“The realignment of the hours has already been determined,” Reyes said. “It will realign. Normanna falls in the four-hour group.”
The announcement comes on the heels of a survey issued to Normanna citizens. Out of 125 surveys, 40 were returned, and of the 40, 39 were in favor of the realignment of hours, while one was in favor of the delivery option.
One reason for the reduction has to do with the reduction of first-class mail volume. Since its peak in 2006, the reduction of mail volume has steadily decreased by 25 percent, which was what drove the revenue.
“That was the bread and butter of our service, and that’s how we brought in the revenue, with first-class mail volume,” Reyes said. “But since 2006, that’s declined, and all of the forecasts show that, for the next 10 years, that mail volume, the first-class letter mail volume, is going to continue to decline, every year for the next 10 years.”
Over the last several years, the postmaster general has implemented various cost-cutting measures, to make up for the loss of revenue, including consolidating mail processing facilities.
About two weeks ago, Reyes said, it was announced that by January 2015, the sorting facilities in Abilene and Corpus Christi, along with 80 more, will be closing down.
Normanna resident Sam McCoy asked if mail movement would be slowed down, to which Reyes answered that it wouldn’t, due to the 25 percent decrease over the years.
“We don’t need all the equipment in all the different places that we used to process mail before,” Reyes said. “Now before 2006, when we still had record mail volumes, record revenues, we wouldn’t be able to consolidate, because it would’ve been too much to divert.”
Now, the mail will be processed in San Antonio, without having to increase the number of employees.
The Postal Service is also awaiting Congress’ approval of moving to five-day delivery, along with packages being delivered over the weekend, which they feel is important because people receive their medication in packages.
“If we get permission from Congress to move forward to five-day delivery, that could save the Postal Service in the $3 billion a year range,” Reyes said.
Fortunately, with the natural attrition, they have not had to lay off anybody.
“We’ve found a place for anyone that wanted to continue to work,” Reyes said. “We’ve also allowed employees to take early retirement, which was a win-win. It was a win for us because we reduced the employee head count, and it was a win for our employees that were in a position to consider that retirement and retire a little bit early.”
For Normanna, the move to four hours a day is better than no hours a day, which was the original plan. Also, the staffing for the Normanna Post Office is already set up, as opposed to other offices that are not.
The working hours are set to be from 8 a.m. to noon on weekdays and 7:15-8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The announcement on when the times will be implemented should come out in the coming days.
However, Reyes said that the Postal Service will recalculate every year, the next time being in 2016, and there’s a chance that Normanna could be moved back up to a six-hour service.
“Each year, we will recalculate,” Reyes said. “So, what I would encourage you to do is continue using them and make the necessary adjustments to conduct your postal transactions here, because if you start going to Beeville, start going to Pettus or a different office maybe more convenient, that’s not going to help this office when it comes time to recalculate, because it will be recalculated based on the usage.”
Mackey Torres is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5219, or at regional@mySouTex.com.