Postal changes to have little local effect

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Effects of the U.S. Postal Service’s announcement Monday that it plans to end next-day service for regular mail should have minimal – if any – impact on Covington County residents mailing items to other county residents.

“While first-class overnight mail service standards are changing from one to three days to two to four days across the country, it is possible that Andalusia might still have overnight service to and from the Andalusia area,” said Debra Fetterly, USPS communications specialist.

“But a first-class letter originating from California, as an example, would take four days to Andalusia instead of three days as it does now,” she said. “Overall, in most cases, it would take an additional day to process and deliver the mail.

“So right now, what that means is that customers should not worry about impact to holiday cards and gifts,” she said. “This change in service standards will not take place until March or April 2012.”

The announcement is part of a $2.1 billion cost savings proposal that also would result in the loss of about 28,000 postal worker jobs. It’s too early to tell if any of those are local jobs; however, the USPS has discussed closing the Wing branch, and at one time, the Gantt branch.

Officials say the move is necessary to preserve the future of the U.S. Postal Service, which is on the brink of insolvency. The changes are being proposed to address an estimated 47 percent drop in regular mail expected over the next 10 years.

Regular first-class mail tends to pay most of the U.S. Postal Service’s bills, according to Postal Service Network Operations Vice President David Williams.

“The U.S. Postal Service must reduce its operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 in order to return to profitability,” Williams said.