Study looks at mail processing move from here to FargoWhile the operations at the Jamestown Post Office continue just as they have for decades, behind the scenes a study is going on that is looking at shipping a majority of work to Fargo.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
While the operations at the Jamestown Post Office continue just as they have for decades, behind the scenes a study is going on that is looking at shipping a majority of work to Fargo.
“We do things in different ways depending on the size of the facility and the size of the workload,” said Pete Nowacki, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, who is based in Minneapolis.
Anything mailed in Jamestown gets processed here. That’s basically everything that happens to a letter between pickup and delivery, including canceling and sorting.
The Area Mail Processing Study is looking at mail volumes and transportation methods at Jamestown, Fargo’s processing capabilities and the potential savings from relocating processing from Jamestown to Fargo.
“Maybe it’s commendable when you take a look at a study like this that we couldn’t go forward without impacting service in a negative way, so then we can’t go forward with it,” Nowacki said.
The Jamestown branch currently processes local mail and mail from the 51 zip codes that start with 584, he said.
That means that a letter sent from Jamestown to Carrington currently gets processed in Jamestown and delivered to Carrington.
If processing was relocated, the same letter from Jamestown would be shipped to Fargo and processed, delivered back to Jamestown and then delivered to Carrington — all in the same time period.
This study is looking at “What is it about doing it at Fargo that’s going to make it work more quickly and efficiently?” Nowacki said.
Relocating services would also mean relocating jobs.
“If a position has to be eliminated because of mail processing we have to reassign them,” he said.
The postal employees’ union requires that employees be relocated and not terminated. The number that could potentially be relocated isn’t decided.
“We have no idea of knowing how many positions could be potentially impacted at this time,” Nowacki said.
Jamestown currently has 15 clerks. Nowacki said he could not recall any employee relocation here — although his records do not go all the way back to when the post office opened in Jamestown in 1872.
If processing is moved to Fargo, Jamestown would still have a post office with retail capabilities and delivery functions.
Jamestown currently processes between 8,000 and 15,000 pieces of mail a day. Because Fargo processes a much larger amount, more of the process is automated, which can be more efficient.
This study comes on the heels of the U.S. Postal Service seeing a 20 percent decline in mail volume over the past couple of years. In three years the ammount of mail being processed in Jamestown has dipped by roughly 3 million pieces to 11,785,000 for the fiscal year of 2010.
The study will be completed this month and if the decision to relocate processing is made a public meeting will be held.
“If we do go forward there will be a public meeting and we’ll announce that 15 days in advance,” Nowacki said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org