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Front Page » September 13, 2011 » Emery County News » Cleveland residents want to keep post office
Published 1,085 days ago

Cleveland residents want to keep post office


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

Residents of Cleveland met in an effort to fight off any attempts by the federal government to close their post office. Rural post offices throughout the nation are living with the fear that their post offices may be closed. Several post offices in Emery County may be in jeopardy. Smaller post offices that may be affected include Emery, Clawson, Cleveland and Elmo. The United States Post Office has been operating in the red for several years due to a decrease in the volume of items being mailed and increased costs of employees and benefits.

In Cleveland residents were instructed by Colleen Hansen to be united. At one time in the past there were efforts to close the Cleveland post office and the community rallied around against the closure. She instructed the residents they might receive a questionnaire in the mail from the US Postal Service and they must be careful in answering the questionnaire. There will be a number of questions on the questionnaire which would include alternatives to receiving mail at the post office. Alternatives listed could include: cluster boxes where boxes are placed in neighborhoods and mail is received to these locked boxes. Another option listed will be a village post office. In this situation post office boxes would be placed within a store or business in the town. The other alternative listed could mean combining with another post office in the area.

Right now Cleveland doesn't have an appointed postmaster. That is one drawback for Cleveland right now.

There are rules and regulations the government must follow before it can close a post office. The postal service is trying to look for cost cutting measures so they can remain solvent. It was reported closing post offices will only save 7/10ths of 1 percent for the postal service so other cost cutting measures should be implemented before rural communities lose their post offices.

A closure process lasting at least four months would have to be followed. Jamie Jensen, town clerk, said she has talked to the Clawson postmaster and she said residents in her community would rather go to Castle Dale for their mail if their post office is closed. Right now, Clawson post office is on alert. No closure would take place until the end of December.

Shane Clifford is an attorney who lives in Cleveland. He has agreed to be the chairman of the committee to keep Cleveland's post office open. Clifford said, ""Being united is important. We want our post office and that is the only acceptable decision. We need to get a committee together and make people aware of what's going on."

Other suggestions of action includes writing to your senators and congressman telling them you need your post office. When and if the questionnaires are sent out, they need to be filled out for the good of the entire community. Jensen said she has sent a letter to all the Cleveland residents with the representatives and senators addresses.

Clifford said he has been in Cleveland since the beginning of the year. He said things need to be put down in writing of how to proceed against possible closure. Under federal law there are several points that need to be addressed by the government. They must consider the affect of closure on the employees of the post office and the entire community in general. It's written in the policy of the government that the post office should provide service to rural communities and this service should be conducted regardless of whether or not that rural post office is profitable. Written findings must be available and these findings are subject to a 60 day comment period. Clifford instructed during this 60 day comment period everyone should comment they want their post office to remain in tact and also any protests should be planned for this time. A meeting goer suggested picketing at the post office with signs that declare the post office should remain open. All community members will be invited to participate in any protests.

Clifford said the more evidence Cleveland residents can collect as to why their post office should remain open, the better off they will be.

Cleveland residents were encouraged to use their post office. Buy your stamps, ship your packages and do as much business there as you can.

One number thrown out was Cleveland post office operates with a deficit of $70,000 per year. These numbers weren't confirmed though because the actual financial details were unavailable and requests for financial information weren't filled. It was reported Cleveland post office pays a $16,000 yearly lease for the building. William B. Rose and Sharon S. Rose, doctors from California, own the building and use the proceeds for their retirement fund. Someone wondered if the owners shouldn't be alerted there is talk of possible closures. One resident also wondered if the town should try to buy the building from the owners.

Meeting goers resolved the most important thing to date is to get the word out and make people aware of what might be coming ahead. Hansen said, "Get the word out, we count on our post office; we need our post office. Respond to the questionnaire when it comes out, Keep our post office here."

Clifford said to keep copies of any letters sent to senators and representatives and he will include them in a brief he will prepare as to why the post office needs to remain open in Cleveland.

It was mentioned that all post office employees and postmasters are not asked to comment regarding any closure proceedings.

After the postal service publishes its findings there is a 60 day comment period and a 30 day appeal period. The postal service has 120 days before they have to make any decisions.

Residents were encouraged to write letters and to put up a fight to save their post office.

Sandra Justice is the current postmaster in Clawson. She has been there for 31 years. She is nearing retirement. She said the US Postal Service has informed them their post office and Emery's post office have been identified and are being looked at for possible closure or combining.

Right now they are waiting and the postal service has informed them they will keep them advised. Clawson isn't a good candidate for a village post office because they don't have a store, the only possiblility would be the city hall building which is currently only open one day a week. Clawson has experienced declining revenue the past years also.

Justice said they don't replace post masters any more. No questionaires have been sent out to Clawson residents. The postal service said they may soon send letters, but nothing has happened yet. The postal service will also plan a town meeting. The people in Clawson currently have 24 hour access to their post office boxes.

Justice thinks Congress should work with the post office to find creative ways to keep the postal service solvent. The issues with the retirement fund need to be worked out. "Right now we are just waiting," said Justice.

Her Clawson residents said they would like to keep their post office it is important to their community and a gathering place. It is a historic building.

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September 13, 2011
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