Efforts to gut postal service
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe has plans to make centralized mail delivery the standard throughout the country. In the next 10 years, if you have a street where your mailbox is on your house or at the end of your driveway, you may be required to walk a block down the street to a central box unit for you and your 50 neighbors to receive mail. The post offices in smaller communities have eliminated the local postmaster and full-time workforce, along with reducing hours. The post office used to be a community meeting spot, often located out of the local general store. Maybe the higher-ups in the post office are hoping to bring back that community atmosphere by having you meet your neighbor on a blustery January day at the end of the block.
Of a more immediate concern to me is the effort the post office is making to convince the owners of our beautiful and historic downtown buildings to place central mailboxes in these buildings. There are actually plans coming down the road to make businesses in the downtown accept mail delivery at one of these boxes on the corner. Local postal management has already announced that many owners of our historic buildings have been sold this option.
I remember about six years ago when I delivered downtown Rutland, talking to Mark Foley about plans for the post office to have a central box in the lobby of the Service Building. At the time he expressed his pride in the existing beauty and historic architecture of what was the tallest building in Vermont when built in the 1930s. He told me he would never let that happen.
I will be retiring Aug. 2 from the Rutland Post Office after 34 years. I always enjoyed the opportunity to have that personal connection with the people I had the pleasure to serve as a letter carrier. It will be a sad day when that personal connection is lost due to cost cutting and reduced service.
KELLY M. SOCIA