The following are excerpts of comments submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission regarding the Retail Access Optimization Initiative:
The financial challenges that face the Postal Service today are, at heart,manufactured, the result of dysfunctional Congressional oversight and a myopic postal management that seeks at every turn to undermine the very basis for its existence. The postal network we have developed over generations provides not only mail delivery but an essential governmental presence in every community and corner of the nation. This
network, which should be viewed as an asset rather than simply as overbuilt industrial capacity, truly has served to bind the nation together. Dissolving and dismantling this important piece of our national infrastructure would be a tragic mistake.
As the issues confronting the nation’s postal system have moved ever to the forefront it is not hyperbole to say that Congress has failed the American people, or that those charged with managing the nation’s postal system have failed miserably, or that some of the industries that have benefited from the existence of this essential infrastructure have taken a narrow and completely self-interested view of the problems and potential solutions. Throughout these difficult times two entities have managed to maintain their institutional integrity and act as honest brokers.
Both the PRC and the USPS-OIG have remained true to their defined functions and missions. Both have produced reports, studies and white papers that demonstrate a thoughtful approach which recognizes the essential value of the nation’s postal system.Even when confined to commenting on the limited and narrow vision expressed by the system’s management both of these institutions have done so in an essentially honest way that often clarifies the cognitive dissonance inherent in postal management’s approach to the problems that confront us.
I spent most of my career as a postmaster in a small rural community. I know how important the presence and reach of the postal service can be. What is being offered in exchange for that presence and reach is wholly insufficient. I suppose though that in the face of multi-billion dollar deficits that heart warming stories about the impact the Postal Service and postal employees have on their communities will fall upon deaf ears.
I suppose too that in an age where ideological rigidity trumps evidence or human concerns that it is pointless to offer any viewpoint that doesn’t affirm the preferred ideology. And when our business models take into account only short term considerations, exalting immediate profit over long term growth and worshipping cost cutting at the expense of employment and jobs then I suppose that any discussion of the value of the postal network as infrastructure becomes a pointless exercise.
The Postal Service has come before you with a request to fundamentally change the nature of postal services in this country. This case cannot stand alone as a simple argument for a change in the nature of service in the face of financial challenges. It does not exist in a vacuum but must be examined in light of all the other presentments, actions, and plans offered by the Postal Service. Examined in that light this case is nothing less
than a request to abandon the concept of universal service.
This case is about first principles, it is about a fundamental understanding of what government is and does. It is about the profound truth inherent in the idea of a national infrastructure that provides universal service and opportunity. It should not be about political expedience or turn on the fact that Congress has imposed reckless and unsustainable burdens on a national treasure.
Throughout its existence the PRC has demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism, honesty and integrity in its processes and decision making. No matter how you choose to approach this case I am certain that you will continue to demonstrate those values. I implore you to grasp the opportunity this case gives you to examine first principles, to make a statement that acknowledges the very foundational place the Founders saw for the post and to sustain the basic profound truth embodied in the principle of universal service.
Ultimately Congress, which created the financial crisis confronting the Postal Service, must find a solution to the present problems. Ultimately Congress, which created a dysfunctional and unaccountable management system, must take responsibility for its failures. Do not let Congress or postal management off the hook by crafting a narrow decision in this case. This case is about first principles, please have the courage to let your decision reflect that.
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Sylva, NC 28779