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Skagway gets postal assistance

Sen.Murkowski lauds help by extra staff from Juneau

Posted: July 25, 2012 - 12:02am

Skagway citizens are finally getting their mail on time after its overwhelmed post office got reinforcements from Juneau.

“We’ve been sending people up from Juneau and we’re current on the mail,” said Ernie Swanson, spokesman for the Postal Service region responsible for Alaska.

“I was just down there today, and I would concur with that,” said Skagway City Manager Tom Smith.

City residents began complaining of delayed deliveries a couple of months ago when the short-handed Skagway Post Office began delaying deliveries.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently called attention to the plight of Skagwegians to the attention of the Postal Service and asked them to send her their stories of delays to reinforce the need for help.

“This is a victory for everyone who wrote in and shared their stories, and I thank them for taking the time to pitch in,” Murkowski said.

Swanson said the Postal Service was initially unable to find an employee within the agency that wanted to move to Skagway, and the tourist town has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state this time of year.

An employee from Juneau, one of those who had been traveling to Skagway to help out, decided to take a permanent transfer there, he said.

The Postal Service is still sending extra staff from Juneau and putting them up in a motel to deal with the other vacancies, but is working on filling those positions as well, Swanson said.

Murkowski praised the Postal Service’s response to the problems in Skagway and its actions to get help to the Skagway post office.

“The situation in Skagway was unacceptable for all parties involved, and this is the first step in getting the community the kind of postal service they can count on,” she said.

The other unfilled, temporary positions in Skagway are in the process of being filled, Swanson said.

The Skagway Post Office typically has four employees in the summer, he said, and was down to one at one point.

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