NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is considering reducing the hours of several local post offices, including Granite Springs, Shenorock and Purdys.
“We might cut Granite Springs from eight hours a day to four,” said USPS spokesman George Flood. “Purdys and Shenorock might go from eight to six. But nothing is decided yet.”
In keeping with the Postal Service’s Post Plan, customers will be canvassed with questions such as, ‘Which hours do you think the post office should cut?’ Flood said. “And then we’ll have public meetings.” Surveys will be sent out later this year.
“Instead of closing branches altogether, they’re reorganizing,” explained Michelle Nicolosi of Somers' Amawalk post office. “They’re trying to serve the entire community, and they’re trying to save money. Amawalk’s not in danger of cutting back. It’s the smaller offices that’ll be affected. We’re only two miles away from Granite Springs.”
“There are two reasons why the post office is losing business,” said Flood. "The first is the increase in electronic communication. The second is that the economy itself has driven down the volume of mail.
“The Internet is both good and bad for us,” he continued. “People may be receiving and paying bills electronically, but they’re also buying things over the Internet and a lot of those purchases are sent by the USPS.
“So we’re seeing a decrease in first-class mail, but there’s a rise in other types, such as advertising. Priority Shipping is doing well. ‘If it fits, it ships.’ Anything you can stuff into a flat rate box ships at the same rate.”
Nicolosi concurred. “We’re only doing about 60 percent of first class, but we’re doing much more with packaging than we used to,” she said.
“My hours have already gone down from 40 to 35 to 27 to 18 to 14½,” said Debbie Gerrity of the Purdys Post Office. “I’m taking early retirement in February.” Craig Frank of the North Salem office also is retiring next month.
The Postal Service is an independent federal agency, Flood explained. “It’s self-funded. We don’t get any tax dollars but we have to answer to the government. We’re having fiscal problems because of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
“If not for that, we wouldn’t have to make many changes,” he said. “The way it works out is that the Postal Service has to pre-fund all retiree health benefits for the next 75 years. Some of those people haven’t even been born yet.”