Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 10, 2012

Burlington Post Office staying open with new hours

BURLINGTON, W.Va. —  Residents learned that the Burlington Post Office will have a POST Plan, which will realign the weekday window service hours instead of closing the post office, during a meeting at the Burlington Children’s Home gymnasium Thursday.

“The POST Plan will establish two-, four- and six-hour post offices,” said Patty Jessee, manager of post office operations for the Burlington area. “These offices will be remotely managed by an administrative post office and is designed to give communities the opportunity to preserve their post offices with refined hours. The Postal Service needs to balance both customer and operational needs. Instead of closing certain offices, our new strategy is to reduce the hours of operation and stagger the window service times between nearby towns.”

The Burlington Post Office will become a six-hour office and proposed hours will likely be Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. with a two-hour lunch break. After reviewing comments and concerns from the meeting, a decision on the proposed hours will be made in seven days and posted, according to Jessee.

“That notice will also include information on how the Postal Service will maintain access to delivery receptacles and post office boxes,” said Jessee.

Total Saturday window service hours, which are from 8 a.m. to noon, will not be reduced, and access to delivery receptacles will not change as a result of the POST Plan. The post office lobby will remain open 24 hours a day.  

“The reduction in hours is due to the decline in mail volume and workload for the existing staff,” said Jessee.

A survey of Burlington residents indicated that 91 percent of those surveyed favored a realignment of hours.

“The Postal Service, like many businesses today, is facing serious financial challenges,” said Jessee. “The Postal Service is not tax-supported and the money needed to collect, transport and deliver the mail comes only from the sale of stamps and other products. Customers are doing more business online. More than 40 billion transactions have left the Postal Service and they are not coming back. For the Postal Service that means less revenue to run our operations.”

The Postal Service has been proactive in its efforts to cut cost by eliminating positions at the headquarters and other administrative areas; by consolidating mail process facilties all over the country; and by freezing all executive salaries, according to Jessee.

“These moves have cut down on personnel, maintenance and transportation costs. This still has not been enough,” said Jessee.

One of the alternatives available to residents is the ability for more online postal transactions. At USPS.com, customers can buy stamps, mail packages, put mail on hold, change their address or make a request to have a carrier pick up packages, according to Jessee.

During the meeting, one resident questioned whether there would be a postmaster. The position would be part time and an official title for the position hasn’t been decided yet, explained Jessee.

Jessee encouraged the 60 residents at the meeting to write their congressmen with any concerns they have about the post office.

“Your congressmen work for you. That’s their job,” said Jessee.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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