Common Staff Writer
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is proposing changes in hours of retail operation for thousands of post offices around the country, including local offices.
“On May 9 of last year the post office announced a nationwide approach to preserving post offices throughout the nation, by right sizing the hours they are open for retail business,” said David Van Allen of USPS Corporate Communications. “Thirteen thousand post offices are being affected by this plan.”
According to the plan the post office in Scioto Furnace is currently open eight retail hours a day, the proposed retail hours are two.
The post office in Rarden is currently open eight retail hours a day, the proposed retail hours are four. The post office in Otway is currently open eight retail hours a day, the proposed retail hours are four.
The post office in McDermott is currently open eight retail hours a day, the proposed retail hours are six. The post office in Friendship is currently open eight retail hours a day, the proposed retail hours are four. The post office in Franklin Furnace is currently open eight retail hours a day. the proposed retail hours are six. The post office in Stout, Ohio is currently open six retail hours a day, the proposed retail hours are two.
The post office in South Portsmouth, Ky. is currently open eight retail hours a day, the proposed retail hours are four.
Van Allen said, this is a two year process that started in October of 2012. As a part of the process everyone that’s served by the post office in question is sent a survey.
He said the surveys are typically sent out a month before a public meeting is scheduled to discuss the proposed changes with the community.
He said the survey asks for input on what they would like to see such as, “would they like to see their post office have the hours adjusted to actual customer usage or would they like to see their post office close and have street delivery. The survey provides about four options,” Van Allen said. “Unless a community overwhelmingly chooses one of the other options the default option is to adjust the hours on the post office, to match customer usage.”
He said once the surveys are completed the results are tabulated and shared at a community meeting.
“At these community meetings we explain, what the response of the surveys were and what the proposed decision is. We also get any further input from the community and what they would like to see,” Van Allen said. “We will help anyone that still has questions. A week after the meeting a final decision will be posted in that post office.”
He said when fully implemented. this approach is expected to save USPS $500 million every year.
“This is a win-win situation. In 2011 we were looking at closing some post offices, some of our lowest performers, the least used post offices, about 3,700 across the country. As we held community meetings, the communities let us know they really wanted to keep their post offices open,” Van Allen said. “We went back and reevaluated the plan and instead of closing 3,700 of them, we thought we would take a look at the 17,000 post offices across the country, which are small post offices. Of those 17,000 it was determined that 13,000 would benefit from realigning there hours to match customer hours.”
He said this would provide some savings for the USPS and preserve post offices in the communities.
Van Allen said the retail employees at each location would not be losing their job as a result of changes. “The employees that are there are not full-time employees, they will not be losing their pay checks, they might be transferred to another office. It all depends on the particular situation of those particular employees.”
He said the delivery portion of USPS will be unaffected by the changes.
“As far as people who have post office boxes, they will still have the same or better access to their post office box,” Van Allen said.
According to released information a public meeting was held for the Scioto Furnace post office was held Oct. 18. A public meeting was held for the Friendship post office on Dec. 4 at the Nile Township Community Center. A public meeting was held for the McDermott, post office was held on Jan. 10. A public meeting was held in Stout on Jan. 8.
A public meeting is schedule for the Franklin Furnace Post Office on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Franklin Furnace Senior Center, 144 Gervais Road. A public meeting has been scheduled for the Otway post office on March 7 at 7 p.m. at the Otway Community Church located at 6773 State Route 73.
According to Van Allen a meeting for the Rarden post office has not been scheduled yet.
He said among the one that have already had their meetings. Three have already implemented the new retail hours and McDermott is scheduled to implement new retail hours on Feb. 23.
For more information visit the United State Postal Service website at usps.com
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org