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Postal Service to cut hours for small offices

Posted 10/23/12 (Tue)

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

Back in May, the United States Postal Service put a strategy in place in order to keep the nation’s smaller post office branches open for business, and it looks like they are getting ready to implement a new phase in that plan that will impact the smaller McKenzie County communities.
The cities of Grassy Butte, Alexander, Arnegard, Cartwright and Mandaree will see a change in their hours of operation in order to, according to Pete Nowacki of the U.S. Postal Service,  achieve significant cost savings while still serving smaller communities and their residents.
“Our plan provides a framework to achieve significant cost savings by modifying window hours to better match customer use,” states Nowacki. “The plan will be implemented over the next two years.”
According to Nowacki, the Grassy Butte Post Office will move from being open for four hours a day to six hours. Alexander, Arnegard, Cartwright and Mandaree, however, will experience a drop in the hours of operation with Alexander, Arnegard and Mandaree going from being open for eight hours a day to four hours and the Cartwright Post Office will move from being open four hours a day to two hours. When the postal service is getting ready to make these changes, community members will be notified by letter.
“We will be phasing in these hour changes over the next two years. The process will take about 90 days from the time the letters are sent out until the changes go into effect,” states Nowacki. “The changes will only impact the hours the retail window will be open. Access to post office boxes, collections and mail delivery will remain the same.
Nowacki states that these changes were made as a result of customer surveys and community meetings. The responses the postal service received from these methods led them to create this new framework.
There are two meetings scheduled in Alexander and Arnegard to discuss the proposed changes on Wednesday, Oct. 24. The Alexander meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. and the Arnegard meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The meetings will be held at the community post offices. No meetings are scheduled for Grassy Butte, Cartwright or Mandaree at this time.
For more information, customers can go to www.about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/welcome. Information about the affected communities will not be posted until the letters and surveys are sent out.