Residents of Norborne expressed their displeasure at a meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss the future operation of their post office. About 40 people attended the meeting, which was held to share the results of a recent U.S. Postal Service survey and to open discussion about the issue. Click to hear audio from the public meeting:
As part of a nationwide plan to achieve significant cost savings for the postal service, which has lost more than $25 billion since 2007, a plan to reduce hours at 13,000 post offices was implemented. The post operations manager began the meeting by explaining it aims to help the postal service return to long-term financial stability, but also to “keep post offices open.”
Residents opened up public discussion by challenging the way the Postal Service has initiated change. A survey was mailed out seeking public input to residents within the 64688 zip code, which some felt was only a small fraction of the people who use the post office. The survey results showed only 301 responses. Of these, 83 percent of residents chose realignment of hours over other options, but locals felt the survey was unclear. Aside from the time changes, we’ve also received reports that the survey is confusing people who currently have home delivery. One of the options is close the post office and get rural delivery, but that’s meant to apply to box holders. However, some people may feel they need to check this option in order to continue getting home delivery. If respondents check that box it will mean a discontinuance study rather than reduced hours.
The Postal Service has proposed to cut the Norborne’s hours by 30 minutes each weekday (Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.). Many residents feel the changes will lead to the closure of the post office. Resident Carolyn Lyon said she can see the writing on the wall. “I want to know why they can’t manage their time and their money and have less hire-ups. They’re not here to really serve the people. It’s mismanagement of money. It won’t solve the problem.”
The decision to reduce hours of operation has all but been made, but there is no resolution at this point to close down the post office. “They’re asking us to accept the best of the worst options,” Lyon said. “Will the post office say in a year or two years, ‘use of the post office has decreased dramatically and we need to close it?’”
Although the postal service representative could not provide KMZU News with any figures on cost-saving estimates, reports released in May, said the postal service expected the new plan to save $500 million a year once it is fully implemented in 2014. The previous proposal would have closed more than 3,000 rural post offices to save $200 million a year.
The Postal Service said in one week from Wednesday, it will announce its decision. If postal service officials approve the changes in the hours of operation, the times will be posted, and they’ll take effect 30 days later.
The Postal Regulatory Commission would like to hear your feedback about your experiences with the implementation of POST Plan.
Other documents of interest: