Reporting Al Sunshine
MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami officially has a new Postmaster General. Jerry Long was sworn in Tuesday morning and said in his 30-year career, he’s never seen more challenging times.
As the new head of 46 postal facilities in Miami-Dade and their 2,215 employees, Jerry Long faces the possibility of having to cut services if new plans are implemented to cut postal services costs and prevent a possible postal service bankruptcy.
“We’ve never had these proposals such as Saturday business closed, the issues that we’ve had, we’ve never had these kind of challenges and I think that most people are in the same boat so we’re looking at that as how do we reduce our workforce due to the reduction in our workload,” Long told CBS4’s Al Sunshine.
When asked whether he anticipates layoffs in South Florida mail facilities, Long replied, “In our history, the postal service has never laid off a career employee and we’d like to maintain that but I couldn’t promise that at this time. I think that anything is on the table.”
Long began his career with the Post Office as a letter carrier in Dallas, Texas after serving three years in the Army. In 2010, Long joined the South Florida District as the Postmaster Fort Lauderdale.
Long’s appointment comes at a troubling time for the Postal Service.
On Monday, it was announced that first-class U.S. mail will arrive more slowly by next spring.
The cash strapped Postal Service plans to eliminate more than 250 processing centers nationwide at the cost of nearly 30,000 jobs.
Long said as far as he knows, no postal facilities in Miami-Dade are scheduled to be cut.
The cuts are part of $3 billion in reductions aimed at helping the agency avert bankruptcy next year. They would virtually eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day, a change in first-class delivery standards that have been in place since 1971. The agency already has announced a 1-cent increase in first-class mail to 45 cents beginning Jan. 22.
Postal vice president David Williams said the post office needs to move quickly to cut costs as it seeks to stem five years of red ink amid steadily declining mail volume. After hitting 98 billion in 2006, first-class mail volume is now at less than 78 billion. It is projected to drop by roughly half by 2020.