Congressman Sends Letter to PMG Demanding Answers Over Proposed Closing and Consolidation of Bayside NY Post Office

Office of Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) News Release

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens/L.I.) announced today that he has sent a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe strongly opposing the proposed closing and consolidation of the Bayside Post Office, and the Postal Service’s intent to circumvent the law by attempting to move the facility without the required consultation and community input.

“Upon inquiring, my office has been told that the United States Postal Service (USPS) intends to claim that this action does not require public consultation and input that current law clearly requires,” Ackerman wrote. “We have also been verbally advised that the USPS intends to call this a ‘node study,’ in order to avoid legal requirements. We have seen no ‘node study,’ whatever that is.”

“I would like the USPS to explain why it does not see it necessary to provide a public-comment period in which my constituents’ concerns will be considered, and why moving the post office to an undesirable location is a good move for the USPS and its customers,” Ackerman said in his correspondence. “It is also my understanding that there are other Post Office locations in New York City and the region undergoing a ‘node study.’ I would like to be provided with a full list of the other offices that the USPS is planning to consolidate or close without offering a public-comment period.”

“Current law states that the USPS must ‘provide adequate notice of its intention to close or consolidate such post office at least 60 days prior to the proposed date of such closing or consolidation to persons served by such post office to ensure that such persons will have an opportunity to present their views,'” Ackerman wrote. “While it is the USPS’ contention that closing one office and moving it to another location does not constitute a closing or loss of service to the community, the proposed move is to a geographically isolated location, and is less accessible and convenient for my constituents and the Postal Service’s customers. It is inconceivable that the USPS has asserted it can ignore these consumer protections because it does not consider this closing and moving of the Bayside Post Office to be a consolidation or closure under the law.”

Ackerman sent the letter in the wake of criticizing the USPS last weekfor seeking to relocate the Bayside Post Office to a remote and inconvenient location. Under the proposal, Postal officials want to move the centrally located Bayside branch, situated just off Bell Boulevard in back of the Long Island Rail Road station, to an isolated Postal carrier annex at 41-29 216 street (at the corner of 42nd Avenue). The annex, several blocks from Bell Boulevard, is located in a much less convenient spot, and on the edge of a residential neighborhood.

“While I fully appreciate the fiscal challenges faced by the USPS, these challenges do not justify the ignoring of the statutory protections my constituents should be afforded,” the Congressman continued in the letter. “It is for this reason that I am adamantly opposed to any further action pertaining to the Bayside Post Office without the opportunity for the community to present its views. Although the USPS does not believe this is a loss of service to the community, my constituents and I strongly disagree. It appears that the Postal Service is intent on pursuing a death spiral which will result in further loss of customers and revenues. This is an unwise path. I anxiously await a prompt reply.”

The Postal Service says the proposed move would not take place until 2013, and that all jobs would be preserved. The Postal Service leases both properties and contends that the relocation would save the agency money.

The Bayside Post Office is located at 212-35 42nd Avenue in Bayside, Queens.

The Postmaster General is the Chief Executive Officer of the USPS.