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Finley residents fight closing of Post Office

December 15, 2011

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Residents of Finley have been going through the steps required to appeal the United States Postal Services closure of the Finley Post Office from taking place the last several months. Residents that go to the Finley Post Office to retrieve their mail, or do postal business, will be rerouted through the Clayton Post Office if the Finley Post is indeed closed.

One of the main concerns of residents who’s post comes through Finley is that the Finley Community has a lot of elderly residents who are not able to make the adjustments that the Postal Service has informed them that would need to be done if the post office is closed. One of which is making the over 50 mile round trip to Clayton to simply sign for insured mail or do other forms of postal business. Not to mention a lot of the elderly in Finley receive their medications through the mail and the system the Postal Service want to put in place is far from secure in the minds of Finley residents.

The purposed “solution” for the residents if the post office is closed is to conduct what business they can through their carrier and the rest through the Clayton Post Office. This “Post Office on Wheels” service that they plan to provide means that the mail carriers will accept packages at the rural mail boxes without a customer being present provided that the postage is fully paid and that the sender is known to conduct or reside a that collection point.

The question on many Finley resident’s minds is how are they to know exactly what the postage should be without having it weighed at a post office? Well the Postal Services solution to that is if the postage hasn’t been applied to the package the sender can estimate the required postage and leave the money, along with the package in their post box. If insurance is desired the amount of which the contents is worth must be noted. Then the carrier will take the package with them back to the post office, weigh it and mail it the same day. Then the next day the carrier will leave the senders change (MONEY) in their rural box for them to pick up.

The Postal Service’s “solution” worries many residents, as recently there has been an increase in mailbox vandalism in the area, including mailboxes being blown up. What if medication or money is in the mail box, will the Postal Service then be held accountable for the damages or loss? What if people go around stealing the money and packages since it will be known this is how they have to conduct their postal business? Finley residents want to know why the Postal Service sees this as even a possibility and how they deem it a safe and secure way to hand the mail.

Letters have been wrote by Senator Jerry Ellis, Representative R.C. Pruett, the County Commissioners of Pushmataha County Mike Brittingham, Jim Long and Jerry Duncan along with many citizens of Pushmataha County opposing the closing of rural post offices in Finley, Snow and Albion, and Congressman Dan Boren has also been contacted about the situation.

The main thing that these residents have going in their favor is it states in Section 101(b) of Title 39 of the U.S. Code that “No small post office shall be closed solely for operating at a deficit, it being the specific intent of the Congress that effective postal services be insured to residents of both urban and rural communities.” This has residents wondering why the Postal service is so quick to want to close rural post offices but not a few in the bigger cities where there is every other corner.

An interesting fact that was dug up while residents were doing research about the post office was that it was established before statehood when Finley was part of the Indian Territory. The original application for consideration of the placement of a post office at the Finley location is dated October 18, 1907 and was stamped received on October 26, 1907. This post office was originally intended for Indian people. Due to this fact coming to light The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has also been contacted about this situation.


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