The Barnesville Post Office will remain open, with six hours of window service each weekday and two hours on Saturday. That's a reduction of just a half-hour per day from current operations, and it will occur at midday, when the window will be closed from noon until 2 instead of from noon until 1:30 p.m.
The Barnesville Post Office will be open from 8:30 through 4:30 weekdays, closed noon to two, and open Saturday morning 8:30 to 10:30.
The approximately 30 residents who attended an informational meeting Wednesday night, held at the Ryan Township Fire Company, seemed largely content with the decision. The Barnesville Post Office is just one of many nationwide which are under review in a process called the POST plan, as the United States Postal Service (USPS) tries to cut costs. As part of the POST plan, some rural post offices will become two, four or six-hour post offices.
The Barnesville Post Office will no longer have a postmaster. Instead, that office will be remotely managed by the Tamaqua postmaster and clerks will handle the window service, according to Andrea Karaciolo, Post Office Operations Manager for the Harrisburg District. Karaciolo explained that although the Mahanoy City Post Office is closer than Tamaqua, the Mahanoy City mail goes through the USPS's Reading distribution center, while Barnesville and Tamaqua come through the USPS's Lehigh Valley distribution center.
Rural carriers who attended the meeting voiced their concerns about the possibility that they'd have to go to the Tamaqua Post Office to pick up the mail for their routes. They said they'd rather pick up their mail in Mahanoy City, but Karaciolo explained that wouldn't work logistically because of the different distribution centers.
About four weeks ago, 1,000 surveys were sent to people with Barnesville mailing addresses. Respondents were asked to choose from four selections: Keep the office open but with realigned service hours, conduct a discontinuance study for the office and provide roadside mailbox delivery, conduct a discontinuance study and find an alternative location, or conduct a discontinuance study and relocate the office to a nearby post office.
Karaciolo said that 386 surveys were returned, with 92 percent favoring the realignment of service hours. Although the reduction in service hours in Barnesville seems minimal, the USPS is taking the same measures across the country, saving about 32,000 hours, she explained.