Hours to change at the Woody Creek post office | AspenTimes.com

Hours to change at the Woody Creek post office

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

The future of the Woody Creek post office appears to be set with a reduction in operation hours coming Jan. 9, despite the efforts of many community members to keep the status quo.

The Woody Creek post office is among 13,000 post offices across the United States that went through a review process known as the POST Plan, designed to adjust the hours at the nation's smaller post offices. All post offices at a certain workload rating are scheduled to have window-services hours reduced, including the Woody Creek office.

Beginning Jan. 9, Woody Creek will have its postal hours cut from seven hours a day to six, with the two open hours on Saturday staying the same.

On Oct. 31, Woody Creek postmaster Sherry Mahoney turned in her resignation, which she was required to do by Nov. 3, then re-applied for the part-time postmaster position.

"I could have applied for another full-time postmaster position at a different location, but I want to stay in Woody Creek," Mahoney said. "This is my community, and I'm loyal to my people. I haven't heard back about getting the new position. I'm presuming I'm going to get it, but nothing is certain in this world."

Six weeks ago, several community members organized a mass mailing to all Woody Creek post office users, encouraging them to contact their elected officials for help resolving the cutback to the window-service hours and to look into the how the U.S. Postal Service determined such cutbacks.

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A representative from Sen. Michael Bennett's office reached out to the U.S. Postal Service and received a copy of the formula used to determine future hours for postal centers.

"It's very convoluted," Woody Creek resident Valerie Braun said. "The representative that obtained it couldn't explain the process."

According to the formula, the U.S. Postal Service evaluated the workload based upon the amount of retail business, the number of post office boxes and the amount of mail sorted for delivery.

The formula calculates the earned workload based upon the amount of mail moving through the postal center added to the hours spent performing transactions on the window, minus time doing postmaster record-keeping duties. Those totals are then divided by the number of service days for the year.

The measurable workload, through those calculations, supports six hours of operation per weekday. The U.S. Postal Service did not make any reductions in Saturday hours.

Braun and other community residents still find it hard to believe that the U.S. Postal Service didn't consider how Mahoney treats her customers as part of the formula.

"The Postal Service should want as many people like Sherry as they could get," Braun said. "She's quick, efficient and can really multitask. You know you're going to get a friendly greeting when you walk into that post office. She also has her finger on the pulse of this community."

Ellen Anderson is an Aspen Village resident but chooses to receive her mail at the Woody Creek Post Office. She's against the loss of hours at the Woody Creek station.

"We're losing access to a valuable community asset," Anderson said. "I don't think the Postal Service was ever interested in the social element we enjoy at our post office. Sherry is a huge reason people enjoy using that facility. She's the epitome of what a postmaster should be. She's cheerful, helpful and professional. Sherry is an amazing public servant."

Mahoney says she carries no bitterness toward the situation, although she'll likely have to find another part-time job to make ends meet.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do," Mahoney said. "I'm not the type of person to dwell on the negative. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had. Hopefully, change is good."

mmclaughlin@aspentimes.com

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