Postal service changes
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS The Summit Hill Post Office
Although customers in the respective towns shouldn't notice it, some cutbacks might be in store for operations at the Summit Hill and Nesquehoning Post Offices.
A proposal has been made to move mail carrier operations from the Summit Hill Post Office to Lansford Post Office effective Feb. 14.
And, mail carriers currently dispatched from Nesquehoning Post Office could be transferred to the Lehighton Post Office by April 16.
Raymond V. Daiutolo Sr., of the Postal Service operations in Harrisburg, stressed that no final decisions have been made. However, since the effective date for the Summit Hill move would be in about three weeks, "they're looking at that very seriously."
In all, about 50 post offices in Central-Eastern Pennsylvania could be having carrier operations moved to other facilities. Carriers in Catasauqua and Coplay might be moved to the Allentown Post Office.
Daiutolo said this doesn't mean the affected post offices are in any danger of closing. In fact, to close such a facility, the Postal Service must go through 57 steps including a public hearing.
Economics are dictating such changes, stressed Daiutolo, who said when customers enter a post office such as Summit Hill and Nesquehoning only about 25 percent of the facility is dedicated to actual customer service. The remaining 75 percent is "logistics and overhead dedicated to carrier operations."
"When we have offices with limited space, we try to figure out the least expensive way to fix that," he said, "especially when there is a station in another office close-by."
He said postal customers will not lose their zip codes in the changes.
"There's a lot of stuff going on with the Postal Service," he said, noting that significant financial losses occurred last year.
He said that in 2006, the Postal Service handled an all-time high total of 213 billion pieces of mail. In 2010, the Postal Service handled 170 billion pieces of mail 43 billion pieces less than four years prior.
The economic recession is only partially to blame for the decline, Daiutolo noted. Another reason, he said, "is the advent of technology."
He said the biggest decline was in single piece, first-class mail.
Daiutolo said that 35 percent of the revenue derived by the Postal Service came from patrons utilizing the website usps.com, on which they have all sorts of services including purchasing stamps without leaving their homes.
"This won't affect the consumer," Daiutolo said of the changes in Summit Hill and Nesquehoning. "Where mail carriers come from is fairly transparent to you. In most of these situations, it only involves the carriers and distribution operations.
"We have no plans to actually close these post offices," he added.
He explained that recently, there was an announcement made that several thousand post offices across the country will close. "There is no list," he said. "This is just the next thing the Postal Service is looking at to address the declining amount of mail."
The Summit Hill and Nesquehoning post offices currently have six carriers operating out of each facility.
No layoffs are anticipated with the changes.