.

USPS released its “Plan to Profitability” on Feb. 16. This plan includes making some local mail travel even further.

From Richfield Springs, NY to Utica, NY, local mail travels almost 50 extra miles. But the talk now, is taking the Richfield Springs mail and bypassing it past Utica to Syracuse.

This would be almost 160 miles, if it were a straight shot.

I know that these gas-guzzling vehicles are already going to these locations. But they are also making stops at many other rural post offices. The extra weight of the local mail probably isn’t helping the gas mileage in any way. How much money is being spent on gas? That’s probably a cause of the increase in postage.

But remarkably that’s still not the majority of the costs. According to the plan, 80 percent of the money goes toward employee costs. To save on personnel costs, there has also been talk of closing some of the rural post offices. Coming from a small town that is built around Route 20 and contains one, fairly unnecessary blinking yellow light, a post office is necessary. It provides jobs to our little development of Carlisle, NY and reduces our need to go into “the big town,” still 15 minutes away.

Why not close some of the more urban post offices, where there are more employment opportunities if people are willing to take them? Forcing people to drive to a different location in the city would still equal less additional mileage than if a rural office was shut.

The “Plan to Profitability” states that half of the career employees that work for USPS are eligible for retirement, with the average age of them being 59. The plan wants to offer them the opportunity to retire.

I know this is going to save the post office money. I know that. Promise. But, it doesn’t mean I have to agree with cutting jobs, or in this case not renewing jobs. I understand business models focus solely on profit, but I really wish it focused on people and preserving community values.

From Oswego to Syracuse and back again it’s almost 70, completely unnecessary, miles.