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Post offices may face closure

September 2, 2011

St. Johns and New Hampshire post offices are among those under review for possible closure.

Two Auglaize County post offices are among many under review for possible closure by the United States Postal Service (USPC).
The two Auglaize County post offices among those in review are outlets in St. Johns and New Hampshire. Overall, 42 post offices with a 45- prefix are under review including others in nearby McGuffey, in Hardin County, and Pemberton, in Shelby County.
Victor Dubina, a USPS corporate communications representative stationed in Cleveland, said the review are necessary for the postal service to be efficient.
“The review of some of our brick-and-mortar post offices, stations, and branches is necessary in order for the U.S. Post Office to match today’s activity and usage, as well as mail volume, workload and customer access to postal retail outlets,” Dubina said. “More than 3,000 post offices take in less than $15,000 annual revenue and more than 9,000 take in less than $40,000 annually, far less than needed to cover expenses.”
Victoria Hemmert, the officer-in-charge at the St. Johns Post Office, said she has not heard anything else since being notified a few weeks ago that they were among the post offices that would be reviewed.
“We were called and asked some review questions,” Hemmert said. “We were told it was a possibility that we may be closed down.”
Hemmert said they were not given a time table when it would happen.
Hemmert said feedback has been negative from the community about a possible closure.
“Everybody has heard it and they are not happy,” Hemmert said. “The don’t want to see it leave. They like the security. A lot of them get their medicine in the mail and this way it is not stuck in a mail box.”
Hill and Hemmert both said they would be disappointed to lose their jobs.
“I don’t want to see it happen,” Hemmert said. I don’t want to lose my job. I don’t like to think about it.”
Jody Hill, operator of the post office in New Hampshire, said she has heard little.
“Patrons ask a lot of questions about it,” Hill said, “but they have not told me very much.”
Dubina said that offices selected to be closed would be notified well in advance prior to their closings and would be allowed plenty of time to notify their customers.
Proximity within 10 miles of other post offices, stations or branches as well as expanded access locations will be key to any decision, Dubina said.
Besides revenue and expense considerations, the number and type of transactions, any lease considerations, behind the scenes adjustments of costs, and the impact on employees also will be considered.
Dubina said that it could become a supplementary option for local businesses in small communities. The new retail option could be operated by a community business, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other local retailers, or town halls and government centers.
Dubina said that the need for the reviews is a sign of the times.
The USPS currently operates more offices than there are Wal-Marts, McDonald’s and Starbucks combined,” Dubina said. “Last year we operated at an $8.5 billion loss. A loss of about $8 billion is projected this year.
“We handled 213 billion pieces of mail in 2006 and by 2010 that fell to 170.6 billion. We anticipate that to fall to 167 billion pieces this year,” he said. “Projections point to 150 billion pieces in 2020. This has necessitated a review of our retail operations. Should the review indicate a possible discontinuance of a post office, a community meeting will be held to explain the proposed change.”

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