From the Print

P.O. changes, service same

Changes have begun at the Yellow Springs Post Office as part of a nationwide effort by the U.S. Postal Service to cut costs by closing some post offices and consolidating functions among others. Earlier this year the local office reduced its hours and next month the carriers who deliver mail in Yellow Springs will move to the Xenia Post Office. Also likely is the transfer of one of the two retail window clerks to a job at a different location.

But local postmaster Dave Kennedy said customers will not be affected as mail will still be delivered to residences and businesses on time and the office will still be open for PO boxes, mailing outgoing packages, picking up incoming packages, buying stamps and more. Current hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

“So far I haven’t seen anything that’s changed [for the customer],” Kennedy said. “Everything will still have the same time of delivery.”

At present, six carriers fan out daily across the village in trucks and on foot to deliver mail. These same carriers will serve Yellow Springs once they are moved to the Xenia office. But instead of collecting incoming mail from the Yellow Springs office, the carriers will now drive their route’s mail from Xenia daily. This is because the large mail delivery trucks will no longer drop off incoming mail and packages several times per day to the Yellow Springs office.

With less use of these large mail trucks, Kennedy said, fuel will be saved and the local operation will be more efficient in delivering the same amount of mail.

“We’re trying to do everything we can do to be efficient,” said district spokesperson David Walton of the local changes. “It’s expensive to take the trucks to drive to each location.”

Without the carrier operation, the workload of the two retail clerks, Renee Martin and Molly Panstingel, will be reduced since part of their job had been helping to sort and prepare mail, Kennedy said. One clerk will likely transfer to a location of her choosing, but might face a cut in hours. Both have already applied for transfer, Kennedy said.

“They have the advantage that there are positions opening up all the time,” Kennedy said. Though postal employees cannot be fired, they may face a reduction in their hours if they are a part-time or non-career employee, according to a representative from the American Postal Workers Union.

The U.S. Postal Service, which relies solely on the sale of postage, products and services to finance its operation, lost $8.5 billion last year among its 32,000 retail offices, Walton said. In the last five years, first-class mail has declined nationally by 43 billion pieces, likely due to increased Internet use. Now the post office’s main business is packages, for which it competes with other retailers, he said.

In the wake of declining revenues, last week the U.S. Postal Service identified 3,700 retail offices around the country, mostly in rural areas, that it will study for potential closure. Yellow Springs was not one of the 120 Ohio offices to make the list.

Walton said that the U.S. Postal Service will evaluate a local office’s revenue and expenditures, workload, foot traffic, proximity to another post office, alternate means of access and other factors before deciding to close the office.

Kennedy said he hopes that a more streamlined local operation will improve the office’s finances and make it less vulnerable to closure. Still, many of his employees and customers remain concerned about the changes.

“You hopefully won’t see a big impact on the customer side,” Kennedy said. “Everyone is just anxious to see how it all transpires.”

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