On May 9, the United States Postal Service announced a new strategy designed to keep small post offices open by reducing retail hours. The proposed plan impacts five southern Barry County post offices.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, the business hours at the Exeter, Golden, Eagle Rock and Seligman post offices would be reduced from eight to six hours each day. The proposed plan also reduces the retail hours at the Washburn Post Office from eight to four hours per day.
Although the plan calls for modified retail window hours, customer access to the retail lobby and post office boxes will remain unchanged. Each town's zip code will also remain the same.
"Meeting the needs of postal customers is, and will always be, a top priority," said Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and chief executive officer. "We continue to balance that by better aligning service options with customer demand and reducing the cost to serve.
"With that said, we've listened to our customers in rural America, and we've heard them loud and clear -- they want to keep their post office open," said Donahoe. "We believe (this) announcement will serve our customers' needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the postal service return to long-term financial stability."
The new strategy is designed to be implemented over a two-year, multi-phased approach. It will not be completed until September of 2014. The postal service estimates a savings of one half billion dollars annually after the strategy is fully implemented.
"The postal service is committed to serving America's communities and providing a responsible and fair approach for our employees and customers," said Megan Brennan, postal service chief operating officer. "The post offices in rural America will remain open unless a community has a strong preference for one of the other options. We will not close any of these rural post offices without having provided a viable solution."
The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will have the opportunity to review the plan before any changes are made.