Lovington averts closure with community input
by Ariana Cherry
Local post offices will soon be undergoing changes, a trend that is not just confined to this area, but happening all across the country.
“Nationwide, larger offices will now take care of smaller offices,” said Ann Stock, the current OIC (officer in charge) at Sullivan Post Office.
But contrary to what some may think, post offices aren’t making changes because of budget cuts. “Instead of closing, post offices are being re-evaluated for customer usage. This way they can still have a presence in rural America,” explained Valerie Welch, the spokesperson for Gateway District of Post Offices.
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According to Shelly Freeman, the postmaster of Bethany Post Office, the changes that occur within a community’s post office are actually based on customer data.
“For the most part, the people in town weighed in,” said Freeman. Surveys are distributed to the people within the community, and they are able to make suggestions about their local post office. A town meeting is then held where the decisions about the post office are made and voted upon according to customer responses. Postal management also takes into consideration the customer responses in regards to the restructuring of each office.
“Since Bethany had administrative oversight of the Findlay and Dalton City offices, it will not be closing and will remain an eight hour office,” informed Freeman. “Although the post offices of Findlay and Dalton City will be changing [their] hours,” she added.
Findlay’s post office changed its hours more than six months ago. While it had been an eight hour office, it is now a six hour operating office. Through the week, its morning hours are 8:15-11:30 a.m. The office then closes for lunch and reopens from 1:30-4:15 p.m.
More recently, Dalton City held a town meeting which finalized its change of hours. Beginning May 17, it will be open only four hours from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, the office will be open 8-11 a.m.
Adam Copsy, the OIC of Windsor Post Office also noted upcoming changes happening at its post office beginning May 17.
“We will be changing from an eight hour office to a six hour one,” he stated. As such, Windsor’s new hours will be Monday through Saturday 7:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Decisions from a survey completed in Lovington actually kept its office from closing their doors. Instead, it will be open for six hours rather than eight. “A survey was done, and it was the majority of the customers’ decisions,” said Bruce Schneier of the Arthur Post Office. Not only will its hours change, but the Arthur Post Office will have the administrative oversight of Lovington’s post office beginning May 17. Its hours will be 7:30-11 a.m. and 1:30-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday, it will be open from 7:30-9:30 a.m.
The hours for Sullivan Post Office were left untouched by the recent changes, but it will have administrative oversight of the Windsor Post Office beginning May 17.