Silverthorne town leaders meet with USPS officials in attempt to solve post office woes
Silverthorne town leaders are working to find solutions as Summit County residents experience ongoing issues with the Silverthorne and Dillon post offices.
For years, locals have struggled to get reliable mail service from U.S. Postal Service locations, but the issues seem to have gotten worse in recent months, said Silverthorne Town Councilmember Mike Spry. Silverthorne town officials have heard of residents going weeks without mail in their P.O. boxes, packages getting lost, mail being redirected and the overall cleanliness of the buildings faltering.
Some people found themselves being redirected from the Silverthorne office to Dillon or 37 miles away in Kremmling, town officials said.
The issue has been a point of frustration for town leaders, who say they don’t have any jurisdictional authority over the post offices because they are managed and run by the federal government.
“It’s a joke,” Spry said. “This is a management problem, and there is no management of that facility.”
Until recently, town leaders have struggled to get a response from the Postal Service about the concerns surrounding the offices. Spry said he would like to see better communication from the post offices so people could prepare for disruptions to their mail before they happen.
In recent months, the Silverthorne town leaders, along with town managers and mayors from communities across the mountain region, have been participating in meetings with representatives from the Postal Service. Town Manager Ryan Hyland said the meetings came about after multiple towns expressed concerns to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Joe Neguse.
So far the communities have held two meetings on Feb. 22 and March 31, which included town leaders from Avon, Eagle, Parachute, Gypsum, Buena Vista, Silverthorne, Vail, Steamboat Springs and Crested Butte.
Although the meetings have helped open the conversation, Hyland said much still needs to be done to improve the post office experiences.
“There’s some progress in that we are able to engage with human beings who work at the postal service, which is more than we’ve had in the past,” he said.
Many of the service issues at the post offices stem from staffing shortages. Right now, the Postal Service is looking to hire nine people to work at the Silverthorne, Dillon, Frisco and Breckenridge post offices, spokesman James Boxrud said in an email.
The Postal Service has worked to augment the staffing shortages by having workers from other locations work in Summit County when necessary. Currently, the post offices have one window clerk in training who will be able to work between Silverthorne and Dillon. The post offices are also currently interviewing two candidates for maintenance positions and have contracted with a cleaning service in the meantime, Boxrud said.
As with many community organizations, the postal service has struggled to hire people because of Summit County’s high cost of living and housing shortages, Boxrud said. The Postal Service is also working to offer “direct career hiring,” which will be an opportunity for workers who stay at the post office for more than 90 days to receive benefits, time off and pay raises, he said.
That excuse doesn’t cut it for Spry.
“This is a government job with government benefits, with weekends off, with paid holidays — all of these federal benefits that a lot of our businesses up here cannot compete with and provide,” Spry said. “My question is, if a lot of independent businesses up here are getting it done, why with that slate of benefits and that type of package can’t these guys staff?”
Hyland said the town is willing to work with the Postal Service to help connect workers with affordable housing, which the towns are heavily involved in developing.
“Communities are very frustrated, but the last thing we want to do is take that frustration out on the local employees,” he said.
The Postal Service apologizes to people who have been affected by the service disruptions, Boxrud said. The community leaders and Postal Service representatives plan to hold follow-up sessions in the near future.
“USPS is thankful for the opportunity to speak with this group and are committed to working with each town to address their individual needs to every extent possible,” Boxrud said in his email.
People who are interested in working for the post office can apply by visiting USPS.com/careers.
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