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Little change for Wyanet Post Office

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:13 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:19 p.m. CST

WYANET — The Wyanet Post Office will see minimal changes as far as its open window hours.

About 10 residents attended Tuesday’s noon meeting at the Wyanet Post Office to hear the results of a recent survey sent to Wyanet Postal customers by the U.S. Postal Service.

Postal Service representative Gary Patten said 603 customer surveys were mailed to Wyanet customers with 218 of those customers returning their surveys. Of that amount, 89 percent of the customers favored a realignment of post office hours, rather than closing the post office and opting for delivery service, going to a nearby post office, or having a local business handle postal services.

After reviewing the returned surveys and taking into account Postal Service operational needs, Patten said the decision has been made to reduce the Wyanet’s window service hours by 30 minutes a day, Monday through Friday. Instead of having window service at the current six and one-half hours each weekday, window service hours will be reduced to six hours a day. The number of Saturday window hours will remain unchanged at two hours.

The change will be a minimal impact for Wyanet customers, which is the good news, Patten said.

However, the bad side of the reduction is that local postmasters will have to do some things differently. In the Wyanet office, local postmaster Gina Ohda could stay at the Wyanet Post Office, but her salary would be cut because her hours would be cut. Affected postmasters, including Ohda, could stay in their current jobs at a reduced salary or find another job with the postal service or another company. The decision is the local postmaster’s decision, Patten said.

For the Wyanet community, the next step is to decide what is best for the open hours for the post office. On the survey, one scenario would be to have open hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but that time frame is not locked into place.

One consideration in determining the new hours is the rural carrier position, Patten said. If a rural carrier stays in Wyanet, then the post office would probably have early morning hours to support the rural carrier. A possible lunch hour, which could last up to two hours, is also a consideration, he said.

The final determination of open hours may not be made until the Wyanet postmaster decides and says what she is going to do, or until January 2015, whichever happens first. Whichever way it goes, the determined adjusted hours would be posted approximately 30 days before going into effect.

When asked by a resident about the reason for the changes, Patten said it’s a cost-savings effort by the company, the U.S. Postal Service. A couple years ago, the company looked at closing rural post offices, but it received a lot of negative response. Since that time, the company has come up with several cost-savings proposals, including the POST Plan which reduces the number of retail hours that post offices are open at the window.

The POST Plan has targeted 13,000 post offices in small towns nationwide, looking at the number of transactions in each office and determining how much time is actually needed to conduct that business. With a reduction of open window hours would come a reduction in employee hours. The U.S. Postal Services expects to realize about $500 million in savings through the nationwide plan.

Other Bureau County communities having similar meetings are Buda, Bureau, Cherry, DePue, Seatonville and Sheffield.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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