The Edmond Sun

February 8, 2013

Locals not sweating Saturday postal cut

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Changes expected in mail delivery may challenge business and institutions to make adjustments while others will not be impacted.

The U.S. Postal Service announced its intentions this week to end Saturday mail to cut financial costs, a change Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said it can make without congressional approval if necessary, the Associated Press reported.

“Interesting enough, the postmaster general is saying he has latitude for cost savings because we are in continuing resolution,” said Congressman James Lankford, R-Edmond. “It doesn’t technically have to have congressional approval.”

The recommendation to reduce or eliminate Saturday delivery has been recommended by the post master general’s office for many years, Lankford said.

The White House approved the five-day a week proposal last year. Lankford said the House and the House Committee of Jurisdiction already voted to in favor of providing latitude to the postmaster’s decision.

“It has to be done. Nobody wants it but they’re $15 billion in debt,” Lankford said.

Nearly $16 billion of revenue was lost by the postal service last year. Mail volume is down 26 percent from its 2006 peak as the use of digital email has increased, according to the Postal Service.

The change would reduce costs by as much as $2 billion a year, Donahoe said. Service will continue to post-offices boxes on Saturdays.

OU Medical Center Edmond will not be affected by the change, said Leslie Buford, hospital spokesperson.

“All mail goes to the mail room and our mail clerks don’t even work on weekends,” Buford said. “All the medical records and histories are digital based and the doctors can access that whenever they want them.”

PostNet owner Jay Halli of Oklahoma City does not expect the drop of Saturday mail to alter his business model.

“Most of the time mail doesn’t get here by the time we open,” he said. “It makes no difference to our administrative work that goes on Saturday.”

Edmond Public Schools does not believe that the district will experience any adverse effects from the postal service announcing its plans to cut back to five-day-a-week deliveries, said Susan Parks-Schlepp, director of Public Information/Community Involvement for Edmond Public Schools.

City of Edmond spokesperson Jessica Straughan said communications by mail will not be disrupted by the city because Saturday is a day when its offices are closed. Straughan said the city hasn’t heard from any residents who are concerned that the disruption of mail delivery will interfere with communications on that day.

As a small business owner and a resident, Barry Moore said it is a great idea to cancel Saturday mail delivery.

“There’s nothing that comes to my home that can’t wait until Monday,” said Moore, a lobbyist. “And there’s nothing that comes to my business that can’t wait until Monday.”

A plan to salvage the U.S. Postal Service is important, he said. People will continue to rely on the post office for sending Christmas cards, birthday cards and other personal correspondence.

“They want to conduct business. We’ve got to have a viable postal service,” Moore said. “Anything they can do to cut cost and improve service — I’m all for it.”