The Alexandria Post Office will not close but its daily operating hours will likely be reduced starting in January in an effort by the U.S. Postal Service to save money. The carriers will continue delivering mail to Alexandria postal customers but will begin working out of the Watertown Post Office beginning Saturday, November 3.
David Underwood, Manager of Post Office Operations, held a community meeting at the Alexandria city hall building Thursday afternoon to explain the changes. About fifty concerned postal customers in the area showed up to learn more about the plan.
(PLAY SHORT VIDEO BELOW OF DAVID UNDERWOOD EXPLAINING CHANGES AT ALEXANDRIA)
"The Alexandria Post Office is going from a full time eight hour a day post office to a six hour a day post office," said Underwood. "Your address won't change. Nothing will change with your delivery. Your carriers are being shifted. They are going to come out of Watertown. But your delivery is not changing. Your address is not changing. Where you go to pick up packages when you're not home and get a notice, you still come here (Alexandria). Our intent is to make it as invisible as possible to you with the major changes being we are no longer going to have a full time benefit getting post master in Alexandria. There will be a part time post master working six hours a day. Your Saturday hours won't change from what they are now. Your collection box time at the post office is not changing. The mail will go out at the same time every night it always has. There's not much going to change but by shaving that two hours off which is how many hours this office earns with its revenue and volume, making it a lower level post master that gets less money, taking the processing out of this office from the carriers and consolidating it in with no more work hours at another post office, over time the return on investment is huge for us. It saves us a lot of money," said Underwood.
Alexandria postal customers began receiving surveys in September outlining four different options for the Alexandria Post Office. A total of 1,110 customer surveys were mailed and 437 of them were returned. Ninety two percent of the respondents (404 customers) said given the options they preferred a realignment of the hours.
(PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO VIEW ENTIRE MEETING THURSDAY IN ALEXANDRIA)
Based on the results of the survey, Underwood said the Postal Service will likely set the hours for the Alexandria Post Office for 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday with lunch from noon until 1:00 p.m. and Saturday hours will be from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The Postal Service will make its final decision on the change soon and a notice will be posted at the Alexandria Post Office as to what the new daily hours will be and when they will take effect. Underwood said the new hours will most likely become effective around the third week of January.
Total Saturday window service hours will not be reduced and access to delivery receptacles will not change as a result of the POST Plan realignment of weekday window service hours, according to Underwood. Access to delivery receptacles will not be reduced from the current hours.
Alexandria postal customers were not surveyed about reassigning the carriers. Underwood said the postal service made that decision itself. "Its internal. That's something we decide. We call it Delivery Unit Optimization where we make the decision because its not affecting customers whatsoever. Its where we decide to consolidate carriers in a hub location because we have the same amount of clerks who can do that distribution work there. Rather than have them do it remotely and having a whole bunch of clerks doing a little bit of work (in different post offices) I've got the same clerks doing the same amount of work (at one location). Its a pure business decision. We're doing this everywhere," said Underwood.
The Alexandria Post Office is among 260 post offices in Tennessee which will have their hours changed or downsized within the next couple of years, according to Underwood.