Murkowski: USPS Move Poses Threat to Alaskan Service

Senator Urges Thorough Transition Period Through Relocation, “Steep Learning Curve”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, warning him the impending restructuring and relocation of Alaska’s Western Area Distribution Networks office to Denver without a transition period is short-sighted. “Alaska’s mail service is more complicated than the majority of systems nationwide,” said Murkowski. “I understand the United States Postal Service needs to rethink everything to keep its costs under control, but this position has a steep learning curve.”

The United States Postal Service plans to shutter the Western Area Distribution Network office in Anchorage and transfer those duties and responsibilities to its Denver office.  The Network Operations Specialist, Steven Deaton, who has run this office is retiring after twenty-five years of service – taking with him an extensive understanding of Alaska’s unique mail transportation environment and the complexity of federal laws that regulate how mail is moved in Alaska.  The USPS plan does not include a hand-off or phasing-in plan for the new Denver specialist.

“I am extremely concerned to learn that there does not appear to be any transition or training plan for transferring this knowledge and experience to the Denver operation,” Murkowski continued. “Placing the responsibility for intra-Alaska mail and bypass mail service in the hands of untrained personnel two thousand miles and two time zones away without a clear sense of our Alaska’s routes and challenges may help the Postal Service’s bottom line but will impact our vast state’s economy and connectedness.”

Senator Murkowski’s letter (attached) encourages the United States Postal Service to engage in a two-to-three month transition period in order to give the new director a more robust sense of the Alaska postal system’s unique challenges – and track record.