Service representatives had to say pertaining to the proposed consolidation of services from the Market Street location, to the Cheraw Carrier Annex facility located at 91 Calvary Lane and Hwy 9.
On Oct. 7, a public informational meeting was held at the Cheraw Community Center to discuss the hot topic of the evening and to educate those who utilize the Market Street Post Office and others, regarding the issue. U.S. Postal Service Program Review Coordinator, Craig Greer, Consumer Affairs Manager, Darcus Gordon, District Communications Coordinator, Harry Spratlin and Growth Management Coordinator-South Carolina District, Bryan Cramer, were present in addition to Cheraw's Market Street post office Postmaster, Angela Hennigan and Customer Service Supervisor, Rachael Williams. All were on hand to answer questions, hear the voices of the citizens regarding the proposed move and to inform the citizens about the collecting of data from the meeting, which they will present to the District office in Columbia. "We are here tonight to address the U.S. Postal Service's proposed consideration of possibly relocating its services that are currently at the Cheraw Market Street Post Office, to the newer building located at 91 Calvary Lane, here in Cheraw," said Gordon. "It seems that there
might have been some misconceptions about the issue, therefore; we have been going around the state trying to educate customers on what we are wanting to do. I want to stress that we are not a sloppy operation and we want everyone here tonight to know that no decisions have been made at this time. This session tonight is strictly informational and there is no predetermination that the Cheraw Post Office is going to close. We are only in the "gathering information" stage," stressed Gordon. During the meeting, Greer also presented a presentation on the aspects as to why the Postal Service is considering this move, simulating an overall picture of the idea. "Due to the increase in automation, our operations now require less floor space. At least 30 percent of our retail transactions are now conducted through alternate access sites. We have already utilized consolidations in the past in Columbia, Charleston and Greenville,"
said Greer. Greer also highlighted on some of the strategies that the Postal Service is also considering. "The United States Postal Service
currently have 641,000 employees, 32,741 Post Offices and 221,000 vehicles. When gas goes up a penny, Postal Service costs rise $8 million. Congress has already requested a five-day delivery but that has been postponed until 2011. The bottom line is, that there is no government bailout for the United States Postal Service", Greer added. "How do we get to the situation where we are considering these
consolidations? We had a $ 7.1 billion loss shortfall this year. The United States Postal Service is business like any other. It does not receive government subsidiaries," stressed Greer. S.C. Rep. Ted Vick stood voiced his most definite opinion and added that he and Cheraw Town officials are currently planning a trip to Washington, D.C. in hope to save the old Market Street post office from consolidation. "We will take this to Washington and we are going to fight this issue. We're having to put this all together really fast. We've been told that the fight is in Washington so that's where we're going," said Vick. During the question and answer portion of the meeting, Cheraw Chamber of Commerce Chairman Charles Skipper announced that he had received 25 letters from local citizens with serious concerns. "I have at least 25 letters here from concerned citizens of Cheraw asking that the Market Street post office remain as it is, and not close. If this happens, it is going to leave a huge void here if it is gone from downtown," said Skipper. "What have you gained from that?" A former Postal Service employee of 30 years for the Cheraw post office said, "I don't care what you do, you can't get better than the old post office on Market Street." Cheraw Mayor Scott Hunter stressed to the postal committee, "We have a very passionate population here. We want to be involved as you move forward and would like also to be kept informed as to the progress of the matter." Other concerns that were mentioned include money orders purchases, stamp purchases, the walking distance from the downtown area of Cheraw to the Cheraw Carrier Annex facility and several other issues. On Monday, another Cheraw resident and former Postal Service employee, Wayne Johnson said, "It works both ways. It's not fair to the people on Hwy. 9 either who have to come to the one on Market Street." Cheraw Councilman Mickey Workman/retired Postmaster asked, "Whatever
happened to the word service? He continued, "You just don't see that anymore. In my view, it seems it would be better to close the smaller post offices than the one on Market Street. If you shut the one down on Market Street, you are going to lose the personal relationship with the customers." As the meeting winded down, the U.S. Postal Service representatives assured everyone that each concern and opinion will be reviewed by the
appropriate staff and also reminded them that, as of yet, no decisions have been made and nothing is set in stone, as of yet. For future reference, Greer said questionnaires will be accepted through the end of October and local citizens can contact the District Office in Columbia until then with any other concerns.