Last Modified: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 5:44 PM
Isaac — at times a tropical storm, at times a hurricane — at all times posed some threat to the well being of Louisiana’s coastline and its people. At times, it seemed to pose a grave threat, according to some of the various weather models reported. Fortunately, that threat waned in Southwest Louisiana as the storm slowly wended its way northward through the state.
Still, public, private and charter schools were closed. Likewise, colleges closed. So did day cares. Public offices were shut down. Private citizens prepared as best they could as they braced themselves for the storm’s expected arrival. Streets were largely empty, at times, eerily so.
By the way, your post office closed.
In all the hurry and bustle of the storm’s looming threat, folks in Southwestern Louisiana might not have noticed that, mid-week, their mailbox was empty. It did not appear to be a front-burner issue. It took an outside call to notify us that the postal workers were not at their station. The Postal Service itself did not announce its closings to its customers.
McKinney Boyd, a Postal Service spokesman for this area, told the American Press last week that the decision to not deliver mail was made for the safety of letter carriers.
“The decision was made to look at protecting our employees. We didn’t want them delivering mail in that kind of weather. We made the decision to close our offices in the three-digit 706 area, where Lake Charles is based,” he said, apologizing to customers for the lack of notice.
The Postal Service’s decision to protect its employees by keeping them home — well, keeping them from work, anyway — may have been justifiable, though, given way the storm played out, those precautions were unnecessary. But the lack of mail service might have had a consequence that was unintended by the Postal Service: Not many people seemed to notice.
That’s the sort of situation that may suggest to the tax-paying public that some austerity measures proposed to remedy recent problems at the debt-laden Postal Service might not be as bad as feared. Among these measures is five-day mail delivery.
The Postal Service is facing a deficit of more than $200 billion over the next decade, the result of a dramatic drop in use. The bulk of the problem involves a requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree health benefits by $5 billion a year.
Among cost-cutting measures suggested has been five-day service, with post offices remaining open for counter service on Saturdays. At one time, that suggestion seemed severe. What would we do without our mailed fliers and catalogs? Last week’s time off for the letter carriers seemed to suggest: We’ll get by.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.
Posted By: di s gusted On: 9/13/2012
Can we fire Government?...
Posted By: P.Q. On: 9/6/2012
Title: REALLY Lisa?
The tax paying public will be the ones paying that 200B deficit.The postal service is a joke.It should be shut down and turned over to private enterprises99% of those that work for USPS do not do jobs that warrant the pay they are getting.I mean really, how smart do you have to be to put someone elses mail in my mailbox?For you to insist that no taxpayer dollars goes to USPS is halarious.
Posted By: John Jones On: 9/6/2012
Title: USPS does NOT take tax money!
USPS does NOT take tax money! Get your facts straight.
Posted By: Lisa On: 9/6/2012
Title: Tax-paying public?
What relation does the "tax-paying public" have to the post office? The US Postal Service is not funded by tax dollars,it is funded by the purchase of postage. Your argument could have been made without trying to induce more complaining from the public. The only thing people the uninformed public will remember about your article is the phrase " tax-paying public". Can't you publish/write an editorial that explains that tax dollars do not run the post office. Actually the over-payment of the pre-funded healthcare that the post office has been mandated to pay each year is the reason the post office is in such dire straits. Ask the US government where that money is, and why they don't want to refund the overpayments made to that fund. Could it be that the funds have been used to take care of other needs of the "tax-paying public"?