Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Exeter-Milligan Post Office to See Reduction in Hours

Exeter residents were informed at a town hall meeting Monday evening that their post office will have a reduction in hours starting approximately April 20th.

Todd Case, the Post Office Regional Manager along with Seward Postmaster Greg Walz, presented the findings of a recent postal survey in Exeter and announced upcoming changes to the hours the Exeter Post office is open.

Case spent the majority of the evening reviewing the financial flaws in the current postal system.  He detailed the major financial loses including the rising gasoline costs, the outdated business model of the postal system and the future retirement payment issues.

Last year, Case held 34 town halls in Southeast Nebraska where the Postal Service had planned to eliminate the post office.  In each of those communities, through the appeal process, the postal offices were retained.  “Headquarters (in Washington D.C.) evaluated the appeals and the workloads in each office and instead of shutting down completely reduced the work hours.”

Exeter was not one of the communities scheduled to lose their post office at that time.  Case explained that the postal system created an equation to rank the post offices using their revenue amounts and their incoming mail volume.  This way they were able to evaluate how many work hours the work load in a post office required.  “They found that they could save $ 500 million dollars per year by reducing hours.  Taking all the options within the constraints given us (by the government) to save as much as we can and not closing your post office,” explained Case.

Exeter’s proposed hours will be reduced from 8 hours to 6 hours with the new hours Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with a lunch time from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7:45-9:15 a.m.

Of the 383 surveys mailed in Exeter, 180 were returned and 92 % showed that they wanted a realignment of hours versus closing the post office.  However, Case pointed out, “This is a done deal.  I’m going to be blunt and honest with you.  We are going to reduce your hours and that fact is not going to change.”
Case hopes that one of the 87 career officers in this area postal system who will have to find another job, retire or be laid off by September of 2014 will find the six hour job in Exeter appealing.  “I’m not worried about finding someone to cover Exeter.  Lynn has done a great job but I am confident we will find someone to fill this office.”

Case left time for the audience to respond and several were frustrated by the restrictions that Congress has placed on the postal system.  Case responded “You’re preachin’ to the choir.”

Case also reassured rural customers that there would be no change to their delivery service unless they come to the post office to buy stamps and then the new hours would be the only change they would see.

Case also discussed a few options the post office is looking into to grow revenue, “The package delivery business has grown 14% in the last year and we are working in a test market to see if same day delivery is a viable option.”

Another possible avenue for revenue that Case mentioned involved the toll that email has had on the volume of deliverable mail, “We are also looking at an electronic postage concept which creates a secure email.”
It was also noted there is a notification at the post office that the nighttime pick up time in the outside box will change on April 1st to 4:30 p.m.  Unless there are some security issues Case expects the hours at Exeter to change on April 20th but noted that there would be a 30 day notice posted with the actual hours.
Another audience member asked if there would be preference given to an applicant with Exeter ties but Case was more concerned about an applicants business sense.  The administrative office for the Exeter post office is the York postmaster.

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