NEWPORT TWP. — Given limited options regarding postal service in their town, Glen Lyon residents chose the only one that means their post office will remain open. Now, it’s just a matter of when.
Gregory Miller, manager of Post Office Operations for the Central Pennsylvania District of the U.S. Postal Service, met with residents at the Glen Lyon American Legion on Monday to discuss options for the town’s post office.
The Glen Lyon Post Office, established in 1886, is one of thousands across the United States that are slated for reductions in retail service hours as part of the USPS’s efforts to streamline operations and cut costs. The federal agency is bleeding billions of dollars due to customers sending fewer first-class mail as well as hefty rises in operational costs.
Miller told the approximately 60 residents who attended the meeting that it was the largest turnout of any of the meetings that he has conducted in the district pertaining to local post office retail service hour reductions or closures. “Normally, we have 10 or 20 people,” he said.
Miller said The USPS’s “Post Plan” entails reducing the retail hours at post offices that have historically produced less revenue from eight hours a day to two, four or six hours a day.
He 914 surveys were mailed to all households in Glen Lyon asking residents to choose an option for service. Of the 239 that were returned:
• 96 percent preferred realignment of hours.
• 2 percent preferred closing the post office and having residents utilize a nearby post office.
• 1 percent opted for a Village Post Office operation, which would entail a local retail business providing postal services and products.
Miller said that based on what most respondents preferred, the new hours will be 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the Saturday hours of 10 a.m. to noon would remain the same.
Some residents at the meeting said they never received surveys, and many didn’t like the hours selected.
A vote was taken among meeting attendees, with 23 preferring retail hours of 8 a.m. to noon, four preferring 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 22 voting for 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Cameron Whitemire said those hours wouldn’t allow him to ever get to the post office because of his work schedule.
“The post office is not being flexible in any way, shape or form,” Whitemire said.
Miller said that if more people returned surveys, which he will make sure are available at the post office over the next few days, the USPS can adjust the hours “to meet the needs of the community.” He expects a decision will be made within 10 days, and the decision will go into effect within 45 days after that.
An audience member asked if the post office can be open in the morning on some days and in the afternoon on others, Miller said it’s “not completely out of the question.”
Lorrie Materewicz, president of the Glen Lyon American Legion Auxiliary, urged residents to utilize the Glen Lyon post office for all their mailing and purchasing of stamps, money orders and other items to help ensure that the office is not considered for closure sometime in the future, given that decisions are based on post office revenue.
Several residents asked that a wider variety of products be sold at the Glen Lyon Post Office. They said post offices in Nanticoke and Wilkes-Barre have better selections.
Miller said it’s difficult to make such changes because, even though Congress doesn’t provide funding to the USPS, all decisions have to be approved by the legislators.