CINCINNATI — The Clifton post office was slated to have its hours reduced, starting next week, until Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a statement saying he was halting all changes to the postal service until after the 2020 election.
Initially, a letter sent to residents in Clifton stated the Burnet Woods location would move to reduced hours starting August 22.
"I was told yesterday that they weren't removing their machines...and as early as this morning, I had a maintenance employee call me and tell me he was taking a machine out yesterday," said Jim Sizemore, president of the Greater Cincinnati Local American Postal Workers Union.
Clifton resident and treasurer of Clifton Town Meeting, Gerald Checco, said he was worried about the lack of transparency or real communication about the changes coming to local post offices and service. The Clifton Town Meeting wrote to state lawmakers, begging them to intervene, with little response.
"That's a major disruption of quality of life for everybody...but also voting and many of our citizens are feeling more comfortable about bringing the mail to the post office," said Checco.
According to the statement from DeJoy, hours will no longer be cut for any locations and mailboxes and mail processing machines will stay put, for now. He did not state whether or not areas that have already been affected by removed boxes, machines and shortened hours would have services restored.
"I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective and work towards those reforms will commence after the election," the statement reads.
Sizemore said until Monday, processing machines from the Dalton Street post office were still being removed and remain offline and unusable, which does impact service.
"It causes a log jam," he said.
Checco said he and other residents hope, moving forward, there will be more transparency around the changes coming to the postal service. He said he fears plans resuming after the election could only lead to greater cuts and delays in service down the line.
"If you cut the hours in such a way that is extremely inconvenient, that people are not going to use, the narrative would be developed that because people are not using it, because of the hours, then suddenly the post office is not doing the amount of business it needs to stay open," said Checco. "So it is creating the conditions to make the post office irrelevant."
Read Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's full statement below:
WASHINGTON, DC — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued the following statement today:
“The United States Postal Service will play a critical role this year in delivering election mail for millions of voters across the country. There has been a lot of discussion recently about whether the Postal Service is ready, willing and able to meet this challenge.
I want to make a few things clear:
The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall. Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards. The American public should know that this is our number one priority between now and election day. The 630,000 dedicated women and men of the Postal Service are committed, ready and proud to meet this sacred duty.
I am announcing today the expansion of our current leadership taskforce on election mail to enhance our ongoing work and partnership with state and local election officials in jurisdictions throughout the country. Leaders of our postal unions and management associations have committed to joining this taskforce to ensure strong coordination throughout our organization. Because of the unprecedented demands of the 2020 election, this taskforce will help ensure that election officials and voters are well informed and fully supported by the Postal Service.
I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election. In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.
I want to assure all Americans of the following:
In addition, effective Oct. 1, we will engage standby resources in all areas of our operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.
- Retail hours at Post Offices will not change.
- Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
- No mail processing facilities will be closed.
- And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.
I am grateful for the commitment and dedication of all the men and women of the Postal Service, and the trust they earn from the American public every day, especially as we continue to contend with the impacts of COVID-19. As we move forward, they will have the full support of our organization throughout the election.”