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Local post offices target of cutbacks
pat donahoe w sm
After nearly a year of bitter opposition to a plan to close more than 3,700 rural post offices, the United States Postal Service announced last week that rather than close offices to cut costs and reduce a ballooning deficit, it plans to reduce the hours of operation at 13,000 rural post offices from a full eight-hour day to between two and six open hours per day, a move that the struggling mail service claims will save about $500 million per year.Three local post offices, Dowelltown, Liberty and Alexandria, are scheduled to have hours of operation reduced.Both locations will decrease business hours from eight-hours-per-day to six under the plan.The new plan replaces a controversial proposal intended to fix the grave financial situation the postal service, which lost $3.2 billion last quarter, finds itself in.Without any reforms, postal officials say USPS would lose $14 billion this year alone.Last week's plan will, instead, reduce hours at some 9,000 of the nation's 13,000 rural post offices to between two and four hours a day.Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says that the plan should benefit everyone involved.“This is a win-win,” Donahoe said at a news conference Wednesday. “The bottom line is that any rural community that wants to retain their post office will be doing that.“If we can shrink the labor cost we can keep the building open, that’s not hard to do, and ensure that customers have access. “We think this is the responsible thing to do,” Donahoe said.