Many small rural post offices will see their window hours cut to as few as four per day by the first of the year.
WTIP has learned that facilities in Hovland and Finland will see retail window reductions to four hours per day. Tofte will have its hours reduced to six per day. Peter Nowacki of the Postal Service regional office in Minneapolis said, “Keep in mind that the changes will not impact access to PO boxes, mail collections or delivery of mail, only the retail window.”
Nowacki said all affected customers will receive a letter explaining the changes and the time and place of a community meeting. They will also receive a survey to gauge the community's preferences as to how they want their services delivered.
Nowacki was unable to say when the notifications would be sent or give dates for the meetings at this time. He did say that any changes would go into effect a month or two after the community meeting is held an all public input is evaluated.
According to Sen. Al Franken’s office, last year, 117 post offices were scheduled to be closed in Minnesota. That decision was eventually reversed by the Postmaster General. A range of options were designed to meet customer needs – one was limiting service hours.
The new strategy was announced by the Postal Service in May as “a framework to achieve significant cost savings as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability.”
Other options suggested by the postal service are three existing alternatives. They include service by either rural carrier or highway contract route; contracting with a local business to create a “Village Post Office;” or by offering service from a nearby Post Office.
A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters was also announced.