Mail call: Postal Service searching for residents to serve on advisory committee
By Bryan Horwath
At an informational meeting Tuesday night at the Dickinson Public Library, USPS Dakotas District outreach program manager Karen Fredrickson said her employer his accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on a postal consumer advisory council for Dickinson.
“This part of North Dakota is a little unique,” Fredrickson said. “This area is experiencing great growth and that’s not happening in most other parts of the country. We’d like to get a group going to help us understand the customer’s perspective on what their concerns are and what their expectations are.”
Calling the potential council “the voice of the citizens in Dickinson,” Fredrickson said CACs already exist in Watford City, Williston, Minot and Bismarck. The task the councils are charged with, Fredrickson said, is to help come up with solutions for issues that postal customers have been having in oil-impacted areas.
Though a community roundtable discussion hosted by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., on Jan. 10 in Dickinson was packed, Only three people joined Fredrickson and Dickinson Post Office acting postmaster Mary Kylander for Tuesday’s meeting on a snowy evening.
The council would ideally have 10 to 12 members and a chairperson, Fredrickson said. The commitee would meet on a bi-monthly basis.
Applications were mailed to all Dickinson P.O. box customers — about 1,400. Fredrickson added that an additional mailing of applications would likely take place.
The Dickinson Post Office has struggled in recent years with employee retention and with a number of facets associated with delivering the mail to its growing customer base largely because of energy-impacts in and around the city.
Long lines at the Dickinson branch also have become a norm in recent years, but Frederickson said the facility would likely be adding a self-serve kiosk later this year, possibly as early as May. Because of hiring difficulties, Fredrickson said Dickinson has been without a postmaster for “several years,” though she added that Bismarck is also currently without a postmaster.
Anyone interested in applying to be a part of the consumer advisory council is asked to contact Fredrickson at 605-333-2686 or to pick up an application at the Post Office, — located at 15 First St. E. — and return it by Feb. 18.