The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 7, 2008

Carlisle Post Office redraws routes

Carlisle’s Postmaster Gregory Lee has announced that starting November 8, the post office will switch from six delivery routes to five. The remaining routes will be reconfigured, which will lead to changes in delivery times for many homes. Lee says, “This move will involve our carriers learning new deliveries. This will also involve our clerks learning new delivery schemes.” Lee asks for Carlisle residents to help out by making sure mail boxes are correctly numbered on the side seen by the mail carrier by November 8, and says, “This will be a huge help during this major town-wide realignment.”

In addition, Lee says, “Carlisle customers who have town-wide bulk mailings must get the new delivery numbers for each of the new routes.” He encourages anyone to call him with questions or concerns at 1-978-369-6820.

Besides the postmaster, Carlisle’s post office employs eight rural carriers and three postal clerks. The route reduction is not expected to change the number of employees, but rather cut costs by eliminating the need to find a permanent replacement for Donna Cantrill, who retired from the post office earlier this year. Lee estimated that carriers will be working perhaps an hour longer per route and will consequently receive more compensation. Their pay depends on a formula involving the mileage and number of stops in a route, as well as the typical volume of mail.

Why is the post office tightening its belt? Lee explained that the overall volume of mail is declining nationwide as a result of the popularity of email. Post Office employee Kevin Leboeuf also spoke with the paper about trends in mail delivery. He estimated that Carlisle’s first class mail has dropped by 30% in the last few years, though during the same period there has been roughly a 20% increase in parcels. It was noted that Amazon and eBay are “some of our best customers.”

National trends and policies ripple down to the local post office. Lee noted that the U.S. Postal Service is required to be self-supporting, but is not allowed to make a profit. Price increases are regulated by the government, an arrangement Lee believes can make it difficult for the postal service to control costs. He also noted that competing delivery services may have the flexibility of adding fuel charges if the need arises, but the post office does not.

Local post offices must do their share to cut costs. Lee said that he continually seeks ways to economize – including sending the delivery vehicles to Billerica for the lowest-priced gasoline, and turning the thermostat down to save heat. Asked how residents might support the Carlisle Post Office employees, he replied, “Don’t worry… just mail a letter.” ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito