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Letters to the editor: Warns about PO loss

By Walt Borla


Residents of Helper, Spring Glen, Carbonville, Kenilworth, Scofield and Clear Creek now receiving mail delivery from routes out of the Helper post office should be aware of plans by the Salt Lake District of the Postal Service to transfer the routes out of Helper and originate in the Price post office. They plan on doing this under a program known as the Delivery Unit Optimization , (DUO).

What effect will this have on the carriers of the Helper routes and the future of the Helper post office itself?

There presently are two city delivery routes in Helper, two rural routes and a contract route serving Kenilworth, Scofield and Clear Creek. By transferring these routes to Price an addition eight to 10 miles is added to each route before they make a single delivery. This means a disruption of delivery time to residents of these areas as they are now accustomed to. Delivery problems, vacation holds, what ever, will have to be referred to the Price postmaster, at times necessitating a trip to Price. Helper carriers will have their seniority integrated with Price carriers, those residing in Helper will be faced with a daily commute of 16 or more miles to get to work and back home.

May I cite an economic loss to business interests in Helper. Currently three post office delivery trucks are operating out of the Helper office plus two private vehicles. Fuel for these vehicles is purchased from Helper dealers as well as repair and upkeep service. All of this will be lost to Price dealers. In this day and age of emphasizing fuel conservation, this plan does not make sense. Also, what incentive will there be for carriers to reside in Helper if their work place is in Price

Implementing this plan means Helper will lose its postmaster. Our present postmaster has performed admirably. With the present work load of five routes he qualifies for a Level 18 position in postal ranking of postmasters. Taking the routes out of Helper will down grade the post office to a Level 11 or 13. The present postmaster will retain saved grace level for a two year period during which time he must accept a transfer to any vacancy occurring elsewhere at his grade level. Will Helper ever get another postmaster? Unlikely. Meanwhile adding the routes to the Price post office enhances the salary level of that postmaster because of added responsibility. I ask, where are the overall savings plus the disruption of service to residents of the North Carbon area.

Finally, what is the fate of the present post office building and the extensive grounds? The facility has been a show place on Main Street in Helper, a historic building housing a depression era mural and on the federal historical register. Will the Postal Service continue to maintain the building and grounds considering the limited activity projected there? If recent neglect is any indication, this is a question. The building has not had a paint job in almost 30 years, the hedge surrounding the property has been allowed to grow wild and in some cases, die away.

When I was postmaster we had a full time janitor. When Tillie Martinez retired several years ago the janitorial work was contracted out to a job cleaner. The current job cleaner does the best he can under the limited hours and remuneration he is

allowed. As a consequence the postmaster can be seen out cutting the lawn. Mrs. Martinez was cited several times for yard beautification awards by tthe Salkt Lake Tribune and the building was the pride and joy for her and the community of Helper.

Just what can Helper and North Carbon area residents do to protest this plan? Two things immediatelly. You can register a protest to the Salt Lake District Director of the Postal Service; Ken McArthur, Director Salt Lake District, U.S. Postal SErvice, 1760 West 2100 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84199. Secondly, register a complaint with U.S. Congressman Jim Matheson who represents this area. This can be done conveniently throug his local office representative, Pam Juliano, who maintains an office in the basement of the Carbon County Courthouse. Her telephone number is 435 636-3722. The fax number is 435 613-1834.

The postal service is obligated to send a letter to everyone on the Helper delivery routes explaing and announcing the change. May I suggest taht you do not agree to the change and make a notation on the letter that states "I do not approve of this" and return it to sender.

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