Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

December 4, 2012

Rural post offices to reduce hours starting next month

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

SHUMWAY —

Reduced hours at local rural post offices will begin taking effect as early as January.

The effort, part of a U.S. Postal Service plan to shorten operating hours in exchange for keeping small rural offices open, has seen hearings at many offices where local residents could voice their concerns on the effort.

"I don't see too much of a problem coming," said Diane Krumpe, postmaster relief at the Sigel office.

Krumpe said the office in Sigel will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. instead of opening at 7:30 a.m. She said she anticipates many residents are simply going to have to get used to the change in hours.

"They're going to have to adjust to the hours," Krumpe said. "People don't like change. We just have to let people and businesses know that this is going to be how things are."

Other offices will have increasingly shortened hours.

"We'll have four hours window service," said Candie Kessler, the PMR for the Shumway post office. "The postal service will announce when those hours are but I'm not sure when it will take effect. It'll be sometime after the first of the year."

The nationwide effort is part of a USPS cost-cutting plan to remove full-time postmasters who are not under labor contract protection. The USPS will be offering early retirement incentives to more than 21,000 eligible employees nationwide.

Kessler said Shumway residents had a chance to voice their concerns at a hearing on Thursday.

"We had six attendees," she said. "My people don't like change."

Despite the cost-cutting measure of reducing post office hours, most of the offices are not expecting to lose full-time employees. Sara Muma, the PMR for the Montrose post office, said she anticipates everything still will be business as usual for her office.

"The way they were talking in the meeting, it doesn't sound like a lot will change," she said. " People will still get mail on time, they can still drop off packages with us from 8 to noon. The lobby will be open 24-7, so people can always pick up their mail. If they have a package that needs sent, they can always go to Effingham."

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.