Thurmond residents question over timing of public hearing

Anthony GonzalezStaff Writer

January 19, 2013

A growing number of residents from Thurmond are upset.

The United States Postal Service has established a review process for certain Post Offices known as the “POST Plan,” which can ultimately determine the destiny of its post office.

The Postal Service has been soliciting the Thurmond community through a survey to help determine the best course of action for providing postal services in the future, which could involve cutting hours or even discontinuing service.

The Postal Service will hold a meeting at the Thurmond Post Office at 2301 Thurmond Road on Tuesday at noon to answer questions and provide additional information about POST Plan. At the meeting, local management will share the results of the survey, answer questions, and solicit input regarding the time of day the Post Office will be open.

“Although survey results will be known and shared, the Postal Service will not make a final decision regarding this office until after the public meeting,” said Dawn Lambert, Postal Plan coordinator. “This will enable the Postal Service to obtain all community input and opinions, from both the surveys and the meeting, before making a final decision.”

However, the timing of the meeting has residents rattled and wondering if the Postal Service is in touch with the community.

Wanda Mccann of Thurmond told The Tribune that she understands the Post Offcie is going to take a look at belt-tightening options, but if they wanted input from a community that the meeting should be held at a time when the public is most likely to attend.

“They’ll probably be few people who will attend,” said Mccann.

Susan McBride of Thurmond agreed.

“It just doesn’t make sense to hold these types of informative meetings at a time when working families have to choose between a stamp and their job,” stated McBride who will be unable to attend because she can’t miss work. “The community center is available. Why don’t they hold the meeting there in the evening instead of a tiny little post office too.”

The Postal Service did not respond to our question relating to the timing of the public hearing.

The U.S. Postal Service’s net loss widened to more than $5 billion last year, and the cash-strapped agency warned on Thursday that without help from the U.S. Congress it will face low cash and be unable to borrow money this fall.

The Postal Service, who relies on the sale of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has been struggling for years as Americans increasingly communicate online and as payments for future retiree health benefits and other obligations drain its cash.