Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Doomed' post offices get year's reprieve

Here's a story from this week's Riverdale Review and Bronx Press.

By Brendan McHugh 

The U.S. Postal Service is delaying any closing or consolidating of any post offices until at least May 15, 2012. 

This comes as good news to local leaders, who have fought against closures of 17 Bronx post offices for the past few months. 

“I am encouraged to see the Postal Service has chosen to listen to the rising chorus of voices from across the country urging it to stop trying to plug their financial gaps by cutting an essential service to the American people,” Rep. Eliot Engel said.

Jump below for the full story.
Engel has recently criticized the USPS for singling out post offices for closure, and considering slashing hundreds of thousands of jobs, while failing to identify root causes for their massive debt. 

“Seniors and working families in New York, and around the nation, would be most affected by the loss of the local post office. Instead, the Post Office should find ways to save money which do not cause hardships for the many residents who are not able to easily travel to distant locations."

Engel has seven offices in his district that the USPS was considering closing, including two in the Bronx. 

The USPS already closed the Bronx General Post Office’s mail processing center, moving all the operations to Manhattan.

“I will continue to fight the plan to consider these locations for closing,” Engel said. “The Post Office must understand that it cannot fix its financial woes by making access to post offices more difficult and inconvenient. This is a business plan designed for failure.” 

In the east Bronx, Rep. Joseph Crowley was happy to hear that the two Co-op City post offices will remain open. 

“With the holidays just days away, this decision is welcome news for families in Queens and the Bronx. While this decision does not mean our postal facilities are in the clear, it does allow for more time to seek alternatives to help USPS meet its financial obligations,” Crowley said. 

Crowley and Engel are co-sponsors of H.R. 1351, legislation that will free the Postal Service from pre-paying its pension obligations in an effort to alleviate the financial burden facing the Postal Service.

Chuck Zlatkin, the legislative and political director for NY Metro, the postal workers union, says new legislation is needed if the post offices wish to remain open past the postponement. 

“From my perspective, unless legislation is going to be passed in the interim that will change what the post office is viewing what they have to do, it may just be postponing the inevitable,” he said.

“We have to remain vigilant,” he stated. “This gives people more time to prepare a repeal. No one wants their post office closed, and it’s because they depend on it.” 

Zlatkin noted that while the delay sounds like great news, the post office is still going ahead and examining post offices for closure. 

After the announcement was made last week, the USPS still went ahead with the hearing to discuss the Hunts Point Post Office. Also, because there is a 60 day period between the hearing and the decision, the delay only pushes the decision about Hunts Point back two months, from February to May.

The USPS released a statement about the delay, saying, “The Postal Service hopes this period will help facilitate the enactment of comprehensive postal legislation. Given the Postal Service’s financial situation and the loss of mail volume, the Postal Service must continue to take all steps necessary to reduce costs and increase revenue.

“The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.” 


  1. You do realize the Post office receives no tax dollars, right?

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