Post offices in Cardwell, Crane, Redstone and Shawmut are being considered for closure in Montana, part of an effort that may result in the closure of 2,000 to 3,000 offices nationally.
Al DeSarro, spokesman for the West Area Region of the U.S. Postal Service, said the process could take up to nine months to complete. During that time, the USPS will look at the number of customer transactions completed per day, the office’s accessibility to other post offices and delivery services and the overall workload.
Some of the country’s more rural offices, including those in Montana, have as few as one or two employees. All four of the Montana offices being considered for closure are between eight and 13 miles of another office. There are 315 post offices statewide.
“This is a total pursuit of being as efficient as we can,” DeSarro said. “Especially with our reduced mail volume, which is our revenue, trying to manage the volume of the mail as efficiently as we can, and also our services.”
DeSarro said mail volume has dropped by 20 percent nationwide over the past three years because of the economy and the prevalence of the Internet.
“The postal service is losing about $23 million a day,” DeSarro said. “Gas prices continue to go up, and every time the cost of gas increases only by an average of 1 cent nation wide, that costs the postal service $6.5 million a year or more.”
He said the USPS has already saved $10 billion over the past three years through cost-saving programs and reducing the national workforce by 100,000 without layoffs.
“The postal service has an all-out effort to really save every cent we can,” DeSarro said. “The public really cares about the postal service and look at it like our post office in our town is part of our identity.”
The possible closures come soon after USPS announced the closure of the Big Sky District office in Billings, displacing 40 employees. The Big Sky District is transitioning to become a part of the Dakotas district office based in Sioux Falls.