USPS looks to community for input
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is currently engaging in a process of community discussions at select locations throughout the nation in regards to its financial problems.
Originally, the USPS planned to close small town locations which were deemed "unnecessary," but following a large amount of community backlash the postal service introduced a new proposal called "Post Plan"
Post Plan proposes and promotes community discussion at locations in question in order to cater to the public needs. Surveys were sent to residents of municipalities where a post office was under review within its borders. As a result of the surveys and community meetings, a final plan will be finalized based off of the input received.
The majority of the Post Plan offices under review will be seeing reduced hours instead of closing all together.
LeRaysville had a larger turnout than expected at its Post Plan meeting Tuesday night at The Parish House in the borough.
Approximately 20 concerned residents and postal workers were in attendance as the regional Manager of Post Office Operations, Russell Kerlin, gave a presentation on the planned changes.
Kerlin presented survey data that was gathered from LeRaysville residents asking what changes to the post office would best suit the them. Of the 360 surveys sent out in the mail, 124 were returned to the post office headquarters. 120 (97 percent) of residents were in agreement with the post office's plan of reducing the hours of operation from eight to four per day, and remaining open the normally scheduled days of Monday through Saturday. Three (two percent) people suggested other options, and one person (one percent) suggested a village post office, whereas a local business which would offer limited post office services to the community.
Kerlin went on to explain that with the overwhelming support of the community to reduce hours to four per day, the most likely hours would be Monday through Friday 11:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon.
Kerlin then opened the door to community residents to ask questions, give suggestions, or make comments. Some residents were clearly upset with the seemingly imminent reduction of post office hours, but constructive discussion was made by all regarding the hours.
Out of the 20 residents in attendance, almost all were opposed to the hours proposed. After an hour and a half of community discussion, those in attendance agreed that the best possible business hours during the week were 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Kerlin assured the people that the hours suggested would be reviewed and taken into consideration and explained that the final decision would be made in a week.
The Ulster post office had its Post Plan meeting Wednesday night, with Kerlin once again giving a presentation to concerned residents and employees alike.
The meeting was much shorter compared to LeRaysville, with a proposed change of only 15 minutes less a day in the local post office's business hours.
The proposed new hours of operation for the post office are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.. Saturday's hours will not be changed and will stay as 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.. Currently, the post office is open until 4:15 p.m. on weekdays.
The community members in attendance posed no objections to the hour change, and the meeting was over within an hour.
Kerlin explained after his presentation that the majority of money saved by the post office in Ulster's case will be from administrative changes that will not affect residents.
The employee in charge of the post office in Ulster will be working only six and a half hours as opposed to the current eight hours worked, some of which is after regular business hours.
Troy Postmaster Tim Voegtlen was in attendance at both meetings taking notes on the community's discussion, which will be factored into the final decision made.