A public meeting has been scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25 at the Freistatt Community Building by representatives of the U.S. Postal Service to explain plans to close the Freistatt Post Office.
Notification of the closing was made by a postal official to Freistatt Mayor Mike Ortwein. The representative asked to secure the community building for the meeting but offered few details about the decision.
"I don't see how they are going to save that much money," Ortwein said. "They only have two employees and no carriers. The one full-time employee will be moved and the other is part-time."
Freistatt Postmaster Jane Mattlage confirmed she will still have a job in the system if the Postal Service chooses to close the facility. She said the Postal Service has committed to giving the community a chance to provide input on the decision.
Mattlage has been on the job since Oct. 27, 2007, and was sworn in as postmaster in June 2008. She began her career with the post office as a rural carrier in Monett in 1986.
Ortwein said it appeared there was very little that could be done to change the decision to close the small post office.
According to a list released by the Postal Service, the Freistatt and Stotts City post offices in Lawrence County, both of which have no mail processing facilities, are on the closing list. The Wentworth Post Office is also listed, as are offices in Avilla and Hurley.
The Freistatt Post Office was upgraded in 2007, making the position of postmaster fulltime. Freistatt has one of the more unusual post offices in that it is strictly general delivery, with no post office boxes and no carriers.
Of the 80 Freistatt utility customers, about 20 have signed up for Monett rural delivery. The rest rely on being able to pick up their mail at the post office.
Becky Spencer, the full-time officer in charge of the post office in Stotts City, said she is now the only employee at her facility. The one carrier she had was moved to the Pierce City Post Office on July 16. Unlike Freistatt, Stotts City has a post office box service.
No personal contact was made with a city official in Stotts City about a public hearing. A letter was sent to the First Baptist Church in Stotts City, the local polling place, requesting use of the building for a public meeting, also on Aug. 25.