Maybell meeting outlines potential postal closure
October 25, 2011
More than 60 Maybell residents attended a meeting Friday night at Maybell Elementary School to discuss the fate of their local post office.
Marcela Rivera, post office review coordinator for the Colorado/Wyoming District, directed the meeting, which was similar to previous community gatherings in Hamilton and Savery, Wyo.
Maybell resident Lois Stoffle said she was pleased with the attendance and support from the community, but was disappointed in the absence of local elected officials.
"Not one of our local elected government representatives attended," Stoffle said.
She was particularly disheartened Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers did not attend.
"Tom Mathers is the commissioner for our area and he didn't bother to come," Stoffle said. "He's been sent several letters from people in Maybell requesting his assistance and he hasn't made any comment or contacted any of us."
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Mathers said he has been working with legislators and wasn't sure attending the meeting would be an effective use of his time because he is already familiar with the subtleties of the issue.
"We've (Moffat County Commission) been working with our legislators and they've told us there's not a whole lot we can do," Mathers said. "I'm not sure what I could have done or what new things would have been talked about if I went.
"The post office is in bad shape and I think this is purely a business decision."
Stoffle said Maybell residents have also sent letters to U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall.
Todd Hagenbuch, northwest regional representative for Bennet, attended the meeting and updated residents on what is being done on a national level to keep rural post offices open.
Hagenbuch told attendees that Bennet and Udall have issued letters to post office officials.
One letter, dated June 8, was sent to Postmaster General Patrick Donahue. A second was issued Sept. 7 to Ruth Goldway, chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Hagenbuch said Bennet is sympathetic to the issue and will continue to fight to keep rural post offices open in Colorado, but conceded that the final decision is in the hands of the postal service.
"He (Hagenbuch) basically said there's not a whole lot left to do except continue to write letters," Stoffle said.
During the meeting Rivera outlined USPS procedures regarding studies being conducted on potential post office closings, Stoffle said.
She also told residents they could appeal to the Postal Regulatory Commission on what makes their branch vital to the community for up to 30 days after a final notice determination is issued, which could come sometime in the next year to a year and a half.
The PRC is not the deciding agency, however, but will be providing a non-binding advisory opinion to USPS once the final determination is released.
The PRC can either affirm the USPS decision or remand the decision back to USPS for further action. The PRC cannot order USPS to keep a post office open.
Rivera also presented possible alternatives to a "manned" post office including rural highway boxes, cluster boxes and maintaining the Maybell structure as an unmanned facility.
Stoffle said residents were lukewarm to those ideas and voiced concerns about certain medications that would be susceptible to extreme temperature changes and that Browns Park residents would have to travel an additional 60 miles each way if they were forced to conduct post office business in Craig.
USPS is currently conducting closure studies at 3,651 branches nationwide in an effort to curb costs and manage an $8 billion debt. Post offices in Maybell, Hamilton and Slater and Savery and Dixon, Wyo., are some of the area offices being considered for shutdown.