USPS proposes Saginaw Post Office closing

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

SAGINAW – More than 50 concerned citizens attended a town meeting with upper-level management of the United States Postal Service at Camp Branch-Saginaw Civic Center on the evening of April 25.

Reginald Capers, a marketing manager for the Alabama district, fielded questions regarding the proposal submitted to close the Saginaw Post Office and move the existing post office boxes and customers to the Alabaster branch.

“We’re reviewing every single post office,” Capers said. “There are currently 40 offices in the proposal stage in consideration to close (out of the 548 offices in Alabama). The offices are the ones we think are feasible to consolidate into other branches.”

Debbie Johnson is the one of two employees of the Saginaw Post Office, and she will return to employment in Shelby if the branch is closed.

“The Saginaw Post Office made $197,000 last year, and fixed costs were only $77,000,” Johnson said to the meeting attendees. “That’s a difference of $120,000.”

The town meeting enabled the citizens to propose questions and suggestions, which were then recorded and will be included in the proposal package presented to USPS review board.

If the closure occurs, the USPS will remove the post office boxes from the Saginaw branch and deposit them in the Alabaster branch, and the Saginaw customers will retain both their boxes and their current addresses. The only change will be the physical location of the boxes, Capers said.

Citizens voiced concerns about convenience and the postal system’s commitment to customer service. Also, attendees specifically asked about the profitability of the Saginaw branch.

Dot Crim served as Saginaw’s postmaster for 10 years and retired seven years ago.

“The overhead cost of the post office is low, and convenience is so great,” Crim said to Capers during the meeting. “The mail trucks have to drive through here anyway, so it doesn’t make sense to ask all of these people to drive to Alabaster when they drive by here anyway.”

Capers said the “business world” of a government-run business such as the postal service doesn’t follow the same guidelines as typical businesses.

“If we were in the private business sector, we could choose to close branches based on profitability,” Capers said, “but our guidelines don’t allow us to do that. In this business, congressional officials say ‘yay’ or ‘nae.’

“In a normal business world, we would get rid of (branches) that aren’t profitable,” he continued. “Some district branches are bleeding out, but we can’t close them because it’s not feasible. We’re not allowed to select offices for discontinuity based on profitability.”

Capers said the proposal to close the Saginaw branch isn’t a “done deal” yet.

“It’s still just a proposal,” Capers said. “Even if (the proposal) passed through us in Alabama, it goes through headquarters for approval. It’s not a done deal; it’s just a proposal.”