January 21, 2013

New Russia post office to remain open

Citizens cram facility to hear its fate

NEW RUSSIA — The post office here will remain open, but with its hours greatly reduced.

Like the proverbial sardines, residents crammed the tiny post office here for an informational meeting that ended with that good news.

Virtually every square foot was occupied in the 4-by-8-foot “lobby” and equally diminutive work space, as about 20 patrons listened to a 20-minute presentation by Jeff Sands, Post Office Operations manager for Northern New York.

Several others decided the facility was too crowded and a health risk due to the current flu season and did not participate. 

Elizabethtown Town Supervisor Margaret Bartley had offered the Town Hall, but postal officials decided against changing the venue.


Standing in the narrow doorway separating the two small spaces, Sands explained that the U.S. Postal System has experienced a decline in revenues due to many factors, including bill-paying online, direct deposits by governments and businesses, and purchasing through online catalogs. 

“We are also the only federal agency that has pre-funded retirement for its workers,” Sands said. 

A year ago, the Postal Service was looking at closing 13,000 postal facilities, but now many are being re-configured, Sands said. 

“So we sent out surveys to see what works for you,” he told those assembled in the tiny post office.

“Only the window hours will be affected.”


Response to the surveys mailed to post-office patrons was impressive, with 27 out of 45, or 60 percent, returned. 

A printout of the results that, among the responses, 25 (93 percent) chose the option of “Realignment of Hours,” while two respondents, (seven percent) opted for the “Delivery Option.” 

That paperwork indicated the Postal Service took into account patrons’ survey responses and also its own operational needs.” 

The retail hours for New Russia will likely be 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 to 11:45 a.m. Saturdays.

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