Saturday, December 31, 2011

The United States Postal Service

On October 3, 2011, the United States Postal Service held a meeting to discuss the discontinuance of the Barnard Post Office.  Barnard residents and postal customers came and made their dissension known.  My distinct impression is that the postal representatives addressed us as if closing our post office was a forgone conclusion.  I don't think they were expecting the resistance they met.  Many other communities across the United States expressed that same resistance that would have made Benjamin Franklin proud.  The United States Postal Service's first postmaster must be spinning in his grave.

The USPS announced on December 13th that the postal service would delay any consolidation or closure of post offices or distribution centers until May 15, 2012 in order to give congress time to pass legislation.  Will that save the Barnard Post Office or any other office around the country?  That remains to be seen.  According to a source in USPS management, once a post office made the discontinuance list, there was never any intention of taking the office off of the list.  The meetings held were essentially lip service.  USPS headquarters never had any intention of allowing an office to escape the gallows. 

Enter the PR nightmare and legislators.  The public outcry and congressional pressure were great enough that the USPS backpedaled slightly and spared some post offices then later suspended plans altogether until Congress could figure out the issue.  Kansas Senator Jerry Moran led the movement to prevent the closures.  Would the closures happened without congressional interference?  Was this a ruse to cut cost or to stir Congress into action?  Will the closures still happen?  Time will tell.  However, it is clear that the issue has not been resolved and we should not assume that the Barnard Post Office is here to stay.

Note:  The USPS has forbidden its local employees to comment on the closures except to provide information approved for distribution.  None of the information in this posting was obtained from any person affiliated with the Barnard Post Office.

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