Gilliam residents fear stamp out

Monday, September 19, 2011
(Maggie Menderski/Democrat-News)

Area Post Office Manager Cynthia Bolles explained 35 percent of all post office transactions occur outside 'brick and mortar' post offices.

"But that brick and mortar is part of our community," said Gilliam resident Mindee Grimes

(Maggie Menderski/Democrat-News)

In the last two weeks Bolles has traveled to rural communities providing facts regarding the U.S. Postal Service's financial crisis and the 3,653 post offices under evaluation. On Friday roughly two dozen residents voiced concerns at Gilliam City Hall about the potential closure.

While Bolles attributed much of the post office's financial crisis to Internet transactions and alternative mailing services, many expressed the Gilliam Post Office is the only service they'd ever used.

A few senior citizens in the crowd scoffed at the idea of using the Internet for communication, and one wanted to know how her medicine would be shipped to her. An Ebay seller said his business would be highly inconvenienced, if he had to ship packages from Slater.

Another said eliminating the post office could dissuade new businesses from forming in Gilliam and wondered how the closure might affect the school. One bold resident suggested closing the office in Slater and leaving the Gilliam Post Office alone.

"I didn't pick these 29 post offices, headquarters did," Bolles said.

Bolles answered each concern. If the post office closed, a local business could house a Village Post Office, which could handle certified mail, stamp purchases and potentially post office boxes. The U.S. Postal Service could also place a lockbox in town where mail and packages could be retrieved.

Bolles explained the postal service will study Gilliam's office needs, proximity to other post offices, the structural condition of the office, retail revenue transactions, community input, consumer access, the impact on employees, the cost savings and the long-term needs of the post office.

She stressed community concerns would be heard and urged the residents to fill out the surveys available at the post office, claiming the postal service does consider all aspects of each situation.

"You can't close a post office just because they won't make money," Bolles said.

Bolles told the crowd she even shot photos of the post office and the community to include in the study.

"But you didn't line all of us senior citizens up and get a picture of us," said Gilliam resident Evelyn Johnson. "That's who this is going to hurt."

Contact Maggie Menderski at mmenderski@marshallnews.com

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  • LOL...Close Slater and keep Gilliam open. That doesn't make much sense. IMHO closing Gilliam makes more sense than closing the other alternatives, as it is only a 3 mile drive between the two. Don't most Gilliam residents travel to Slater to shop at the grocery store or Dollar General?

    -- Posted by sapphireslipper on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 4:45 PM
  • Did anyone notice the time of this meeting? I don't believe it's in the story. The postal service called this meeting in Gilliam for 4:30 p.m. That is a time when people with regular hour days jobs can't attend. Does the postal service really want to hear from people who use the Gilliam post office?

    Small towns like Gilliam have been in money saving mode for the postal service for years. They don't get door-to-door delivery like larger towns but pick up mail at the post office. That makes the post office a social place to meet and chat. But it's also less service.

    -- Posted by former editor on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 7:40 PM
  • Scenario: If things were reversed... If there had only been a post office in Slater for the last several decades, not in Gilliam, and area residents were used to traveling there for postal services, and NOW they proposed putting a facility in Gilliam, would we not think it crazy? I don't know why one was needed in each town, anyway, from an entirely outside perspective. Seriously, why? We'll get used to it; this is simply moving the cheese, folks, not banning the mail entirely.

    Not to bash small towns, but the writing is on the wall, and we can't all have our wishes granted. Perhaps the community could band together and an individual or two could pilot a carrier service to/from Slater or where ever nearby. My post office closes before I get out of work, which just means I have to dig a little harder to get my stuff done at lunch or on Saturday. It'll be a rough adjustment at first, whatever changes happen to whichever small towns in the county/area...but if we can put a man on the moon, I'm pretty sure we can manage this. Heaven forbid that the residents of the community actually help each other in this regard! Buck up! As Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."

    -- Posted by somewhere out there on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 8:51 AM
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