Northern New York Newspapers
Watertown
Ogdensburg
Massena-Potsdam
Lowville
Carthage
Malone
NNY Business
NNY Living
NNY Ads
Wed., Dec. 24
SUBSCRIBE
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
Related Stories

New plan: Most local post offices will see shorter hours but no closures

PREV
NEXT
ARTICLE OPTIONS
A A
print this article
e-mail this article

The Postal Service’s original proposal, which would have saved $200 million, was met with backlash from members of Congress who represent rural areas. Those legislators applauded the move.

The following St. Lawrence County post offices will see their hours of operation cut from eight hours a day to four, according to information provided by Mr. Schumer’s office: Brier Hill, Chase Mills, Cranberry Lake, DeKalb Junction, Dickinson Center, Hailesboro, North Lawrence, Parishville, Piercefield, Rensselaer Falls, Richville, South Colton and West Stockholm.

The following St. Lawrence County post offices will see their hours of operation cut from eight hours a day to six: Brasher Falls, Colton, Hammond, Hannawa Falls, Lisbon, Madrid, Morristown, Star Lake and Winthrop.

The following north country post offices will see their hours cut from eight hours a day to two: DePeyster, , Newton Falls and Wanakena. The Pyrites post office would have its hours cut from six hours to two hours.

According to a Wednesday Postal Service news release, while retail window hours will be modified, access to retail lobby and post office boxes would remain unchanged, and the towns’ ZIP codes would be retained. The new strategy will be implemented over a two-year, multiphase approach, and will not be completed until September 2014.

“I am glad to see the USPS offer a compromise to keep rural post offices open in the region, and I believe we have the beginning of a plan that will hopefully cut costs and preserve services,” Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said in an email statement.

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a conference call with reporters that he spoke with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe on Tuesday, and was pleased to hear of the compromise.

“It’s going to be very, very good news for our rural post offices,” he said.

The wrangling comes amid dire financial times for the Postal Service, which has a $20 billion budget hole and is considering cutting Saturday service and could lay off hundreds of thousands of workers.

Restructuring the Postal Service’s rural post offices could mean shared postmasters for the state’s smallest communities.

That opportunity could be available if postmasters take an early retirement incentive and their former positions become absorbed by another postmaster at a neighboring post office.

Maureen P. Marion, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Postal Service’s Albany District, said postmasters would be offered a retirement incentive as the postal system moves toward reducing hours at thousands of post offices. There are about 32,000 post offices nationwide, 17,000 of which were studied, and about 13,000 will see changes.

“Some smaller post offices would become administered by, or have oversight by, a hub post office, or an administrative postmaster,” Ms. Marion said Wednesday.

Overall, the reduction of post office hours nationwide, expected staffing changes to part-time employment and expected postmaster retirements would save the postal system $500 million within the initial two-year period, she said.

The Postal Service has consistently lost billions of dollars per year for the past few years, as mail volume has declined. Ms. Marion said the Postal Service will continue to look at ways to control costs.

An original proposal included closure of thousands of small and rural post offices throughout the nation, including about a dozen in the north country. Ms. Marion said the Postal Service didn’t go that route because it listened to what the people wanted — their own post office in their own community.

“It really is looking to be responsible to communities,” she said. “People said, ‘We need our post office.’ The Postal Service continues to shift its size and shape. We believe this package restructures the post offices in a way that’s needed. Community identity and all of that are served with this plan.”

Ms. Marion said the upcoming changes are just some of many that are to come. With the losses the Postal Service faces, she said, “this isn’t the end of what we’re looking at.”

She said she did not yet have a projected loss for 2012.

According to a Wednesday Postal Service news release, while retail window hours will be modified, access to retail lobby and post office boxes would remain unchanged, and the towns’ ZIP codes would be retained. The new strategy will be implemented over a two-year, multiphase approach, and will not be completed until September 2014.



Staff writers Gordon Block and Rebecca Madden contributed to this report.

Commenting rules:
  1. Stick to the topic of the article/letter/editorial.
  2. When responding to issues raised by other commenters, do not engage in personal attacks or name-calling.
  3. Comments that include profanity/obscenities or are libelous in nature will be removed without warning.
Violators' commenting privileges may be revoked indefinitely. By commenting you agree to our full Terms of Use.
Giveaway
Syracuse Football Tickets Giveaway
Connect with Us
DCO on FacebookWDT on Twitter