Schenectady County

Alplaus residents vow fight to keep their post office open

Alplaus residents plan to do whatever it takes to save their hamlet’s post office — including purcha

Alplaus residents plan to do whatever it takes to save their hamlet’s post office — including purchasing more post office boxes to make it more difficult for the U.S. Postal Service to relocate them.

That was one of the suggestions at a community forum attended by 50 people Tuesday at the Alplaus Fire Department.

“For our population, this is a huge turnout,” said John Shakeshaft Sr., who suggested the idea. “I don’t think any other community in the country can particularly match something like this.”

Shakeshaft said the post office, which is set to close Jan. 6, is as much a part of the identity of the roughly 200-member community as the fire department and the community church. Even when he goes overseas on military deployments, he said he looks forward to receiving a letter with the 12008 Alplaus zip code.

“There’s a community feeling here that doesn’t exist in a lot of other places,” he said.

Residents acknowledged it would be an uphill battle to save the facility, which is a privately owned satellite office under the direction of the Rexford Post Office. Alplaus Postmaster Kathy Boyle rents the building from the Alplaus Fire Department and contracts with the Postal Service to operate the facility.

Boyle received a letter earlier this month stating that the Postal Service’s new contract with the labor union representing clerks and front window employees states that more work must be done in-house by union members.

Alplaus Residents Association President Andy Gilpin said he received a letter from Postal Service spokeswoman Maureen Marion indicating that the labor contract was a done deal and the decision to close couldn’t be overturned. “ ‘We have been mandated to move forward and we will,’ ” he said, reading from the letter.

Despite the uphill battle, Gilpin said residents can make the case that Alplaus should stay open because the facility earns $40,000 annually in profits.

“Here’s a profitable contract station, and it’s adding to the revenue of the Postal Service when across the board the post office is suffering losses.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it would likely have a $5.1 billion loss for the year. It handled 3 billion fewer pieces of mail as more consumers are handling their transactions electronically.

Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, who joked that he worked in the mail room while attending Union College, blasted postal officials for not using common sense. “If I was going bankrupt, I would close down post offices that are losing money.”

Tedisco urged the crowd to lobby U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep Paul Tonko.

Resident Tom Kiernan said he considers it to be a safety issue. In the age of identity theft, he believes that mail in a post office box is more secure than in a mailbox at the end of a driveway.

Postal officials would likely move the post office boxes to the Rexford facility, which prompted a complaint from some in attendance that the location off Route 146 is difficult to access.

The residents resolved to continue their lobbying efforts. A total of 66 people had signed a petition as of Tuesday evening to keep the facility open.

Tedisco has already sent a letter to Tonko, and Glenville town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the Town Board is in the process of doing the same.

Koetzle pointed out that all hope is not lost. In 2009, postal officials reversed a decision to close the Scotia post office and earlier this year backed off on a plan to force the residents of Van Buren Road to move their mailboxes to the road. “It was the power of the people that got the post office to change course in both of those instances,” he said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply