Standing up for the ‘little guy’
by Keith Beebe
KANEVILLE—Kaneville residents on Nov. 1 attended a forum expecting to plead their case against the United State Postal Service’s pending decision to reduce Kaneville Post Office hours.
The same residents left the forum believing that they never really had a choice in the matter.
“(The USPS) made up their minds before we got there,” said Pat Hill, owner of Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville. “Afterwards, we all talked and basically said that we felt like we wasted our time.”
The meeting, which drew close to 60 residents, consisted of Huntley Postmaster Derek Strissel fielding questions and explaining the results of a USPS survey that was recently mailed to Kaneville residents. The survey asked whether the post office should realign its hours or close in favor of rural delivery or service through a local company or nearby post office.
Many Kaneville Township residents’ mailboxes have an Elburn, Maple Park or Big Rock address, and those residents didn’t receive the survey. Nevertheless, of the 114 surveys that were returned to the USPS, 89 percent were in favor of hour realignment, 3 percent chose a delivery option, and 0 percent were in favor of the local company or nearby post office options.
Nine percent of the surveys were returned with no selection indicated.
The realignment in hours is a part of the USPS’ “Post Plan” process, which seeks to navigate the service’s 50 percent decrease in first-class mail over the last five years. Strissel said the Kaneville Post Office only requires four hours per day.
As a result, Kaneville Post Office’s hours will likely be 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Strissel said the plan for hour realignment will go into effect sometime during the new year. No date is currently set; the USPS will next review its Post Plan in 2014.
“The community prefers the post office open, so that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
That explanation wasn’t good enough for some residents, however, as many stated that they thought the forum was an opportunity for the public to make its case against the reduction of hours. Strissel said the Post Plan was a solution to discontinuance.
“It’s not a continuance; it’s the beginning of closing,” one resident said during the meeting.
Hill said Kaneville had a great turnout for the forum, but residents were “totally and completely disgusted with the outcome.”
“We’re a unique town, and we don’t want to lose our identity. We want to keep our postguy.”
That postguy is Roger Fronek, who serves as officer in charge at the Kaneville Post Office. Fronek drew high praise from several residents in attendance during the forum.
“We’d be lost without Roger,” one resident said.
Kaneville resident Joann Murdock during the meeting said Kaneville has experienced growth and will continue to as the economy recovers. Another resident said she felt like the USPS was picking on the “little guy” by choosing to go after smaller post offices.
According to Hill, many Kaneville residents will write Congressman Randy Hultgren and ask him for help with the reduction in post office hours.
“Even if he can’t get us seven hours, hopefully he can get us six hours of operation,” Hill said.
Hill said that, prior to the meeting, she didn’t think hour realignment was a done deal.
“I thought that if the (USPS) saw how many people showed up, they’d reconsider. We don’t have to pay any taxes on the building,” she said.
“Halfway through the meeting, I could tell we were getting nowhere. It was like (Strissel) was reading from a script.
“I thought we were gonna show that we’re a strong community and we’re going to beat this thing. I was disheartened.”
Hill wasn’t the only one.
“I feel like our town just died,” said one resident in attendance.