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Wadena postal workers positive in light of Saturday delivery drop

Randy Peterson, a 23-year employee of the Wadena Post Office, makes a stop on his carrier route. USPS recently announced the elimination of Saturday delivery starting on Aug. 10. Photo by Zach Kayser, Pioneer Journal

Starting this summer, the U.S. Postal Service will cease letter delivery on Saturdays, a cost-saving move that will affect Wadena in some ways.

Aug. 10 will see the halting of all deliveries on Saturday except for packages, said Pete Nowacki, USPS spokesman. Nowacki added that those customers who receive deliveries at a post office box will see no change at all, and emphasized that those who receive prescriptions through carrier routes will still get their medication since the Saturday change applies only to non-parcel mail.

Wadena Postmaster Jeff Zimmerman has been a firsthand witness to the local effects of the money troubles that have forced the postal service to cut back.

"I'm short-staffed here in Wadena," Zimmerman said. "I'm not complaining, my people aren't complaining. They know the company's going through a hard time."

Zimmerman said other cost-saving measures have included cutting starting wage and consolidating post office administration.

"Right now, I am in charge of Bertha," Zimmerman said. "They've eliminated the postmaster position and turned the office over to me. I'll be picking Hewitt up in 2014."

However, the Wadena employees are quick to see the silver lining in the newest policy change. Zimmerman said the elimination of Saturday service might get Capitol Hill to finally take decisive action and address the deeper financial issues facing the USPS.

"There have been a couple of bills that have been sitting out there for three years which could have really eliminated a lot of our current financial problems," Zimmerman said. "We're just kind of sitting out there in limbo."

Randy Peterson, a Wadena mail carrier who has walked a route for 23 years, was also optimistic about the changing times. He said he looks forward to having Saturdays off.

"I guess it gets to a point where you've gotta decide what's best," Peterson said. "I guess that's their decision."