County leaders are currently working with the U.S. Post Office to find a suitable location for cluster mail boxes (like these) in Darwin and Keeler as the local post office prepares to close. Photo courtesy Metrocreativegraphics.com
With the post office scheduled to close in Darwin, local leaders met Tuesday to discuss how residents in that part of the county will be receiving their mail.
Interim Public Works Director Doug Wilson said the U.S. Postal Service, after deciding to close the post office without so much as notifying the county, decided recently to place a set of cluster mail boxes on a county right-of-way â€“ again, without any conversation with Inyo officials.
Wilson said the problem with the U.S. Postal Service placing mail boxes on county property without any permit or agreement is that the county may be held responsible for repairing and replacing them should they get damaged.
First District Supervisor Linda Arcularius said she has some experience with dealing with damaged mail boxes in her district. She said the issue often leads to the â€śblame gameâ€ť with fingers being pointed at different residents, county road crews and Caltrans, which removes snow from the area.
Arcularius said she is not necessarily opposed to the Postal Service putting in the mail boxes, but wants to see an agreement between the county and Postal Service before the boxes are installed.
She also said the Postal Service should look at alternate sites for the mail boxes to ensure they are accessible to all residents.
â€śThe main intersection of Darwin is the logical place to put it,â€ť Fifth District Supervisor Richard Cervantes said, pointing out that the Postal Service may need an easement from the county for that.
Second District Supervisor Susan Cash said the Postal Service, a federal agency, should consider placing the mail boxes on Bureau of Land Management or other federal land held by the U.S. government.
â€śTheyâ€™re going to close the post office,â€ť Cervantes said. â€śThey didnâ€™t acknowledge the county, they didnâ€™t tell us they were closing, they didnâ€™t tell us they were pouring concreteâ€ť for the cluster boxes. â€śThe people that live there expect and deserve to have mail service.â€ť
Wilson said he will continue working with the Postal Service to either identify a new place for the cluster mail boxes or to work out an easement agreement so they can be installed on county property.