Post office losing rural carriers

Published 12:44 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

Starting Saturday, rural mail carriers who have been working out of the Chocowinity post office will work out of the Washington post office, said a U.S. Postal Service representative.

“We are doing delivery unit optimization,” said Monica Robbs, a spokeswoman with the USPS office in Charlotte.

The move is being made to help reduce transportation costs, Robbs said. Instead of a delivery truck making stops at several post offices, that truck will now make one stop. That means the carriers who worked out of the Chocowinity post office will obtain mail for their routes at the Washington post office.

“That significantly reduces our transportation costs,” Robbs said.

She would not confirm nor deny the Chocowinity post office will lose its postmaster position, resulting
in only counter services and mail being place in post-office boxes, saying she could not discuss the matter because it’s a personnel issue.

There are no similar plans for the Pantego post office, Robbs said.

Reducing transportation costs, including reducing the amount of fuel used by contractors who transport mail for USPS by 20 percent by 2020, is part of the USPS’s 2011 (fiscal year) Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan. That plan also calls for reducing fuel use by USPS vehicles by 20 percent by 2015.

Other changes may be coming to area post offices.

“We continue to take aggressive actions to reduce costs and bring the size of our infrastructure into alignment with reduced customer demand,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe in news release issued Friday.

USPS announced plans July 25 to identify and study nearly 3,700 under-utilized post offices for possible closure and introduced the new village post office concept. Village post offices would be operated by local businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers. They would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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