POSTED: Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 11:13pm
UPDATED: Saturday, February 25, 2012 - 5:22pm
SMITH COUNTY — Terry McKeever has been working for the US Postal Service's East Texas processing and distribution center for more than a decade.
We spoke with him in December when the postal service held a public meeting about the potential closing of processing centers across the nation.
Now, the postal service says after the research, they've decided it will happen.
"We feel like this is our community...this is where we live, worship and our wages support the community and...this is where we are. And we do not want to be uprooted and displaced to Austin, Shreveport, Dallas...and other places like that. But unfortunately that's what's gonna happen," McKeever said.
Like he said, for the East Texas P&DC, its operations will split up between the Shreveport, North Texas and Austin centers.
Also closing down close to us, both the Waco and the Lufkin centers.
A representative for the postal service tells KETK that no employees will be laid off. If they choose to relocate, they will be reassigned as letter carriers, retail clerks, or processing clerks.
But McKeever says many of the folks that work with him are older -- while the younger employees may relocate, he and many of his friends are hoping for an incentive to retire.
"If not, I'll probably be looking into another career...and at my age, that'll be kind of hard to do," McKeever said.
McKeever says he guesses 70 to 100 of his fellow employees won't relocate.
The postal service has said that because of changing habits in mail, they're losing $23 million a day, so they had to do something.
Congressman Louie Gohmert thinks the closures are a bad business move -- and that money could be saved elsewhere.
"I say lets get rid of most of the mid-level and top-level management and hang on to the retail services including the processing plants and that allow it to be delivered timely. And I think you'll see a change," Gohmert said.
As far as when the plants will actually close, no one seems to have a definite answer at the moment because there's a congressional moratorium on closures until May 15th.
So the postal service rep would spoke with today says Congress could still stop all of this from happening -- saying 'it's up to them.'
Some of the suggestions we've heard include letting retail locations sell other things like hunting and fishing licenses for example.
Congressman Gohmert says the idea is very do-able.