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SoCal USPS Comments on Post Office Presence in the Palisades

"Nobody wants to see their local Post Office or station close, but USPS must respond to business conditions," a spokesperson says.

The United States Postal Service announced Tuesday that it will be studying more than 3,600 post offices to determine how it will adjust its physical presence nationwide.

Palisades Patch got in touch with the USPS offices in Southern California to see how this may, or may not, affect Pacific Palisades.

We received the following email from a Southern California spokesperson Wednesday:

Hi Amanda,
 
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is moving beyond the brick and mortar walls of Post Offices and stations by contracting with local businesses to offer postal products and services where customers already shop. It's easy and convenient to pick up Forever stamps at the grocery store, bank ATM or pharmacy, or ship a Priority Mail Flat Rate box at an office supply store. And of course, at the Postal Service's website, usps.com, customers can do almost anything they can do at a Post Office - print shipping labels and download postage, schedule a free pickup of packages, lookup a ZIP Code, buy stamps and even hold mail delivery when they are away. More than a third of retail revenue already comes from these expanded access channels.
 
To make it easy for customers to find these expanded access locations at places they already shop or while on their way, USPS has a new website -- uspseverywhere.com -- where customers enter a ZIP Code and all Post Offices and expanded access locations appear on an interactive map. Icons provide information on services provided at each location.
 
Currently, USPS has more retail Post Offices, stations and branches nationwide than there are Starbucks, McDonalds and Walmarts combined. Given our financial pressures, we are reviewing over 3,600 USPS locations for possible discontinuance or consolidation. Of these 3,600, there are 112 locations in California and about 30 in Los Angeles County to be reviewed -- none in Pacific Palisades. This list provided to Congress yesterday is not a list of Post Offices that will close. No decisions have been made. It is only a list of locations to be reviewed. (I've attached the list of CA locations for your information.)
 
Nobody wants to see their local Post Office or station close, but USPS must respond to business conditions. Volume has declined over 20 percent in the past three years. People receive and pay bills on the Internet. They communicate by email and text message. Postal facilities and operations are not tax dollar supported. As our volume and revenue decline, we must respond and right size our network -- just as any business would have to do.
 
To illustrate the options customers have to take care of postal business, I have attached the map from uspseverywhere.com for the Pacific Palisades area. The top transaction at Post Offices is postage sales, and today there are many convenient ways to pick up stamps without making a special trip to the Post Office.

Richard Maher
Corporate Communications | U.S. Postal Service

Ted J March 18, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Jed, you failed to say your comments are brought to us via your postal union rep!!!
Ted J March 18, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Despite facing $9 billion in losses this year, the U.S. Postal Service is paying out millions to thousands of workers doing nothing. The payments are made under a labor agreement governing “standby time,” which prohibits layoffs or reassignments for employees during times when equipment is broken or there is low mail volume. Under the agreements, the workers must show up for work and spend their shift in a break room or cafeteria! Standby time amounted to 170,666 hours in the first six months of 2011, according to a Postal Service Inspector General’s Office audit. The idle time cost $4.3 million. In 2009, 1.2 million hours were billed, costing $30.9 million! Washington Post
Jed Pauker March 19, 2012 at 07:33 AM
Ted, even if what you say were the case, commercial providers have been entitled to offer USPS's most profitable services without being required to take any loss leaders. It's called the Universal Service Obligation (USO). Like the crazy 10/75 pre-funding burden that is causing USPS's current crisis, USO is unique to the Postal Service. USPS must to deliver mail at an affordable cost to all Americans. Period. Here's an example: A small aircraft delivers weekly mail to a remote Idaho community. Its pilot flies mail to some 20 customers who have no other access. He lands in their big yards. His USPS contract, if I recall, is $46,000 per year. Do you think those folks send $46,000 of mail every year? I don't think so. Costs like these are absorbed within the mail system, which must break even - no profit. USPS is a service. Do you think any commercial carriers could - or would - serve that remote community for 45 cents a letter? Let's agree: We don't think so. Rural areas are especially hard hit now; many have no internet, and no other access to medicines, paychecks and supplies. Urban post offices help support rural ones. That's only one reason why we mustn't close urban post offices. A few words about the cyber issue: Email is neither secure nor universal. When broadband reaches all those folks in Idaho, when spam and malware attacks are as rare as mail tampering, then let's talk about closing post offices.
Jed Pauker March 19, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Funny! Nope, I work in the private sector. My Neighborhood Council work is what got me involved in the post office issue (see my first post, above).
Jed Pauker March 19, 2012 at 08:29 AM
Closing, consolidating and relocating every post office targeted for closure is expected to save USPS something like $220 million - less than four tenths of one percent of its annual budget. One analyst puts the figure at closer to $125 million. Why would an agency that needs to resolve a crushing debt burden close 10 percent of its revenue centers to save under 1 percent of its costs? That "9 billion" is rounded up - the number is either 8.5 or 8.3 billion, depending on whose chart you read. Of that amount, $5.5 billion is the Retired Employee Health Benefits pre-funding amount. This is from the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, requiring full funding of seventy-five years of benefits in ten years. No other public or private company is subjected to such an onerous pre-funding burden. A forty-year advance funding term would be bad enough, but a ten year term can bankrupt a profit-driven company, much less a break-even agency such as USPS. Congress obviously missed a major detail on that December day in 2006. "Pay-as-you-go" benefits funding would be far smarter. Those Washington Post numbers indicate progress on the standby time. With $31 million spent in 2009, decreasing to a projected $8.6 million in 2011, any rational observer couldn't help but see the improvement. The Post used to be one of the most rational newspapers in the land. Thanks, Ted. Please sign the petition. Write your Congresspeople. We can solve this one.

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