Pierceville post office patrons ask questions about possible closure

Kari Moore
Staff Writer

It was heard multiple times in a meeting held Thursday, August 24 at the Pierceville United Methodist Church that the Pierceville Post Office was “being reviewed” for a possible closure. Bob Redden, District Discontinuance Coordinator, answered patrons questions and explained what is going on.

The Pierceville branch is one of 3,700 post offices being reviewed. There is a set list of criteria that makes a post office eligible for review. In this case, Redden identified three criteria for review: office work load, insufficient customer demand and reasonable alternate service. The post office in Milan would be the closest post office if the Pierceville branch were to close.

With recent electronic innovations the need for the post office has declined. Since 2006, the number of pieces mailed through the United States Postal Service (USPS) has decreased by 43.1 billion pieces. “The postal service has tried to keep up with the electronic age,” said Redden.

Redden explained some of the electronic innovations USPS has utilized to adapt to this new age. Recently, USPS created an “app” that can be downloaded for free on any iPad, iPod, or Droid operating system. USPS also has a website that allows one to do almost everything that can be done at the post office. Stamps and other packaging needs can be ordered through the mail or purchased at Kroger, Wal-Mart and Office Depot.

The $15 billion budget for the USPS is another reason for the review of post offices. Redden noted that by the end of September, USPS will meet their budget for the year. According to Redden, one thing that could help the budget issue and slow the reviews for possible closures is the five-day mail delivery service that the USPS has proposed to congress. It is estimated that by eliminating Saturday mail delivery, USPS could save $3.2 billion. However, “congress is currently at recess on this issue,” noted Redden.

One patron questioned what would happen to those customers with a P.O. Box at the Pierceville Post Office. Redden explained that one option would be putting up a mailbox and those residents would acquire their physical address that is required by Homeland Security. Another option is for the residents of Pierceville is to agree to install a cluster box unit, similar to those found in apartment complexes. The units would be located in a central area and locked up.

Many patrons were worried about what would happen to the employees if the post office were forced to close. According to Redden, so far most of the employees have either retired or have been filtered into other post offices through demotions or taking a decrease in pay. He stated that no one has been laid off through the post office closures.

Redden emphasized there has been no decision made on this review.

Questionnaires were available at the meeting for patrons to fill out and are also available at the post office. Information from the questionnaires will be considered in the review process.

Redden said the review process should take approximately five months, and any decision made should be known around the first of next year. Redden assured no matter what the decision, Pierceville citizens will be well aware of what is going on with their post office. Congressional representatives recently had a similar meeting in Cincinnati and can answer any questions patrons may have.

Residents of Pierceville gathered at the Pierceville United Methodist Church last Thursday to hear from Bob Redden, District Discontinuance Coordinator for the postal service as he listened to questions about the possible closure of the Pierceville Post Office.