Potential Economies And Improvements In Service Through Modernization Of The Postal Field Service:

Post Office Department

B-114874: Published: Dec 7, 1967. Publicly Released: Dec 7, 1967.

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The present organization of the postal field service is based generally on the 19th century concept of an independent post office in each city, town, or village. There are currently about 33,000 independent post offices which, with few exceptions, process their own incoming and outgoing mail and are responsible for their own administrative and financial functions. We believe that this concept of operation must be modernized if satisfactory mail service is to be provided to the nation in an era of growing as well as shifting population, and increasing availability of sophisticated machines adaptable to speedy processing of mail in mass volumes. The present fragmented system of collecting, canceling, sorting, and dispatching mail at thousands of independent post offices precludes the Department from realizing the full potential of mechanization processes which are now available. Moreover, we believe that this problem will become more acute in future years as new uses are developed for electronics in the automation of postal facilities.

The General Accounting Office has completed a review of certain aspects of the organization and operation of the postal field service. We have concluded that there is an urgent need for modernization of the basic concepts of operation of post offices, in the interests of economy of operations and improved mail service. In the accompanying report we are recommending that the Congress and the Postmaster General take certain actions to accomplish such modernization, through consolidation of mail-processing operations and centralization of the administrative and financial functions of post offices.