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Postal service nothing to fiddle with

August 21, 2020

The Cape Gazette adds its voice to the chorus of concern raised about recent policy changes dictated by the United States Postal Service. That chorus, including threat of lawsuits from more than 20 states’ attorneys general – including Delaware’s Kathleen Jennings – have reportedly prompted the USPS to put the changes on hold until after the November elections.

That’s good news but troubling nonetheless. As explained, changes to a system that has an unsustainable financial structure make sense, but not in the midst of a pandemic. People are staying home more and relying more than ever on receiving essential items such as prescriptions through the mail. Also, many people are expected to vote by mail in the coming election rather than stand in lines, which is discouraged in this pandemic. Instituting disruptive changes that deserve far more advance deliberation, especially in this context, makes no sense.   

We can attest to the real negative impacts of the policies before they were rolled back. Dictates canceling overtime, often necessary to ensure timely delivery of mail, led to delays in mail delivery including Cape Gazettes. We know that from personal experience and from talking to local postal officials.

We have also heard from individuals in the communities we serve about delays in their receipt of mail. We all know how many items – including bills, checks, letters and circulars – come into our boxes on a daily basis. When our mailboxes are entirely empty one day, we know something is wrong.

Delaware’s senior U.S. Sen. Tom Carper serves on the committee that oversees the nation’s postal operations. His office reported recently that constituent complaints about mail delivery problems increased twenty-fold, a staggering amount, in the past month.

The Cape Gazette values and appreciates its quarter-century relationship with a postal service that has reliably delivered literally millions of newspapers to our subscribers. That universal service is an important part of this nation’s bedrock foundation and should not be fiddled with haphazardly. Even small changes can have negative impacts of seismic proportion.

 

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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