Vandiver residents concerned for future of post office

Vandiver residents gather at the Vandiver-Sterrett Senior Center to discuss the future of the Vandiver Post Office June 5. (Reporter Photo/Cassandra Mickens).

Vandiver residents gather at the Vandiver-Sterrett Senior Center to discuss the future of the Vandiver Post Office June 5. (Reporter Photo/Cassandra Mickens).

By CASSANDRA MICKENS/Associate Editor

NORTH SHELBY —About 50 people attended a town hall meeting about the future of the Vandiver Post Office at the Vandiver-Sterrett Senior Center June 5.

Willie Trawick, manager of post office operations in the Alabama District, said Vandiver residents voted to shorten post office hours, as per a survey distributed to 460 residents four weeks ago.

Of the 460 residents, 150 responded to the survey, Trawick said. Of the 150 respondents, 128 voted to shorten post office hours as part of the United States Postal Service (USPS) POST Plan to reduce operations cost.

The Vandiver Post Office is now open for eight hours five days a week, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday hours are 8 to 11 a.m. Under the POST Plan voted on by residents, post office hours would be from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. Saturday hours would remain the same. Trawick said the results are unofficial and a final decision has yet to be made.

Residents at the town hall meeting were urged to complete a survey, copies of which were distributed throughout the room. Trawick said a final decision about the post office is expected in 30 to 40 days.

“As you know, the post office is facing some serious financial challenges,” Trawick said, adding that the USPS is not tax-supported and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to survive.

When residents asked Trawick what they should do to ensure the post office’s survival, Trawick replied, “Visit your post office. Buy your stamps. Buy your money orders. That’s what you need to do and you need to do it consistently.”

Trawick said the Vandiver Post Office will have a performance review every two years to decide whether to shorten hours or extend hours.

Several residents vented their frustration about the post office, citing poor customer service from past employees and a possible move of home delivery and post office box delivery to the Sterrett Post Office, about three miles down the road from Vandiver on Shelby County 25.

Resident Bob Truett earned applause for his comments. Truett said the USPS is not subsidized by the U.S. government and is structured like a business, but Congress prevents the USPS from operating like a private company.

Truett said cited federal legislators’ plans to prop up the highway trust fund with USPS savings.

“Congress is selling out the post office, which belongs to the people,” Truett said. “The post office belongs to you and me, and we want these penalties to the post office stopped.”