Postal service cuts cause concern

Sept. 6, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The postal service may also eliminate Saturday deliveries.

If the postal service gets approval from Congress, layoffs are likely. And neighborhood post offices may be closed depending on traffic and revenue. But some hope the post office will consider more that the dollar signs before closing down offices.

Chicago's main post office is getting caught up after the long holiday weekend. The operation is run 24 hours a day. But the retail center is not. That was part of an attempt to keep the USPS profitable with online services increasingly encroaching on business.

"The way society has changed, the way the economy has changed and the way mailing habits have changed, they're forcing us to have to change as well," said Mark Reynolds, U.S. Postal Service, Chicago.

On Tuesday, U.S. Post Master General Patrick Donahoe appealed to Congress for help reducing service, staff and benefits.

"The post office requires radical changes," said Donahoe.

Locally, the postmaster is considering closing 14 post offices, including in the suburbs of Riverdale, LaGrange Park and Hillside. In the city, 11 post offices, most of them on the South and West sides, may be closed. Many of them are in Congressman Danny Davis' district. He suggests the criteria for closing a post office should include the need for public service in low income communities with older residents.

"Many of these individuals, quite frankly, don't have all of the telecommunication devices and all of the electronic devices that people use. And so they need the postal service," said Davis.

At a regularly scheduled town hall meeting with Congressman Davis, some South Side residents voiced concern about service leaving community.

"The crisis is global. It's not just in the poor neighborhoods. So why are the poor neighborhoods being targeted," said Desiree Edwards.

"If the post office is the first thing that goes, what's next? It could be many other things.There are already so many things lacking," said Ryan Jeter.

The postal service has already begun reviewing the stations on the list for possible closure. The local spokesman for the postal service expects that an area would not lose all post offices on the list. Some service would remain.

A formal decision about which post offices to close is expected this fall.

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