Friday, December 19, 2014

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USPS invites public to discuss possible closure of two Albany offices

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Albany/HV: USPS invites public to discuss possible closure of two Albany offices
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As one local resident put it, Ben Franklin would roll over in his grave if he knew. What does everyone else think? And how does the USPS respond? Our Erin Vannella has the answers.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "I use it frequently, weekly," said Albany resident Colleen Ryan. "I certainly check a PO box once a week and mailing and purchase my holiday stamps."

Post offices, 3,200 nationally and 40 locally, are slated for possible closure. Two, one in the Capitol and one in the Empire State Plaza, became the subject of public discussion Wednesday.

"We're all too often forced when we need services in the City of Albany, to go to other communities to get the services that we require," said Albany resident Marlon Anderson.

"Ben Franklin would be rolling over in his grave," said Ryan.

USPS representatives say it's not by choice that they'd act, but numbers. Both offices fell short of the $600,000 revenue threshold in 2010 and if closed, could save almost $400,000 each year.

"We're a company," said Joe Finan, Post Master of Albany. "We're a business and we're part of every community, but we can't continue to operate at a deficit and still be part of the community with the footprint we have."

But what Finan calls a means of preservation, dissenters call counterproductive. Close and they'll take their business elsewhere.

"They should be focused on maintaining their community face and quality service for residents in the City of Albany as opposed to residents in the City of Albany having to go to cities like Colonie and Rensselaer to get their postal services," said Anderson.

Finan suggests visiting the post office online. Reluctant mailers say that's missing the point and offer other alternatives instead.

"If you look around the city as I have, there are postal facilities that are redundant, there are postal facilities in locations that cannot be utilized by citizens," said Anderson. "I think they have a lot better options than they have."

All parties and Congress will have months to decide what's right. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced the U.S. Postal Service has placed a moratorium on closing postal facilities until May. That should give Congress enough time to enact postal reform legislation and the Postal Service time to continue its impact studies.

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