Silverthorne and Dillon post offices continue to see staffing struggles

The Silverthorne Post Office is pictured with “Now Hiring” signs on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Staffing shortages continue to impact the office's services as some residents haven’t gotten their mail in a week.
Lindsey Toomer/Summit Daily News

The United States Postal Service is still struggling to fully staff the Silverthorne and Dillon post offices, leading to more mail delays for residents.

While residents say they sympathize with the pressure the few workers at the post offices are under, folks simply want to get their mail. Several Silverthorne residents have reported going at least a week without receiving their letters and packages.

Postal Service spokesperson James Boxrud said they are still working to address staffing issues at the two northernmost Summit County offices. He said they just hired an additional employee who will be starting soon in Dillon, and he said they are still sending two people up from Breckenridge daily. Currently, there are four employees between the Dillon and Silverthorne offices.

Boxrud also said there will be a three-person team from Denver coming to town Thursday, Oct. 7, to help sort mail, prepare for ballots going out early next week and to “assess the delivery condition.”

“It’s kind of like a team to assess, ‘Hey, what’s going on? What kind of staffing do we need up here permanently?'” Boxrud said. “We’re probably going to borrow from some of our other offices and put people up in hotels.”

Boxrud said he hasn’t seen staffing issues like this across the state, and he attributed the local difficulties to the cost of living in Summit County. He said Aspen has been well controlled because post office employees are on a housing list designating them as essential service workers.

“It’s hard to pay somebody $20 an hour when they have to pay rents of an excess of two grand,” Boxrud said.

Silverthorne resident Henry Rissier said he hasn’t gotten mail in over a week. He said he went to the Silverthorne Post Office Tuesday, Oct. 5, and was told that mail has been suspended until further notice due to a variety of reasons. He went again Wednesday and still had no mail.

“This seems to be a colossal management failure,” Rissier said. “It seems like somebody within the postal system should be able to figure out a way around the problem.”

Boxrud said he didn’t know why any customers were told mail was “suspended,” but he noted that local clerks did communicate that they hadn’t gotten through all of the mail recently, which triggered the plans to send a team from Denver Thursday and to continue sending folks from Breckenridge every day.

“We appreciate the patience of our customers in Silverthorne and Dillon as we work through this staffing issue,” Boxrud said in an email.

John Longhill said he is grateful for the work the post office employees are doing, despite not getting his mail for a week.

“They’re working their butts off, and they just don’t have enough people,” Longhill said. “… It’s not possible for one person to do all that.”

Silverthorne resident Arturo Fortoul said he also hasn’t gotten mail in a week or so. He went to the counter at the Silverthorne Post Office on Wednesday, Oct. 6, and said the clerk was working alone and looked frazzled.

“We’re waiting on some important things in the mail, and I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Fortoul said. “I mean everybody in the county is in the same situation, but the difference is the postal system is a huge entity. And if they wanted to, or they get enough complaints at the district office, they will probably find a way to send somebody down temporarily.”

Fortoul said he appreciates the work those in the post office are doing given the circumstances.

“I’ve never had any issue at the post office whatsoever,” Fortoul said. “They’ve always been short staffed and stressed, and I’ve never had anybody there be anything more than polite and attentive. I just want to be able to get my mail.”

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