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Vanderbilt post office could cut hours

| Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 2:22 a.m.

A crowd of approximately 40 gathered at the DL&V Volunteer Fire Department hall for a public meeting to learn the fate of Vanderbilt's post office.

A survey was sent out to more than 1,000 residents with only 274 returned, which asked postal customers their thoughts on what type of service and hours they prefer.

U.S. Postal Service Operations Manager William Battles Jr. addressed the crowd and talked at length about the plight of the Postal Service and the wish to keep all post offices open even if it means they will be operating at reduced hours.

“The Post Plan is to operate post offices with realigned hours,” Battles said of the 64 offices in the southern Westmoreland and northern Fayette counties that are presently facing a potential cut in manned hours.

“We are looking at smaller post offices all over the county,” he said.

Battles said that, in response to the Postal Service's ever-increasing loss of revenue, measures had to be taken to bring the mounting loses under control.

“The U.S. Postal Service is losing $25 million a day,” Battles said. ‘We are looking at more effective uses of our facilities and of our people.”

Contrary to what many in attendance thought, Battles assured them the Vanderbilt Post Office was not under consideration for closure.

“No post offices are being closed at this time,” Battles said. “We listened to the people. We listened to your concerns and we do not plan to close any post offices.”

The results of the survey suggests an operating time of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays, which brings the operating time from eight to six hours a day.

There also will be a one-hour close from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays.

“There will be someone there from 9 to 4, with one hour off for lunch when you can come in and get your mail,” Battles said. “You can still also get your mail from noon to 1, but you will not be able to buy stamps at that time.”

Battles added that the regular blue mailing box will remain on site and all rural mail customers will not be affected at all by the proposed changes.

For convenience purposes, Battles suggested having the lobby open 24 hours a day, but was told by residents they did not think that was a safe option.

Joe Beal, from state Rep. Deborah Kula's office, said he was relieved the post office would be remaining open, even if it was with reduced hours.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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