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Opinion: A Post Office rant, and other bargains

Jim Hoffman
CONSIDER THIS
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

Well, Mesa County finally got a bargain!

Imagine being able to terminate an employee for a cost of only $3,000 or so, instead of a full year’s pay. It seems that two of our commissioners decided it was time to part ways with our long-time county attorney and forced him into retirement.

As is usual in these personnel matters, there was a lot of “we wish to thank him for his service and contributions, yada yada yada…” and little in the way of explanation.



Regardless of the reasoning, it was at least refreshing to see that the county could terminate an at-will employee without expending tens of thousands of dollars to do so. If our county attorney was involved in drafting employment contracts for others who got generous buyouts and not do better for himself, maybe we could question his abilities on that point alone. LOL.



On THE U.S. POST OFFICE

I am normally a supporter of the U.S. Postal Service, its operations and its employees.

Frankly I do not know why you could not be. Try handing an envelope addressed to New York State to anyone else with less than a 50 cent payment and ask it to be delivered. Even with the continuing increase in postage rates, mailing a letter remains a great bargain.

If our elected “representatives” quit interfering with the Post Office, maybe we would see a better run operation.

Imagine if these pompous people in Washington D.C. dictated to J.C. Penny’s that it would have to maintain stores it wishes to shutter because it suited the whims of a senator. Imagine the turmoil that would ensue if these same “learned” souls intervened in the budgeting process of Apple and dictated how its budget should be spent. And, what if that same august body told a chain, say Hobby Lobby, that it had to open on Sunday because people wanted to shop.

That is the manner in which a “semi-autonomous” body of government is run. The Post Office must fund its pensions in a manner not forced upon other businesses. This requirement alone adds billions to the on-going negative balance sheet. The Post Office must maintain branches with virtually no business because to do otherwise would cost some poor politician 25-50 votes in the upcoming election. It must also maintain Saturday delivery because, well, just because.

Congress has little interest in maintaining an efficient and profitable Post Office. It has more interest in garnering a few extra votes and just maybe hoping the whole thing will belly up and they can privatize it. The bargain of mailing a letter cross country would vanish.

Setting the foregoing aside, let me share a small story that happened just in time to give me some column fodder on an otherwise slow satire week. Standing in a rather long line, I approach the counter after a wait of perhaps 15 minutes. I desire to purchase 50 postcard stamps, so the postcards held in my hand could be mailed at a rate lower than for first-class letters.

After an additional wait (during which I apologize to those in line behind me), the clerk informs me they have no individual postcard stamps. My choices appear to be: 1. Buying a full roll of 100 post card stamps, even though I require only 50; 2. Mailing them using a “normal” stamp at a cost of perhaps $5 or so more than it should cost,; or 3. Returning in a week (maybe the supervisor will have ordered some and they will be available).

Also, a letter postmarked in Grand Junction seven days ago arrived in my box today, and a letter forwarded from a street address to my P.O. Box was returned marked “NSN,” which I am informed means “no such number.” FYI, that letter was placed in another envelope addressed to me at the same P.O. Box and was delivered.

Well, hell yeah, let me give you an additional five bucks to improve your solvency, while it took seven days to receive a letter mailed from the 81504 zip code …

And why do you think my P.O. Box does not exist?

Come to think of it ­— all that other stuff I said about your efficiency and such? Well, you can just forget that.

Free Press columnist Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.


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