Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 24, 2014
Meeting August 19
U.S. post office seeks input for Stonington hours
Residents are called to a public meeting August 19, 2014 to discuss future Post Office hours in Stonington, Maine.
by Faith DeAmbrose
If you live in Stonington and have checked the mail recently, you’ve likely discovered mail from the U.S. Postal Service.
The mail in question consists of a survey, cover letter and (ironically, enough) a postage-paid envelope for return. What the USPS is specifically looking for, says Melissa Lohnes of USPS Corporate Communication, is some direction on how best to structure the retail window service hours at the location. “This is an unusual situation. Typically offices selected for POSTPlan see a reduction in retail service window hours.” This, she said is not the case for the Stonington Post Office. “The survey gives customers an opportunity to share with us what six hours during the week would be most convenient for them to leverage the services” available at the post office.
The survey offers four options for future operations:
“1. Keep the office open, but with realigned window service hours based on actual office workload.
“2. Conduct a discontinuance study for the office and provide roadside mailbox delivery. Retail and delivery service would be provided through a rural carrier….
“3. Conduct a discontinuance study for the office and find a suitable alternative location operated by a contractor, usually a local business….
“4. Conduct a discontinuance study for the office and relocate P.O. Box service to a nearby post office.”
Discontinuance will only be discussed if more than 60 percent of respondents indicate a “strong preference” for that option; Saturday window service hours and access to delivery receptacles will not change, according to material included with the survey package.
Residents should complete the survey by August 5, paying special attention to the portion of the survey (III) where asked to indicate preferred hours of operation.
Completed surveys will be tallied and shared with the community at a meeting schedule for Tuesday, August 19, at 4 p.m. at the West Main Street post office location.
What about Deer Isle?
In Sunset, post office hours were reduced under the POSTPlan on January 11 to four retail window hours, “having followed the same post plan process” as Stonington, said USPS spokesperson Maureen Marion. Eighty surveys were received and 33 favored the option of reducing hours rather than discontiuance.
The Little Deer Isle Post Office “will transition to four hours of weekday service effective July 26, also as a result of this process,” said Marion.
In LDI, 144 surveys were mailed and 46 returned favoring the change of hours.
According to Marion, “nearly 13,000 offices around the country are wrapping up this assessment of local operating hours” that reflect actual workload.