By this fall, about 13,000 post offices nationwide, including 49 in Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, will have had their hours reduced to either two, four or six hours daily, but they will remain open.
“There’s a lot of meetings coming up,” said Maureen P. Marion, public affairs specialist for the Postal Service’s Albany district. “Some of them have already transitioned.”
In some cases — 600 across the country — some postal services such as stamp or other mailing supply purchases will be available in other locations, such as gas stations or stores, in addition to traditional post offices.
“We want to be sure every option is out there,” Ms. Marion said.
All mail will be handled by postal employees.
The reduction in hours as opposed to the wholesale closure of many post offices, particularly in rural locations where the use is not as heavy as in cities, is a less aggressive way of cutting Postal Service costs.
“Instead of a hatchet, it’s more like a scalpel,” Ms. Marion said. “I think it has been a reasonable approach to a challenge we face.”
Unlike the previous hearings on closures, there will be no appeal of the reduced hours. “That is not something that’s debatable,” Ms. Marion said. “The decision has been made by time studies. The foot traffic is the foot traffic.”
Although anyone may attend the informational meetings, surveys are for box holders to determine their preferences for how they receive their mail.
Post offices that already have gone through the hearing process and have had their daily hours reduced to six are Hannawa Falls, Henderson, Brasher Falls, Redwood, Lisbon, Rooseveltown, Fineview, Colton, Morristown and Hermon.
Those already operating at four hours per day are South Colton, Russell, Natural Bridge, West Stockholm, Hailesboro, Richville, Belleville, Ellisburg, Castorland, Lorraine, Raymondville, Rensselaer Falls, Antwerp, Chase Mills, Mannsville, Parishville, DeKalb Junction, Rodman, Three Mile Bay and Brier Hill.
Those already cut to two hours per day are DePeyster, Fishers Landing and Chippewa Bay. Those scheduled to have their hours cut to six hours daily later this year are Edwards, Star Lake, LaFargeville, Theresa, Winthrop, Madrid and Hammond.
Post offices that will have their hours reduced to four hours daily are Fine, Depauville, Pierrepont Manor, Henderson Harbor and Felts Mills.
Those that will be cut to two hours daily are Newton Falls, Wanakena, Helena and Pyrites.
Meetings have been set for July 10 in Edwards, Newton Falls and Star Lake; July 11 in Fine and Wanakena, and July 23 in LaFargeville and Theresa. Meetings for the other offices where reduced hours have not already gone into effect have not been scheduled but should take place before fall.
Postmasters who work in six-hour offices retain benefits, scaled to those hours. Post offices that are open two or four hours are staffed by employees who accrue vacation leave only.