ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lobby was open around the clock to patrons until January vandalism caused officials to curtail hours.
Residents of the western New Mexico community of Ramah aren’t happy with the new hours at the post office, put into effect after vagrants trashed the post office lobby in January, the Cibola Beacon reported.
Some 50 community members have signed petitions protesting the quality and limited access to service at the post office, the Beacon said.
“We, the residents of El Morro Valley area, are currently underserved by the U.S. Post Office in Ramah,” said the petition, which claims that restricting access to post office boxes has created an unnecessary hardship, the paper reported.
Before the vandalism, the lobby was open 24 hours a day, according to the Beacon.
New hours, put into effect on Jan. 28, limit patrons’ access to the post office to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Beacon said.
“Our office was recently notified by the U.S. Postal Service that vandals and vagrants have caused considerable damage to the Ramah Post Office lobby and post office box area,” Jim Dumont, Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s field representative for constituent services, wrote residents in January. “As a result, postal officials have had little choice but to lock the doors after business hours. The Ramah postmaster regrets any inconvenience.”
Jessica Borchert, Sen. Tom Udall’s deputy press secretary, told the Beacon that Udall’s staff was aware of the problems with the post office and is working on a solution “which we hope to have soon.”
Barbara Wood, a customer relations coordinator with the U.S. Postal Service’s Albuquerque office, told the Beacon that the USPS currently uses contracted services to serve 221 Rural Free Delivery patrons in the Ramah area and that the Ramah post office has a total of 724 post office boxes, of which somewhere between 607 and 650 are in use.
Mike Flores, the postal service’s operations manager in Albuquerque, has agreed to reopen the post office lobby to its previous hours on a trial basis, Wood told the Beacon.