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US Postal Service considers closing offices

July 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The U.S. Postal Service may soon be making some big cuts. In an effort to save money, the agency is considering closing thousands of post offices.

The postal service lost $8 billion last year and the cash-strapped agency is looking at what agencies to close. They are now looking at more than 3,600 offices, branches, and stations to determine if they should stay open. That's one in 10 of its retail offices.

"I don't like it because it's convenient, as I am sure it is for a lot of residents out here," said Hawthorne resident Dave Elan.

In recent years business has been on the decline, as more people turn to the internet and email as opposed to snail mail.

"Our volume has dropped almost 20 percent in the last three years," said Richard Maher from the U.S. Postal Service. "And we have had cumulative net losses of over $15 billion."

Most of the offices that are in review are located in rural areas. However offices in Southern California are also at risk, including 29 offices in Los Angeles County.

"We need the post offices," said Inglewood resident Fran Wallace. "Actually we can use a couple more, because when we come to this post office it's crowded."

"I don't do online banking because I don't trust the hackers," said Pat, an Inglewood resident only going by her first name. "It will affect my day because I will have to go farther to go to another post office."

But postal officials say they are looking into alternative sources, such as locating offices in local businesses, town halls, or community centers.

Coming under review doesn't mean that an office will close. In January the post office said it was reviewing 1,400 offices for closure. So far 280 have been closed and 200 have finished the review process and will remain open.

"No decisions have been made," said Maher. "And there is a public process that we follow. We notify the community, and there is community input."

And community members say that they will voice their opinions and rally to save their local post office.

"Technology cannot take the place totally of human service," said Pat. "I hope when everyone wakes up and figures that out it won't be too late."

The U.S. Postal Service operated more than 31,000 retail outlets across the country, down from 38,000 a decade ago.

In addition to closing the offices, the postal service has cut back on staff, as well as billions of dollars in operating costs. They have also considered terminating Saturday service.


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