In public address last year, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that USPS faces a defective pricing model, a decreasing effective operating model and mounting financial losses.
Here in Watkinsville, add to that the erosion of the hometown-feel of a community post office.
In November, mail carriers for all parts of Oconee County except those serving Bogart were required to pick up mail from the processing center in Athens.
Meanwhile, clerks were transferred out of the Watkinsville Post Office. And although the custodian was fired for cause, finding a replacement was not a priority, according to multiple sources within the office. This led to trash pile ups in the P.O. box cooridor.
Also this fall, the Oconee County Industrial Authority voted to sell the Watkinsville Post Office building to Postal Realty Trust, a private company that manages over 1,500 postal buildings across the country. That company will become the post office’s new landlord, rather than the county government.
The USPS 10-year Delivering for America Plan caused signficiant delays in mail and long lines at the counter. One carrier noted that she was not able to start her 77-mile route until 11:10 a.m., leaving only five hours of daylight to deliver to 386 mailboxes during the busiest time of year.
“We come to your house every day—rain, sleet or snow they say,” said one employee, reciting an original poem. “We watch the kids play. We’ve watched your family grow. We delivered the graduation pic; now they are all grown—the weddings and the parties we all know.”
For more on this story, see the Jan. 5 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website.