In her home at Rogers House in Lebanon, Betty Abbott, 89, talks about the decision of the postal service to no longer deliver mail on Saturday. “The big dogs get paid too much in the Post Office, just like the Congress and Senate and all of them,” she said. “They are setting their retirements and all of that, and they don’t give a damn about the little man. … It just bugs me when these young squirts can’t understand what they’re doing to their country.” (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck)
(Published in print: Thursday, February 7, 2013)
Lebanon — No more mail delivery to homes and businesses on Saturdays: That’s the plan announced yesterday by officials from the financially troubled United States Postal Service, who said the agency will continue delivering packages to street addresses once regular mail service on Saturdays ends mid-summer.
Post offices currently open on Saturday will remain open, officials said, and mail will continue to be delivered to post office boxes on that day.
The Postal Service expects that curtailing Saturday service — which goes into effect the week of Aug. 5 — will save about $2 billion annually, Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe said in a statement.
“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” Donahoe said. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”
The announcement was not unexpected as email takes over snail mail: The agency in November reported a record $15.9 billion loss in the last budget year and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in retiree health benefit prepayments to avert bankruptcy.
The financial losses were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand.
Nevertheless, some Upper Valley residents reacted to the news with dismay yesterday, expressing concerns about mail accessibility for the elderly and finanically disadvantaged, and fears that yesterday’s announcement could signal a slow dismantling of one of the country’s oldest institutions dating back to the 18th century. Norwich resident Nichole Hastings, an activist who has long worked to in opposition post office closings and cutbacks, said the move brings into play “an interesting economic and spatial disparity” in that if people can’t access a post office box because of lack of availability or cost, “they lose out.”
“Most people that have a (post office box) have money to afford the service,” she said in a Facebook exchange to the Valley News. “Post offices can only house so many (post office boxes), so if folks wanted to change over, some folks would be able to and would take on the service and fuel charge for the box and driving to the box. … Quite simply, it’s unfair to everyone and perpetuates a class/economic divide between those that have money and those that do not.”
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