Woody Creek post office hours on the chopping block

Michael Mclaughlin
The Aspen Times
Woody Creek postmaster Sherry Mahoney will lose her full-time work status in January 2015 if current postal cutback plans stay as scheduled.
Leigh Vogel/The Aspen Times |

The days of a full-time postal center in Woody Creek appear to be numbered.

The Woody Creek post office is among the 13,000 post offices across the U.S. going through a review process known as the Post Plan. The plan is designed to “right size” smaller post offices throughout the country. All post offices at a certain workload rating are scheduled to have window-service hours reduced, including the Woody Creek location.

The post offices included in the plan will have their hours reduced by Jan. 10, and any full-time postmasters at those offices will lose their full-time status.

The Postal Service has offered several options for the postmasters facing a reduction in force, including buyout incentives, early retirement options and the opportunity to find different employment within the Postal Service.

Woody Creek Postmaster Sherry Mahoney is one of the postal employees who will lose their full-time status in January. She said none of the proposed options will likely work for her without relocating, which isn’t in her plans.

“That’s why I didn’t really consider moving to the Old Snowmass post office last year when that position was offered,” she said. “I chose to stay here because Woody Creek is my community, and I love the customers here.”

In June, the Postal Service sent out a local survey soliciting community input on several options for the Woody Creek post office. The survey cover letter says that the Postal Service intends to reduce the Woody Creek post office to six hours of window service each weekday while keeping the 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday hours the same.

The survey offers four choices to determine the best course of action once the Woody Creek post office reduces its hours. None of the options gives a choice of keeping the post office at its current schedule.

One option is to keep the office open at the proposed reduction to six hours per weekday and keep weekend hours as they currently stand.

The second option votes for a discontinuance study for the post office and provide roadside mailbox delivery. The third option votes for a discontinuance study and finding a suitable alternative post office location operated by a contractor, usually a local business. The fourth option is for a discontinuance study while providing a different P.O. box service from another nearby post office.

There’s also an additional comments section on the survey where the public can add something other than the four options provided.

Mahoney said the response to the survey has been huge.

“I sent in around 500 surveys on Tuesday that customers have dropped off,” she said. “The community support has been amazing.”

The Postal Service has set a meeting at the Woody Creek Community Center at 6:30 p.m. on July 31 to answer questions and provide more information about the Post Plan.

At the meeting, local postal management staff plans to share the results of the community survey, but the Postal Service will not make a final decision regarding the Woody Creek office until after the meeting.

Mahoney has been encouraging her customers to show up at the meeting as a sign of support.

“I’m hoping for a miracle,” she said. “Or at the least for as many people as possible to make the July 31 meeting. It’s probably their last chance to voice their opinions to the Postal Service.”

David Rupert, the postal spokesman for Colorado, said despite having to tighten its collective budget, the Postal Service is committed to offering as much service as possible to its customers.

“We appreciate our local communities and our small towns,” Rupert said. “Those communities and the Postal Service is what ties America together. We have a real commitment to small America. In tight times, we may have to make some cutbacks, but we’re committed to keeping the Woody Creek post office open.”