Area post office hours will change
FINGER LAKES—The U.S. Postal Service has announced changes as of last Wednesday, May 9, that would cut the hours of many rural post office branches.
According to the postal service, these proposed changes will be further studied and comments gathered. The agency said the new strategy would be implemented over a two-year, multi-phased approach and would not be completed until September 2014. However, no additional information is available on when specific branches would be affected.
A number of area rural post offices were included on the list that would have hours cut. The biggest proposed change would be limiting weekday hours of some branches from eight to four. The U.S. Postal Service is considering that for Reading Center, Rock Stream, Tyrone, Wayne, Himrod, Lakemont, Bradford, Cayuta, Dresden and Bellona. These branches currently have staffed, retail hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with the noon hour closed for lunch). Two other area post offices will be reduced to six hours: Hector and Burdett.
Karen Mazurkiewicz, U.S. Postal Service spokesperson, said she didn’t how or when these changes would be made. She did say that in the case of a branch going to six hours, Saturday hours would not increase to six hours. Mazurkiewicz also said that the postal service would probably look to shorten hours at branches over the next two years as post masters retire, quit, or are reassigned first. She explained the change in staff would let them go in and make the changes easier. She added it would not make sense to cut hours at a branch while a postmaster is contracted for the current hours.
According to the postal service, this new option complements existing alternatives, which include:
• Providing mail delivery service to residents and businesses in the affected community by either rural carrier or highway contract route.
• Contracting with a local business to create a Village Post Office.
• Offering service from a nearby Post Office.
A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters was also announced.
The Postal Service announced in July 2011 that nearly 3,700 Post Offices would be studied for possible closure. The consideration of whether to close a Post Office is just one strategy in a series of actions the Postal Service is considering in the wake of continued mail volume decline, ongoing financial challenges and changing customer behavior.
In the months that followed the July 2011 announcement, thousands of community meetings were held and surveys were conducted in each affected location. The feedback generated by those meetings and surveys, and from stakeholders at every level, helped outline the new options being announced now.
Community meetings and surveys will be conducted to review the new options in greater detail. Communities will be notified of the date, time and location of these meetings.