A plan that could reduce the number of hours the retail counter is open in some area post offices, including Pettisville and Ridgeville Corners, is being considered.
Under the plan, the Pettisville post office could go from being open eight hours a day to six hours. The Ridgeville Corners post office could go from being open eight hours to four hours per day.
Marilyn Stoner, postmaster at Ridgeville Corners, said she could not comment on the proposal. This newspaper was unable to contact Jan Ferguson, postmaster at Pettisville.
United States Postal Service officials said in a press release if the reductions in service hours go through, patrons will still have access to their post office boxes and the retail lobby.
The only thing that will change are the hours of customer service provided by an individual postal service worker at the counter window.
Towns will keep their zip codes under the new proposal.
David Van Allen, who works in USPS corporate communication in the Cleveland office, said the proposal to reduce hours of service must first go to the Postal Regulatory Commission, a group made up of primarily business people.
The Commission has a 90- day window of opportunity to review the proposal and then make a recommendation to Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and chief executive officer of the postal service.
The Commission’s recommendation is non-binding.
The proposal will be presented to the regulatory commission by the end of the month, Van Allen said.
If accepted by Donahoe, the reduction in service hours will be implemented over two years, with completion set in September 2014.
Once completed, the program should save USPS about $500 million annually.
USPS officials said the reductions in hours of service complements other alternatives, such as providing mail delivery to those in affected areas by either rural carrier or highway contract carrier, partnering with local businesses to create village post offices, and offering service from a nearby post office.
$25 Million A Day
The program to reduce office hours for small rural post offices is part of an overall plan to reduce the cost of operation for U.S. postal service.
Van Allen said, currently, USPS is losing $25 million a day due to a nationwide decline in mail volume and foot traffic in post offices.
The postal service must find ways to reduce the cost of operations by $20 billion a year to return to profitability, he said.
Other parts of the costcutting proposal include reducing the number of days mail is delivered from the current six to five, consolidating mail processing centers, and more flexibility in employee health care plans.
“It’s not any one thing,” he said.–David Pugh