Postal service plan cuts hours rather than offices

Many small-town post offices in East Central Illinois — and across the country — would have shorter window hours, under a plan announced Wednesday by the U.S. Postal Service.

Most of those offices are open eight hours a day, but under the new strategy, some would be open only two, four or six hours a day.

The Postal Service had earlier proposed closing some of its smallest post offices. But after Congress intervened, the Postal Service put a moratorium on closings through May 15 — and offered the reduced-hours plan, affecting many more post offices, as an alternative.

Last July, the Postal Service proposed closing about 3,700 post offices. The new strategy would reduce hours at about 13,000 post offices, including many not originally on the closure list.

Next week, the Postal Service is expected to announce changes to its plan to close up to 252 mail-processing centers.

The new reduced-hours plan does not affect post offices or postal stations in larger cities, said Postal Service spokeswoman Valerie Welsch.

As a result, places such as Champaign-Urbana, Danville and Rantoul are not affected by the plan.

Under the plan, retail window hours would be modified but access to the retail lobby and to post office boxes would remain unchanged.

The strategy would be phased in over two years and not be completed until September 2014. The Postal Service figures it could save a half-billion dollars a year.

The plan is expected to be reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission, and community meetings would be held to review options.

In lieu of reduced hours, a community could express preferences for other alternatives, including:

— Mail delivery service by rural carrier or highway contract route.

— Contracting with a business to create a "village post office" selling select postal products and services and sometimes offering post office boxes.

— Getting service from another nearby post office.

Survey research done for the post office indicates the public prefers reduced hours to the other alternatives.

Here's how area communities would be affected by the reduced-hours plan:

Reduction from 8 to 6 hours

Ashmore, Bement, Buckley, Chrisman, Crescent City, Gifford, Homer, Kansas, Lovington, Mansfield, Newman, Ogden, Onarga, Piper City, Potomac, Rankin, Ridge Farm, Sidney, Thomasboro.

Reduction from 8 to 4 hours

Allerton, Alvin, Arrowsmith, Bellflower, Bismarck, Broadlands, Brocton, Camargo, Cisco, Danforth, DeLand, Dewey, Ellsworth, Fairmount, Fithian, Hammond, Hindsboro, Humboldt, Hume, Indianola, Iroquois, Ivesdale, Loda, Ludlow, Melvin, Penfield, Pesotum, Roberts, Royal, Sadorus, Saybrook, Seymour, Sibley, Sidell, Thawville, Weldon, Wellington, White Heath.

Reduction from 8 to 2 hours

Armstrong, Bondville, DeWitt, Elliott, Foosland, Henning, LaPlace, Longview, Metcalf, Muncie, Redmon, Vermilion.

Reduction from 6 to 2 hours

Collison, East Lynn.

Reduction from 4 to 2 hours

Goodwine, Murdock, Stockland.

Comments

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Mark Taylor wrote on May 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

KEEP YOUR GOVERMINT HANDS OFF MY POST OFFICE YOU DANG CHICAGO SOCIALISTICAL THUGS!!

cbrads334 wrote on May 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm
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It's the Republicans that are trying to close down the Post Office.  If you're not aware, Darryl Issa (R-CA) is the head thug in charge.  They want to privatize the Postal Service, most likely so they can jump in and make some sort of profit from it.

The Postal Service is NOT taxpayer-supported.  It is an independent agency of the government, in charge of funding itself.  It also must provide FREE mailings for government agencies, such as all those flyers and junk mail you receive from people like Tim Johnson (R-IL, new district 13).

One of the reasons the P.O. is going broke is that Congress makes USPS fund their retirement system way in advance, something no other government agency or division is required to do.  They wouldn't have the kind of deficit they do if it were not for this requirement.  I can't recall offhand the exact amount, but it's in the billions.  I suspect that like the state of Illinois, the 'up front' retirement funds are being used by Congress for other purposes.

The P.O. must change with the times, it's true.  However, demonizing the service is uncalled for, and certainly not privatization.  Many rural areas would lose service altogether.  USPS must provide service to areas that are 'way out in the boondocks', such as the far west and Alaska--  places no private service would want to go utilize, due to the fact that it would lose money to service those types of areas.

You can check anything I've mentioned by doing a Google search on the internet.  Yes, I'm a retired Postal worker, so I do know what I'm talking about.