Post Offices To Consolidate
In a move to consolidate postal services nationwide, the United States Postal Service has announced that the Sistersville and Paden City Post Offices will soon be locations to pick up mail only. The New Martinsville Post Office will be responsible for mail processing formerly done at the two locations affected.
The consolidation is part of a program underway which will cut mail processing and distribution networks. The change is due to take place sometime this month, according to reports.
Three carriers from Paden City and one clerk will transfer to New Martinsville. Two carriers and a clerk from the Sistersville location will also be transferred. Despite assurance by the USPS that no jobs will be lost, the possibility of diminished hours was not ruled out. All postal service vehicles in both the Paden City and Sistersville locations will also transfer to the New Martinsville location.
Sisterville and Paden City will have one clerk operating at each facility, and all bulk mail will be delivered directly to the New Martinsville location.
The Postal Service, which has been seeking to overhaul its mail processing network since 2002, has refused to provide specifics of its plans or the criteria it relies on when selecting facilities for consolidation. No outside consultants were used to review the moves.
Concerns about the change in service prompted some local residents to contact state legislators and others in an effort to ensure that mail services in the area are not negatively affected by the consolidation.
In a letter to Congressman David McKinley, Paden City Mayor William B. Fox called the consolidation “short-sighted” and asserted it “does not make economical sense.”
Mayor Fox went on to inform McKinley the move will reduce services to the residents of Paden City. Fox also expressed apprehension about the burden this could place on elderly citizens.
The American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO also concluded that problems may well arise stemming from consolidation. The key issues, according to the union’s website are:
–Incoming and outgoing mail could be delayed by several days.
–Checks will arrive late, bills will not get paid on time, medication delivered to mail will take longer to arrive. Local mail, which small businesses, newspapers, churches and other community organizations rely on, would suffer the longest delays.
–Mail would have to be collected earlier and would arrive later in the day.
Although the USPS says the closures are part of a nationwide effort to reduce costs, the Postmaster General has acknowledged the savings from the moves will be “modest, at best.”
According to USPS spokesperson Cathy Yaroski, the transition will take place on or around April 9. She voiced assurances that residents will not notice any changes in their mail service. “The hours will remain the same,”she explained.
“This is part of our normal operations,” she continued in a phone interview. “Our goal is to operate as efficiently as possible.”
Yaroski also maintained that no hours will be lost by workers and that the clerks in the Sistersville and Paden City Post Offices will not be part of the consolidation. “The consolidation affects carriers only,” she stated.