CUTLER-Folks in the Cutler area were breathing a sigh of relief Thursday after learning their local post office is among several thousand rural postal facilities saved from the U.S. Postal Service chopping block.
Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe announced Wednesday that plans to close more than 13,000 rural offices had been abandoned, but window hours at those facilities and some others would be shortened.
"I don't care-just keep it open," said Marsha Jarvis, 59, of Cutler.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Local resident Marsha Jarvis makes a visit to the Cutler Post Office Thursday afternoon. Jarvis said she’s a regular at the postal facility that was slated to be closed until the U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that the Cutler office is to remain open.
If the local post office had closed, she would have to drive several miles to take care of her mailing needs.
"I do a lot of business there-mail orders and stamps," Jarvis said. "It's so convenient having it right here."
Mitchell Kennedy, 61, who operates a small convenience store and gas station across the road from the post office, agreed with Jarvis.
Local Ohio post offices being considered for reduced retail window hours:
- Proposed cuts from 8 to 4 hours-Bartlett, Cutler, Little Hocking, Lower Salem, Whipple, Amesville, Stewart, Tuppers Plains and Reedsville.
- Proposed cuts from 8 to 6 hours-Waterford and Newport.
- The changes in hours are being considered as part of a plan to curb postal service costs. The U.S. Postal Service ended its second quarter (Jan. 1 to March 31) with a net loss of $3.2 billion, compared to a net loss of $2.2 billion for the same period last year.
"I'd rather see them cut the hours than lose our post office," he said.
Kennedy noted the community was devastated last November when the USPS put Cutler on the list of rural facilities slated for closure.
"We had a photo taken of about 25 of us standing in front of the post office when we thought it would be closed," he said. "I'm glad it's not going to close, and I think people are willing to work around the shorter hours."
David Van Allen, USPS corporate communications officer in Cleveland, confirmed Thursday that the Cutler office would definitely not be closed.
"All of the rural offices that were previously going to be closed will now remain open," he said. "But all are also under consideration for reduced hours of operation."
Access to the lobby and post office boxes would not be changed.
A list of area post offices being considered for fewer hours includes Cutler, Bartlett, Little Hocking, Lower Salem, Whipple, Dexter City, Amesville and Stewart. All could be cut from eight to four hours of operation.
The Waterford and Newport post offices are being considered for cuts from eight to six hours of retail window service.
Retail windows at some smaller offices, like the Portland Post Office in Meigs County, could be cut from eight to only two hours a day.
No definite timeline had been determined Thursday for the proposed change in hours, but no change will take place prior to Tuesday, said postal officials.
During his announcement Wednesday, Donohoe said the hours modification would help save money and preserve local post office services.
"We've listened to our customers in rural America and we've heard them loud and clear-they want to keep their post office open," he said. "We believe today's announcement will serve our customers' needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the postal service return to long-term financial stability."
Richard Polomik, 65, lives in Stewart in Athens County, not far from Cutler. The Stewart Post Office is also facing a cut in hourly service.
"I could accept the cut in hours, but I would be concerned for the postal employees-many are already working part time," he said. "And I don't want to see any of the post offices closed. Maybe they should look at closing some of the big city post offices instead."
Fairfield Township Trustee Lee Ann Piggott said there had been some rumblings when the USPS first announced Cutler's post office was slated to be closed.
"We had some discussion about it, but there was little we could do," she said. "And I'm glad to know they're staying open now."
Jack Marks, Barlow Township's fiscal officer, said although the township trustees have not talked about the possibility, it would be a travesty if the U.S. Postal Service had decided to close the local postal facility in Vincent.
"That would be a real concern," he said. "We used to have a post office in Fleming and Barlow, but both of those were closed, and now we all go to Vincent for postal services. It seems like that office is always busy."