Friday, October 10, 2003
Post office hours change Saturday
If you were looking carefully at the back page of the Mosquito last Friday, you would have seen the listing of new hours at the Carlisle Post Office, starting tomorrow, Saturday, October 11. As a follow-up to that notice we decided to speak to Carlisle Postmaster William Ponte to learn more about the changes that are being made.
Asked about the new post office hours, Ponte pointed out that this was a national thing, not something that was just happening here in Carlisle. He went on to explain that United States Postal Service revenues were down and there were choices to be made. Cutting back on the hours was preferable to closing down the operation. "We are always looking at how we can consolidate," said Ponte. "We lost the volume after 9/11," he explained. "First class mail volume is down because of e-mail. People are not writing personal letters like they used to. Advertisement mailings are down. With the town growing and deliveries going up, the costs go up."
Asked about layoffs, Ponte said that when vacancies do occur the post office will look to attrition so they don't have to lay off. He noted that the U.S. Post Office is a non-profit organization, and 85% of every dollar taken in goes into salaries and benefits. He believes his organization, while putting service to their customers first, needs to run an efficient operation. "We have to do what we have to do, to survive," he added. "Deliveries all around town will be coming a little later. Mondays and the day after a holiday have the heaviest volume, so delivery on those days may be later, as well. "Staff hours have changed. The same people will be delivering the mail, but the sorting will start a little later." Due to attrition in the manual sorting positions, Ponte has had to move some of his personnel off the counter, which he believes takes away personal contact with the customers. "We are a part of this community," he added, and it was obvious he wants it to remain that way.
After consulting a computer survey to find out how many people come into the post office at certain hours during the day, it was the district post office that decided to reduce weekday window hours in Carlisle. The new hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 12 noon, instead of 1 p.m. Some offices in other towns, Ponte said, will be closing down for lunch or midday from 1 to 2 p.m. [To see what other hours have been changed in Carlisle, check box at right.]
With the interview about to end, Ponte, wishing to finish on a positive note, pointed out that the postal service "keeps an eye out" for all residences in town, which they visit six times a week. If there appears to be problems, they can call the police. Adding one last word, Ponte reminded homeowners to keep their mailboxes shoveled out during the coming winter months. Mail carriers, by regulations, are prohibited from getting out of their vehicles, he explained, so he hopes snow banks will be removed to help carriers driving in and out of the box.
© 2003 The