Thursday, November 08, 2012

First phase of USPS plan to close or reduce post office hours, most of them rural, begins Nov. 17

The first phase of the U.S. Postal Service's plan to close or reduce hours at about 13,000 post offices, most of them rural, will begin later this month, Steve Hutkins of Save the Post Office reports. The National Association of Postmasters has learned from USPS that 5,742 post offices will be affected in this first phase. USPS officials have scheduled a community meeting for almost all of those offices. As of yesterday, more than 3,000 of those meetings have taken place, and some decisions have been locally announced. (Photo: Paoli, Colo. post office)

Reduced hours at almost 500 post offices will start Nov. 17. Between Jan. 12, 2013 and February 9, about 1,100 more post offices will see reduced hours. The remainder of the first-phase offices will reduce hours from February and April, Hutkins reports. About 1,500 offices that didn't have a postmaster when the USPS announced its POstPlan in May are included in the first phase of implementation.

About 700 offices without a postmaster have yet to be scheduled for review by the USPS, and are thought to be prime targets. About 4,000 of the first-phase offices had a postmaster before the plan was announced, and about half of them likely accepted a retirement incentive, and the other half probably took a job elsewhere in the service, Hutkins writes. He says those numbers are only be estimates because the USPS hasn't released the number of postmasters who accepted the retirement incentive.

The USPS decided to reduce hours at nearly 2,500 post offices, leaving about 3,300 left to review. In almost all cases, hours will be reduced, Hutkins writes. But he says at least eight post offices in the first-phase review, all of which serve rural communities, are being considered for closure: Knoxboro, N.Y.; Hayesville, Iowa; Seville, Ga.; Paoli, Colo.; Lees Creek, Ohio; Perks, Ill.; Fowlerton, Ind.; and New Trenton, Ind. (Read more)

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