What with founding Postmaster General Ben Franklin’s 300th birthday, the issuance of a Franklin stamp, and the opening of a new mail-processing facility in South Philly, it’s been a big year for the U.S. Postal Service in this city — so much so that we sought out Alan Kessler, a Philadelphia lawyer who serves on the USPS board of governors, to answer some questions.
Will the new facility in South Philly make the mail get here any faster?
It will improve speed; everything there is totally automated and high-tech. It’s become the model for any new facilities built in the country.
How often do people complain to you about their mail?
I get so many calls about mailbox issues and undelivered mail. I am limited in what I can do, but I do pass them on.
What’s your favorite stamp?
The Presidential Liberty stamp. I did the dedication at the Clinton Library in Little Rock with President Clinton.
You must have some obscure postal service facts at your fingertips.
Lots. For every penny that gas prices increase, it costs the Post Office approximately $7 million more that day. Another good one: Every year, there are 1.7 million new addresses to deliver to. FedEx and UPS can immediately slap on service charges, but we can’t.
Last question: Do you get to mail stuff for free?
Nothing is free.