February 28, 2013

Laughlintown (PA) Post Office to Make Changes: Part 1


Most persons who attended the Laughlintown Post Office meeting on February 19, 2013, knew it was just a formality, just United States Post Office procedure.

The 25 attendees knew what was coming was a done deal.

Still, there were lots of questions from Laughlintown Post Office and Rector Post Office box-holders. (FYI: The Rector Post Office is housed in the Laughlintown Post Office structure.) A presentation of the questions and issues raised at the meeting are found at Laughlintown (PA) Post Office to Make Changes: Part 2 .

Sign on the former Rector Post Office (in Rector, PA) was removed in 2005

Sign on the former Rector Post Office (in Rector, PA) was removed in 2005

In mid-January box-holders from the Laughlintown and Rector Post Offices received a mailing from the Post Office’s Postplan Coordinator, Linda Cafara.

The Postal Service has established a review process for certain Post Offices known as the POST Plan.

The POST plan is a cost-cutting move that includes reducing Post Office window hours to 2, 4, or 6 hours per day, according to (William) Bill Battles, manager of Post Office Operations in Fayette and Westmoreland Counties.

The letter included an explanation of a new Post Office plan notification of the public meeting date/location, and a survey.

Mr. Battles opened the meeting by introducing himself and thanking attendees for coming. He noted that the public meeting was to make sure we—the box-holders and the Post Office—are all on same page. Then he read a prepared statement. However, the acoustics in the meeting place were poor and there wasn’t a microphone. Thus, it was difficult to hear parts of his statement.

Mr. Battles stated that revenue is driving force for Post Office changes. He noted that Internet shopping is replacing activities formerly done by mail. Nearly 40 billion postal transactions are gone from the Postal service—and they are not coming back. The Post Office is losing money and it is still not closing Post Offices.

It has eliminated buildings, etc, to reduce costs. It has moved to cut down maintenance, transportation, and other costs. However, these actions have not reduced costs enough to keep the Post Office in business.

It needs to make necessary changes to ensure and secure services. It needs to do more to cut down the infrastructure. It has to do something to stay in business.

The Post plan is an attempt to preserve the Post Office while meeting customer and operational needs.

DSC02558E What does this mean for the Laughlintown (and Rector) Post Offices?

There were 230 responses to the 370 surveys mailed out. Box-holders were asked to select the alternative below which you most prefer (choose only one):

1. (80%—185 responses) Keep the office open, but with realigned weekday window service hours, based on actual office workload. In the case of the Laughlintown Post Office, hours would be changed from 8 hours each weekday to f hours each weekday. Current Saturday window service hours will not change as a result of POST Plan and access to your delivery receptacles will not be impacted by POST Plan.
2. (10%—24 responses) Conduct a discontinuance study for the office and provide roadside mailbox delivery. Retail and delivery service would be provided through a rural carrier. Mail delivery points will be established or maintained and customers can purchase most postal services through the carrier or other alternate access points. If you currently receive delivery service, Post Plan will not affect that service.
3. (2%—5 responses) Conduct a discontinuance study, for the office and find a suitable alternative location operated by a contractor, usually at a local business. When businesses are found that meet the criteria, these establishments are contracted through the United States Postal Service and offer stamps and flat rate products with service hours generally more expansive than what the local Post Office may be able to offer.
4. (2%—5 responses) Conduct a discontinuance study for the post office and relocate P. O. Box service to a nearby Post Office.

No selection was made by 5% (11 responses).

The letter included a second question: In the event that window service hours are changed to 4 hours per weekday, please indicate your preferences for weekday window service hours. Please note that the “box up” time (i. e. the time when mail is normally delivered to mail receptacles) will likely be affected by the range of hours selected.

Mr. Battles said that after reviewing the returned surveys and taking into account Postal Service operational needs, within a month to a month and a half retail hours for the Laughlintown/Rector Post Offices will likely be reduced on weekdays to 4 hours per day:

  • Monday-Friday: 9:00 a. m. to 1:00 p. m.
  • Saturday: 9:00 a. m. to 12:00 p. m.

DSC02560EAccess to delivery receptacles will not change. It is possible that the lobby hours will be open 24 hours—or it could have a time lock on the door, locking it at 5:00 p. m. weekdays.

Hours on the collection box will not change.

Changes will be posted on the Post Office door.

Part 2 of this article, BOX HOLDERS EXPRESS CONCERNS, will be posted March 3.


Laughlintown (PA) Post Office to Make Changes: Part 2

In Takoma Park, the mailman is more beloved than what he delivers

Post Office Closings in Rector and Export, Pennsylvania, Mirror a Larger Postal Service Problem

Update on the Rector and Export Post Office Suspensions


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