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Manning could lose its post office

U.S. Postal service officials said the Manning Post Office may be closed indefinitely due to the inability to fill the position of a soon-retired postmaster. A community meeting is Tuesday evening at the Community Center to discuss possible changes.

Postmaster Cheryl Borth will retire on June 30 and if the position is not filled the post office is expected to go under emergency suspension the following day, USPS Spokesperson Pete Nowacki said.

It is not clear what will happen to the post office.

"This is not necessarily a permanent closure," he said, adding that if the position was filled after the suspension the office may be put back in business but permanent closure is possible. "It is indefinite."

The post office has 45 rented mailboxes that would shut down and the meeting is to inform the public of alternate accommodations, Nowacki said.

"Part of the meeting is to let people give us ideas and let us know what they are thinking about," he said.

Manning resident Nancy Gunwall said she expects there might be a lot of questions.

"I guess one thing is if this is a for-sure thing," she said, adding that she was curious if residents would put up individual boxes or if cluster boxes would be supplied. She said many residents were interested where they would pick up packages and send outgoing items.

Nowacki said those are the types of inquiries that will be discussed at the meeting.

Borth said it has been difficult filling the position.

"It is public knowledge that I have not been able to hire someone for three years," she said, adding that there have been advertisements in newspapers and at the post office. The advertisements have been for $9.45 per hour, Borth said.

Gunwall suspects the wage might be a cause for the difficulty.

"The wages are not competitive to what they could get working at other jobs around here," she said.

Nowacki said it was undetermined the effect of salary had in this circumstance, but wages have played a role in different locations.

"We do have a contracted amount and in some cases it is tough to compete when there is so much hiring going on at other businesses," he said.

Manning resident Vernetta Olson rents a mailbox and she said closure might cause some inconvenience as she "gets up in years."

"It has been very handy," she said. "We really hate to see it close."

Tuesday's meeting is at 7 p.m.