Much like the old West judges who promised to give defendants fair trials, then hang them, the U.S. Postal Service decides what it wants to do - then holds public hearings before going ahead.
That has been the pattern during recent years on changes in the mail service and closing of Postal Service facilities. For that reason, we doubt a "town hall" meeting next week will have any effect on the agency's plans to close some post offices in Belmont County.
Nevertheless, the meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 26 in the auditorium at Union Local Middle School. State and federal lawmakers have been invited to attend, and local officials no doubt will add their voices to those who oppose closing more post offices.
Already, post offices in Flushing and Maynard have been closed. In other East Ohio counties, post offices serving Laings, Malaga, Sycamore Valley and Tippecanoe have been shuttered during the past few years.
Now, Postal Service officials are pondering the future of offices in Bannock, Barton, Blaine, Glencoe, Lafferty, New Athens and Warnock.
It is all part of a strategy to save money in the face of an annual Postal Service deficit of more than $8 billion. Also on the agenda is a proposal to stop delivering mail on Saturdays.
Postal Service representatives will attend the town hall meeting next week. No doubt they will express regret at the closing of hundreds of small post offices during the past few years - then will emphasize the agency has to cut spending somehow.
Again, the meeting probably will be no more than a formality - an item to be ticked off a checklist of actions required before closing a post office. Still, concerned Belmont County residents should attend, if only to let the Postal Service know there is a limit to its customers' patience.