June 02, 2010

CARDIN, MIKULSKI, KRATOVIL CALL REPORT ON CLOSURE OF EASTON MAIL FACILITY 'UNACCEPTABLE'

Senators, Congressman target failure of report to include impact on mail delivery service or to consult Eastern Shore residents, workers

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman Frank M. Kratovil (all D-MD) today again expressed their concerns about the potential closure of the Easton Mail Processing and Distribution Facility in a letter to Postmaster General John E. Potter. They once again demanded additional opportunities for public comment on the closure and an explanation of how service to Eastern Shore residents will be affected.

 

In a letter to the Postmaster General dated May 19, Senators Cardin and Mikulski and Congressman Kratovil requested additional public information sessions be scheduled in Ocean City, Salisbury and Chestertown. In its May 28 response, the Post Office refused to grant the delegation's request and failed to address residents' concerns about how the facility closure will affect mail delivery.

 

" Our requests … are simple: first, schedule three additional public meetings, one each in Ocean City , Salisbury and Chestertown, in addition to the public meeting scheduled in Easton . Second, provide residents and business owners with detailed information about how the potential closure will affect their mail service. Finally, listen to the residents of the Eastern Shore , giving serious consideration to their needs. Then, and only then, should a decision be made about the fate of the Easton Mail Processing Facility."

 

View the Maryland Delegation's May 19 letter here:

http://mikulski.senate.gov/_pdfs/Press/May19EastonProcessingandDistributionFacilityLetter.pdf

 

View the Postmaster General's May 28 response here:

http://mikulski.senate.gov/_pdfs/Press/May28EastonPostalFacility.pdf

 

The text of the today's letter follows:

 

June 2, 2010

 

Mr. John E. Potter

Postmaster General

United States Postal Service

475 L'Enfant Plaza SW

Washington , D.C. 20260

 

Dear Postmaster Potter:

 

            On May 19, we wrote directly to you requesting that the U.S. Postal Service schedule additional public information meetings at different locations on the Eastern Shore so that residents throughout the Shore would have an opportunity to express their concerns regarding the proposed closure of the Easton Area Mail Processing Facility.

 

On May 28, we received a response from your staff member, Marie Theresa Dominquez, VP of Government Relations and Public Policy, and the message was clear: the Postal Service is taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the mail service needs of Maryland 's unique Eastern Shore and hiding behind "process."  No additional public meetings will be held prior to completing the Area Mail Processing Study that could lead to the facility's closure. Ms. Dominguez maintains that only one meeting is warranted, despite the Eastern Shore 's unique geography, its citizen's dependence on mail service, and the outcry of local residents and their elected representatives. We are deeply disappointed by this response.

 

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a region where people still rely heavily on the mail service. If the Easton facility closes, a letter mailed from Ocean City to Chestertown would have to be routed through Baltimore , which would add to the letter's travel time. Coupled with the summer traffic and wind restrictions along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge , mail service would be delayed even further. The Area Mail Processing Study makes no mention of these considerations. It fails to address how the Easton facility's closure will affect the delivery of mail on the Eastern Shore . It refers only to how much money it will save. For these reasons, we consider the preliminary study unacceptable.

 

We also find it unacceptable that, despite assurances that a final decision had not been made and that public input is desired through June 30, the U.S. Postal Service has informed the workers at the Easton facility of its closure. This is a violation of the public trust.

 

Our requests, as we wrote to you on May 19, are simple: first, schedule three additional public meetings, one each in Ocean City , Salisbury and Chestertown, in addition to the public meeting scheduled in Easton . Second, provide residents and business owners with detailed information about how the potential closure will affect their mail service. Finally, listen to the residents of the Eastern Shore , giving serious consideration to their needs. Then, and only then, should a decision be made about the fate of the Easton Mail Processing Facility.

 

            We strongly urge you to reconsider your response to our request and right the wrongs we've outlined here. We look forward to hearing back from you within the week.