By BILL SHEA
The customer service window at the Barnum Post Office would be open just two hours a day on weekdays beginning next year under a plan introduced Thursday by a postal official.
The customer service hours at the post offices in Dayton and Duncombe would also be trimmed. In Dayton, the customer service window would be open six hours a day on weekdays while in Duncombe it would be open four hours.
The Saturday hours at all three post offices would remain unchanged, and residents would still have the same access to their mailboxes.
None of the post offices would close.
''There's no plans at this time to close any post office,'' said Rory Sullivan, the manager of post office operations for all communities that have a zip code that begins with 505. ''It's a total about-face from where we were a year ago.''
Sullivan visited all three post offices Thursday afternoon and evening to announce the proposed new hours at a series of lightly attended public meetings.
There was no strong public reaction to the proposals during those meetings. A few residents asked questions, and others indicated they were happy the post offices were remaining open.
In Barnum, the postal customer service hours are now 11:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on weekdays.
The proposal calls for changing those hours to noon to 2 p.m. However, that may be changed, according to Sullivan.
''That is up for some debate,'' he said.
Whatever new hours are eventually selected for that post office will go into effect in February or March, according to Sullivan. He added that the public will receive notice of the new hours 30 days in advance of them going into effect.
The lobby where the mailboxes are will remain open 24 hours a day.
Mail for the North Central Ag Industrial Park east of Barnum is handled through the Fort Dodge Post Office and will not be impacted by the changes announced Thursday.
The Dayton Post Office customer service counter is now open from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
The new proposed hours are 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Saturday hours there will remain 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Customer service hours at the Duncombe Post Office would be trimmed to four hours a day. The proposed new hours are from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Sullivan said the Postal Service will try to make the changes needed to have the mailbox lobby in Duncombe open 24 hours a day. He added that parcel lockers will be installed so that residents can pick up packages when the customer service counter isn't open. He said when a resident receives a package, a note and a key to a parcel locker will be placed in their mailbox.
The proposed changes in Dayton and Duncombe won't go into effect until February or March.
Sullivan said the new schedules will enable the Postal Service to match its working hours to its workload as it faces mounting financial losses.