In Past Decade, Congress Has Made Naming Post Offices a Top Priority


In the decade that the long-term financial problems of the Postal Service have been discussed openly, Post Office naming bills have become a focus of Congress.   In each of the past five Congresses over 15% of all bills passed and signed into law named a Post Office. The increase in interest in naming Post Offices began in the Congress that served when 9/11 occurred.   As such, it is likely that most of those honored by having a Post Office named after them died in the terrorist attacks in the United States, or served their country in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed.  If Congress expected that [...] Read more »

USPS Needs an Urban/Suburban Post Office Plan Too

Bethesda MD- featured

Congressman Chris Van Holland’s complaint about the new Bethesda Post Office illustrates that the Postal Service has more than a rural Post Office problem. While ensuring that small communities keep their post offices generate lots of headlines and press attention, getting retail right in places like Bethesda, MD is probably more important for the Postal Service financially. The reason is simple, demand for retail and competition is high for the types of services that a Post Office can offer. Bethesda, one of the more densely populated suburbs of Washington DC and is home to over 60,000 people. What matters to the Postal Service is that the demographics of the [...] Read more »

PostPlan – Why Didn’t the Postal Service Measure Any Impact on Demand?

hungry horse post office

Save the Post Office made an important point in its analysis of the financial impact of the PostPlan, the Postal Service assumed that cutting hours will not impact demand.  Not including any analysis on the impact of the reduction of hours on revenue illustrates the haste that the Post Plan was presented.  More than likely the Postal Regulatory Commission or some party will demand the Postal Service to do an analysis of the impact of hours change on revenue. Measuring Revenue Impact of Cutting Post Office Hours The Postal Service should have presented an analysis of the impact of cutting hours on revenue.  It more than likely has the data on [...] Read more »

USPS Retail Database Needs More Frequent Updates

The Postal Service moved my local Post Office on 2nd Avenue Silver Spring between one and two weeks ago..   News stories about a potential move were announced in February when the Postal Service sold the 2nd Street Post Office to Insight Property Group  with the date of sale dependent of the the Postal Service finding a new location for both the retail and delivery operations. I leaned about the move when I drove by the new location and saw the U.S. Postal Service sign.  I checked on the Postal Service’s website today and it still identified the old, closed location, 8616 2nd Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910-9997, as the location of my nearest [...] Read more »

Rural Post Office Plan Saves Money By Cutting Labor Hours and Compensation

Weston GA - featured

Today the Postal Service announced a major restructuring of how it provides retail services in rural communities.  The change will affect some 17,728 Post Offices.  While most news reports focused on the cuts in hours, the plan also makes major savings by replacing career Postmasters with lower paid part-time employees.  This plan is likely to remove rural Post Offices as a political roadblock to postal reform. The Postal Service’s plan, known as PostPlan, has four elements that dramatically restructure management of both rural and urban Post Offices.  However, the impact is likely greatest in rural post offices that only have one retail window.   There are three major types of changes [...] Read more »

Postal Service’s New Plan for Rural Post Offices Coming Today

Weston GA - featured

H.R. 2309 has been on a slow track in the House of Representatives since the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the bill on January 17, 2012.  It took the House Rules committee two months until it marked up provisions under its jurisdiction on March 29.   Since then there has been no word about floor action even with the end of the moratorium on facility closures approaching. Senate Votes Shows That Future of Rural Service Will Determine Future of Postal Reform In the Senate, the coalition that passed S. 1789, the 21st Century Act of 2012 represented a coalition of Democrats and mostly rural-state Republicans.  In particular, all Republican Senators from Alaska, Arkansas, [...] Read more »

What would an optimized Postal Service infrastructure look like in the 21st century and beyond?


In trying to define an optimized Postal Service infrastructure, I was stuck at trying to define what “an optimized Postal Service infrastructure” meant.  The problem that I had was not with the mathematics of optimization which is focused on either cost minimization or profit maximization but with four sets of constraints that affect the formulation of an optimization model.   These constraints are: Customer service needs which determine product characteristics; Labor management constraints that impact operating costs; Capital spending constraints that limit options for infrastructure optimization; and Regulatory constraints which modifies a market-driven optimal network to reflect political considerations. While in the future, the Postal Service’s customers are going to need [...] Read more »

gopost Nearly Ready To Go Live

gopost logo featured

Since December 6, the Postal Service has installed six gopost parcel lockers in Northern Virginia and tested both the hardware and software.   Now the Postal Service has quietly launched the gopost web page in anticipation of the formal public introduction in mid-January.  Given the interest in gopost among the readers of this blog, I took advantage of light Northern Virginia traffic on Christmas to visit all six sites.   These sites illustrated the breadth of possible installations the Postal Service may use and how these parcel lockers will integrate with the Postal Service’s on-line and, possibly, its mobile presence.  [For an in depth look at a gopost parcel locker see: A Close Up Look at [...] Read more »

Delays in Restructuring Operating and Retail Networks Will Increase Red Ink; Delay Possible Early Retirements

usps logo crop

The Associated Press reports today that the Postal Service has agreed to delay closing “252 mail processing centers and 3,700 local post offices until mid-May.”  The public announcement is expected to come later today. (The full press release from the Postal Service is included at the bottom of this post.  The press release adds may 15 as the date.) The delay is likely related to the Postal Service’s request for another extension in its deadline for making its retiree health benefit payment.    The May time frame is designed to allow Congress to 1) review the Postal Service’s request to change First Class service standards and make adjustments to the closures that the Postal Service has [...] Read more »

Where the Postal Service Goes Wrong in Retail

post office

Currently there is a major argument in Congress and before the Postal Regulatory Commission about how and where the Postal Service should be able to close Post Offices. In both cases, the conflict focuses on retail facilities owned by the Postal Service that employ postal employees. In neither case, has any party raised the question as to what the Postal Service’s retail strategy should be and what would it take to create a retail infrastructure that makes sense for needs of the Postal Service’s customers over the next decade. The Postal Service’s Retail Strategy is What a Government Facing Declining Tax Revenue Would Do Over the past few years the [...] Read more »