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Local News

February 7, 2013

Sat. letter delivery nears end

The U.S. Postal Service’s announcement that it intends to end Saturday mail delivery Aug. 1, didn’t raise many hackles Wednesday among post office customers in Oneonta, but union officials said rural customers may feel the real bite.

“I don’t see it as being that big of a deal, really,” said Wayne Terbush of Oneonta. “I understand that they need to save money, just like any other business.”

For rural postal customers, though, it may be a bigger deal.

“Saturday mail delivery is an important communication and marketing tool used by millions of citizens and mailers across the country, especially in rural areas that lack broadband Internet access,” said Jeanette P. Dwyer, president of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, which serves that population.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, in announcing the plan, said the Postal Service would continue to deliver packages on Saturdays, and that post offices currently open on Saturdays would remain open, although the Washington Post, reported that postal officials said some of those post offices may have their hours cut.

A press release from the Postal Service said the decision to continue package deliveries on Saturdays was based on strong growth – 14 percent since 2010 – in that part of its business. First-class mail, on the other hand, has declined by 20 percent during that time, it said.

The service said it lost $15.9 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, and that the new plan would save $2 billion a year.

“I can’t understand why they don’t have money,” Dino Johnson said outside the Oneonta Post Office on Wednesday.

Mike Pentaris, however, was all for the move.

“I think it’s good,” he said. “It’ll save some money.”

The Postal Service is supposed to be a self-supporting agency, but it is subject to congressional oversight and control. The rural mail carriers’ union chief referred to that Wednesday in her criticism of the announcement.

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