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The PMG at the National Postal Forum
By Jimmy Salmon
Postmaster of Clarkdale, AZ, and a member of Phoenix Branch 246
The National Postal Forum was May 21-24 in Charlotte, NC. The forum, hosted each year in different cities around the country, is an opportunity for members of the mailing community to interact with each other, as well as with the Postal Service and its customers.
The forum gave Postmaster General Louis DeJoy the opportunity to give what you might call the “State of the USPS” address, a “Delivering for America Two-Year Progress Report” and/or a “State of the Business” address. His speech was a little over one hour and is available to everyone on our postal computers and online at usps.com.
His presentation touched on all aspects of the “Delivering for America” (DFA) plan and all elements of the jobs we do. He stressed the dramatic changes that need to be made as part of the DFA. The presentation also included many video presentations by USPS executive vice presidents and vice presidents, including Chief Retail and Delivery Officer Dr. Joshua Colin and Chief Processing and Distribution Officer Isaac Cronkhite.
Many presentations focused on the Sorting & Delivery Centers (S&DCs). All the presenters were enthusiastic about their subjects. If you have the opportunity, I recommend you watch the video.
S&DCs are something in which we all have been interested and, perhaps, concerned about since we learned of this initiative. The centers are being implemented regularly; 16 are scheduled to open in September. There have been delays, so, perhaps not all will open on Sept. 9 as scheduled.
The Postal Service expects to have 30 S&DCs running by the end of this year and about 100 S&DCs running by the end of 2024. The intent is to have over 400 S&DCs over the next three years.
The centers are part of a new logistics network that will include Regional Processing and Distribution Centers and Local Processing Centers. It will be interesting to stay up to date on these implementations as they continue to come online.
The biggest question regarding the S&DCs is how they will affect us, how it will affect the local postmaster and how it will affect the “spoke” postmaster—the postmaster of an office that loses delivery to an S&DC. While there hasn’t been a lot of information available about this so far, my understanding is the postmaster will remain in their office and continue to operate as a retail and box section unit.
There are myriad questions about hold mail, parcel pick up and many others. There are about 10 S&DCs already up and running. It would be great for all of us to learn how those processes are being handled in the new setup.
Regarding pay, office level and other questions of this type, my understanding is the postmaster of an office has two years’ saved grade/ saved pay. If it gets to the two-year mark and the office still is occupied by the same postmaster, the office may be reevaluated.
If an office becomes vacant as a result of delivery moving to an S&DC, that office may be reevaluated when the vacancy occurs. Part of the initiative’s thinking is if a postmaster is less busy as a result of losing routes, the postmaster will have time to be more present in their community.
I recently have been hearing questions about the S&DCs. I assure you the Postmaster and the Executive Board Postmaster committees will make every effort to stay up to date and get more definitive answers to the questions we all have.