Rural post offices could be at risk

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dear Editor:

There is a serious situation with post offices in rural communities being closed in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

A report from 1980 to 2005 indicates that a total of 380 post offices, including those where services had been temporarily suspended in these states, were officially closed. Iowa lost 22, Kansas lost 68, Minnesota lost 84, Missouri lost 59, Nebraska lost 46, North Dakota lost 35, South Dakota lost 38, and Wisconsin lost 28.

Until the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS) began funding a committee of retired postmasters focussed on working with the communities to keep their post office, over 16,000 nationwide were closed. Once the community loses the post office, they lose their identity.

One reason so many post offices are closed is the community doesn't know what to do when faced with that situation. Postal Service rules and regulations prohibit any active postal employee from being involved in a post office closing, suspension or consolidation. That regulation includes the local Postmaster or any other active Postmaster. Please respect that and don't put an active employee in jeopardy of violating any regulations.

A retired Postmaster or other retired employee can help a community. We offer guidance with information on what can be done. One key strategy for any community is to be prepared with an action plan on file before it is needed.


J. Michael Honold, Retired Postmaster-NAPUS

DeSoto, Missouri and

Keva Richardson, Retired Postmaster-NAPUS

Thurman, Iowa