Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Midway P.O. finances still secret; USPS releases more data on offices in danger of closing

The manager of post office operations in the Lexington sectional center of the U.S. Postal Service has declined to give the Midway Messenger and Mayor Tom Bozarth the same information on the Midway post office that postal officials in other areas have shared with reporters about other post offices.

Bozarth, left, and the Messenger had asked for the information to help evaluate Adkins' claim, at a town meeting on the issue, that cuts at the office would save almost $100,000 a year. Adkins saidat the meeting that the Midway post office loses money, but he said in his letter, "The Postal Service does not disclose specific financial data, not even in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The revenues and expenses of our offices are considered proprietary business information." Bozarth told the Messenger that he received a similar letter.

However, the Postal Service appears more willing to reveal such information about the finances of smaller post offices that were being closed or in danger of closing, perhaps to justify those actions. Annual revenues and expenses of such offices were reported in this story in the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota and another in The Washington Post. The reporters who wrote those stories told the Messenger that they got their information from Postal Service officials: a regional spokesman in Minneapolis and a sectional manager in Virginia.

The USPS releases other types of specific information, as it did last week to residents of Slayden, Tenn., population 300, who got a letter warning that they may lose their post office. At a meeting there, a USPS official "said low business activity at the post office warranted an investigation into the closure. She said the Slayden post office processes 15.1 daily retail transactions, 84.4 pieces of mail, rents about 68 boxes, and dispatches about 51 letters/flats," reports Josh Arntz of the Dickson Herald. The number of retail transactions was mentioned in a letter the USPS sent residents, Arntz told the Messenger. (Read more)

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