By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
Several mail processing centers in southern Ohio, including the one in Portsmouth, will close if the U.S. Postal Service moves forward with modifications to streamline the USPS operation to save money.
The Postal Service ended its second quarter (Jan. 1-March 31) with a net loss of $3.2 billion, compared to a net loss of $2.2 billion for the same period last year. Despite ongoing efforts to improve efficiency, the losses will continue until key provisions of the Postal Service’s five-year business plan move forward.
USPS spokeswoman Susie Williams said the Postal Service has been under a moratorium in which Congress asked the USPS to take no action until May 15.
“May 15 has come and gone and I think the postmaster general’s plans are to move forward, but I don’t have a timeline,” Williams said.
A list out Monday shows Portsmouth will lose its Customer Service Mail Processing Center, which will be absorbed into the Columbus Processing and Distribution Center.
“Mail being processed in Portsmouth will now be processed in Columbus,” Williams said. “That means Columbus is gaining that mail processing. And Columbus is gaining Dayton’s processing. Cleveland is gaining Mansfield’s processing.”
The USPS said that reports of hundreds of jobs in southern Ohio would be lost are not true.
“We say the Portsmouth Processing Center, but it’s really just a few machines in the back,” USPS spokesman David Van Allen said. “It’s really small. All of those processing operations — Ironton and Portsmouth — the Post Offices aren’t closing. Those are Post Offices, and in the back they have machines. Those machines are moving. Of course the people running those machines will go. You’re looking at a handful of jobs at each location. They have been running short-staffed at a most of those locations anyway, anticipating those changes, so they won’t be losing anything except a blank on a piece of paper. A position that no one is filling anyway.”
Included in the list of processing centers potentially going away, in addition to Portsmouth and Ironton, are Athens and Chillicothe.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.