Letter to the Editor:
1 read with much interest the two articles carried on your Editorial Page entitled "The Truth about Postal Reform- written by a Mr. Reed Anfinson a publisher with the Nat'l. Newspaper Association. These two articles, both exactly the same, appeared in the May 11 and May 18th News-Herald editions. These two articles while telling a part of the story failed to touch on a couple of the very important issues currently being faced by the U. S. Postal SERVICE.
As you will note, I capitalized the word SERVICE deliberately because many members of Congress as well as upper postal management have forgotten or failed to realize this is what the Post Office is about. There is no one branch of our Federal Government that directly touches the lives of so many of its citizens on an almost daily or at most a weekly basis with the exception of our currency system (our dimes and dollars),and since 1970 when the Post Office became a quasi-corporation it has cost the U. S. taxpayer nothing as it as been self-supporting.
Now the current Postal Financial Problem: This is a problem created by Congress a number of years ago (2006) when it passed legislation mandating the Postal SERVICE pre-fund within ten years the health care benefits for all of its employees for 75 years in advance. This means the Postal SERVICE would be putting aside monies to pay for health care for future employees that are not even born yet. This unreasonable burden amounts to billions of dollars, and is a requirement no other public or private business or corporation in this country has to comply with. The Postal SERVICE in spite of this was still able to comply with it until the national recession came along with its decrease in mailing and business in general. Even so, the Postal SERVICE would have been in the black financially four of the the past five years if our "do nothing" congress would have repealed this legislation. A second problem facing our struggling Postal SERVICE is a drastic mis-computation of the civil Service Retirement Benefits that have resulted in over a 50 billion dollar overpayment into that fund.
In addition to the above, a continuing problem for the Postal SERVICE is an extremely top heavy administration/supervisory staff. UPS,one of the postal SERVICE main competitors uses one admin. /supervisory person for every 12 to 14 regular employees. In the Postal SERVICE the ratio is one to every 6 to 7 employees or nearly double what the competion is using. This is one of the prime reasons Postal Management wishes to drop Saturday delivery which would be a drastic disservice to the American public. If you think about it-these high level highly paid management people already for the most part work a five day week, so elimination of Saturday delivery would in no way affect their life style or income. Besides a tremendous inconvenience to much of the general public, the employees working Saturdays (the clerks, the carriers, and the mail-handlers - the people that really make the Postal SERVICE happen and almost entirely on the low end of the salary scale) would be the ones eliminated.
I have had the unique opportunity to have been associated with the Postal SERVICE for many years. My time with the P.O. actually started back in the early 1940's while attending Toledo High School. Because of the World War II military draft taking many men and several employees of the Toledo P. 0., the local Postmaster appealed to the High School for kid to work at the local P.O. on a part-time basis to help with their work load. I turned out to be that kid, and worked part time most of my High School days. (Richard Cooper also worked in this same type of situation following me after my High School graduation). I later became a regular Postal employee carrying a City mail route for nearly 30 years from the late 50's thru much of the 80's.
I truly believe the Postal SERVICE can heal its self, and be the true Postal SERVICE millions of our citizens have come to depend on over these many years without the need to drop Saturday delivery, close numerous small post offices and mail processing centers, and other things that will only cut service for the very deserving citizens of this nation. It is dependent on Congress passing meaningful legislation, and the Postal SERVICE eliminating needless top level high salaried personnel, thereby making the Postal SERVICE an organization we can all be proud of
Austin R. (Bob) Walton
P. S. John, I believe the Postmaster I first worked for when I was in High School would have been a relative of yours. It was John Lichty and the Post Office would have been in the first building west of the law office where SATUCI was formerly located. At that time a Ist class stamp was 3 cents and a post card was a penny. Mail delivery in town was twice a day and at Christmas time because of the tremendous parcel load packages were delivered on Sunday (recall there was no UPS or Fed-X with the only other local delivery source being Railway Express which was a costly premium means of transportation). If you wanted Air Mail, it required a special postage stamp that I believe may have cost 12 cents. Things have changed a lot since then -----