OP-ED
From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
CONTACT:  Kelvin Bass, 214-467-0123
June 4, 2010

In keeping you posted

It was last July when the first calls came to my office from citizens voicing their concerns over a feared closure, or at the least a de-programing of the facility we call the Dallas' Main Post Office, located on westbound I-30, the Tom Landry Highway.

The callers - and some writers - in no uncertain terms, expressed their outrage over the feared loss of a valuable community resource, possible job losses and the anticipated disruptions of service and inconveniences that could accompany any drastic changes in local postal service.

As state senator representing more than 780,000 Dallas County residents, many who would be impacted by any proposed changes to the Main Post Office and local mail service in general, I felt it my duty to become involved. I soon contacted Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and other local federal lawmakers - as the United States Postal Service (USPS) is under their jurisdiction. We initiated dialogue with local and regional postal officials first through a conference call, then with letters followed by a town hall meeting at Dallas City Hall in late August. All the while, we gathered input from local postal workers.

Postal officials have spent the past year evaluating the options available to help stem revenue losses estimated at $20 million a day nationally. And while there's been multiple issues of world and local importance; the healthcare debate, an earthquake in Haiti and a still tedious economy, I thought it time to follow up on my involvement related to the local post office, as we have continued to monitor this situation.

My information to date is that postal officials will continue with plans to move a postmarking unit from the Dallas Main Post Office to the North Texas Processing and Distribution Center in Coppell. Estimates are that this could result in the relocation of up to 117 jobs from the Dallas facility. Those exact numbers have not been finalized.

As part of this move, all outgoing mail collected in Dallas, will bear a new postmark that reflects Dallas as an originating point and processing functions performed at Coppell. Initial plans had this transfer taking place July 1, but have since been delayed until mid-October.

Last Fall, the Postal Service offered early retirement to eligible postal clerks nationwide. Since then, more than 200 clerks retired from Dallas. Postal officials say this will impact the number of positions that will leave the Main Post Office for the Coppell plant. Still, other cost-cutting measures are underway including consolidation studies involving the Airlawn, Brookhollow, Inwood and Northwest stations; more may be considered. More savings are expected to be gained through attrition.

The issue that now tops headlines nationally is the post office's pondering of a plan to discontinue Saturday pickups, deliveries and processing. Stations would accept Saturday mail and service post office boxes. One of seven nationwide Postal Regulatory Commission hearings on the subject took place a few weeks ago in Dallas. A move to five-day delivery would also require Congressional approval.

Post office execs say the postmark unit move would save an estimated $9 million a year locally for the quasi-private agency (the post office has not been federally funded since 1982) that projects its 10-year losses at $238 billion if it stays the current course. Its revenues come from selling stamps and making deliveries, both of which have been dramatically impacted by the influences of Internet technology. Another postage rate hike is all but certain.

Most are confident that the USPS will survive, but doing business-as-usual will not be part of a streamlined, downsized future. What's Lance Armstrong doing these days? Pony Express?

For more information, please contact Kelvin Bass at 214-467-0123.

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