Residents of the Laddonia area gathered at 2 p.m. October 10 in the Laddonia Post Office to hear the fate of their postal service.
About 20 minutes late, Ed Miller, manager of the region’s post office operations, entered and announced the office would be reducing its hours from 6.75 each weekday to 6 hours per weekday, a relief for those who feared the Laddonia Post Office would be shutdown. About four weeks ago, 63352 residents had received a survey discussing mostly discontinuance options with one option discussing a reduction in office hours.
Miller said 185 of 679 surveys were returned. The vast majority, 159 surveys or 86 percent, voted for the realignment of hours.
“A couple years ago, there was a study going on and we were looking at closing a lot of offices,” Miller said. “The public spoke up and said they did not want that. They wanted the post offices to remain open to keep the community’s identity. The post office heard that and went back and reworked everything. What we are doing now is trying to realign the work hours to meet the work load.”
He said the work load in Laddonia supports about six hours a day.
He said the new hours, which would take effect on Saturday, November 17 at the earliest, will be Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., tentative to whether additional information from surveys not received dictates different times.
Miller said Saturday times will not be affected and a drive-thru collection box may be added. Mail placed in the outside collection boxes before 4:30 p.m. will be postmarked and mailed that day.
All mail placed in the outside collection boxes will be routed through St. Louis.
Pending security updates, Miller said P.O. boxes will be available 24 hours a day.
The updates include a new automatic door locking system or security cameras and safety glass on the door and window separating the P.O. box lobby and the main office lobby. Though, attendees voiced concern that the P.O. box lobby being open for 24-hours would allow the possibility for vagrants and vandalism.
Miller said further consideration will be taken regarding how many hours the P.O. box lobby would be made available.
The reorganization of post offices across the county are the result of a 27-percent drop — from 1.28 billion to 0.93 billion — in retail visits to post offices from 2005 to 2011.
Miller said most post offices are merely reorganizing office hours. He said no post office in his northeast Missouri region has been closed, although some offices’ hours have been reduced to just two hours per day.
Miller said the reduction to six hours per workday at Laddonia will still maintain a career postmaster and no reduction in benefits will occur with a six hour schedule.
“We’re here, we’re here to stay,” Miller said.