Customer Participation is Encouraged When Post Office Discontinuance Studies are Performed

NAPUS has received complaints from members of the Post Office Preservation Committee that some postal officials are in a hurry- up mode to schedule community meetings to discuss possible post office closings.  In some areas, customers from more than one community are told to travel to another location where several community meetings are being held at one time.  Postal Service policy encourages customer participation in communities where Post Office discontinuance studies are being performed.  Handbook PO 101 requires that community meetings be re-scheduled if  the original time is inconvenient to most customers.  Listed below are some important policy procedures in Handbook PO 101;


25 Community Meeting


A community meeting can be held anytime after the questionnaire is sent

(see 242.12) and before any final determination is expected to be made,

unless otherwise authorized by the Vice President, Area Operations, or the

Vice President, Delivery and Post Office Operations. A community meeting

should be forgone only where exceptional circumstances make a community

meeting infeasible, such as where the community no longer exists because

of a natural disaster or because residents have moved elsewhere.

At the community meeting, customers should be provided with an

explanation for the proposed change in service. State the advantages and

disadvantages for customers and for the Postal Service (for example, tell

customers whether their address will be affected and whether PO Box fees

will change if they choose service at a neighboring retail facility). Make it

clear that no final decision has been made. Do not argue or raise your voice

with customers. Always tell them the truth. If the answer to a customer’s

question is not apparent, obtain the customer’s name and address and

respond in writing after the meeting. Make notes of customer concerns and

responses for inclusion in the official record. However, do not tape the

meeting, because this inhibits open discussion. Immediately terminate the

meeting if you feel your safety or the safety of others is at risk.


Selecting Date and Location

The Marketing Manager should discuss the time and location of the

community meeting with the Postmaster, OIC, or other responsible

personnel. Be sure to schedule the meeting at a time that encourages

customer participation, such as during an evening or weekend. Potential

community locations include a community center, church meeting room, city

hall, school, or the postal retail facility. Designate a set time for the meeting,

but be flexible enough to extend the meeting if necessary to answer

customer questions. Dress appropriately for the community. If a second

meeting is warranted, plan and schedule it according to the same guidelines

as the initial meeting.


Notifying Customers

Notify customers of the community meeting date, time, and location at least

five to seven days in advance. If you receive information that the time is

inconvenient for most customers, reschedule the meeting at a more

convenient time.

Charlie Moser

August 31, 2011

source: NAPUS