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AS I SEE IT

Posted 11/13/13 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

For the past two years, the U.S. Postal Service has been claiming that they recognize that things aren’t working quite as well as they would like at the Watford City Post Office and that they are working to improve the service locally.
Well, two years have come and gone and other than the adding of more postal boxes, it seems that very little else has been done to improve the level of service in the community. Postal customers are still waiting in long lines to send and pick up packages, buy stamps or to get a post office box so that they can get their mail.
As a person who has attended virtually ever meeting that the Postal Service has held in Watford City, I’m in complete amazement at how often the person who is conducting the meeting has so little information on what is going on at our local post office or what others in the Postal Service are thinking as to ways to improve the service locally.
A case in point. Two weeks ago a Postal Service official was in town to talk about the service’s plans to build an 1,800-square foot addition on to the existing Post Office to allow for more mail and packages to be brought into the building.
While obviously more space is needed in the post office, that postal employee didn’t have any data on the number of people that were coming into the post office. Nor did they know the volume of mail and packages that was going through the facility or the number of people that the Watford City Post Office was serving today or projected to serve in the next few years.
But, someone in the postal service decided that an 1,800-square foot addition was what was needed to help fix the problem in Watford City.
There was no discussion on how many postal employees were needed to adequately handle the mail and packages that are coming through the local post office. And there was no discussion as to increasing the number of postal employees who can wait on the people who are standing in the long lines. And there was no discussion on increasing the hours, especially over the noon hour, that the window is open so that people can conduct their business.
Granted, the Watford City Post Office needs more space. But it also needs more staff. And the list of needs for the local post office is as endless as are the lines that form there all day long.
For starters, Watford City needs to have in-town delivery so that virtually every Watford City resident, as well as those people who get their mail through general delivery, don’t have to go to the post office once or twice a day to check on their mail.
And then there is the problem of the existing facility being too small, with inadequate parking, to handle the number of people that must go there daily.
For two years, the people of Watford City have been waiting for improved service. And so far, very little has happened.
Which makes one wonder if the U.S. Postal Service really has a solid plan for meeting the growing demands on this community or if the powers to be are simply hoping that if they ignore the problems long enough they will go away.
The population of the city of Watford City, as well as the surrounding area that relies on the Watford City Post Office, continues to grow. And with that continued growth, the demands on the existing post office are growing exponentially.
It is time for the U.S. Postal Service to come up with a permanent solution for the Watford City Post Office.