May 9, 2013
The Postal Service is putting another historic post office up for sale, and as usual it's showing little interest in hearing from the public or following the law.
Selling off historic post offices isn't easy. Not only does the Postal Service need to find a buyer willing to take on the encumbrances associated with a historic building; there are also numerous legal regulations about the procedures that must be followed.
One of the main purposes of these regulations is to ensure that the public has sufficient opportunity to express its concerns and to explore alternatives with postal officials.
Time and again, however, the Postal Service has shown that it doesn't really give a hoot what people have to say. And while it may make a nod toward following the letter of the law, it doesn’t much care about the spirit.
Last June the Postal Service informed postal workers and elected officials in Reading, Massachusetts, that it was considering selling the city's historic post office. According to a brief news item about the announcement, Michael Foley, USPS project coordinator from the Greater Boston district, said that the plan hinged on finding a buyer for the property.
Foley said it would take several months, possibly even a couple of years, before the plan came to fruition. “If we do go forward, it’s not a quick process,” Foley said. “The time is dictated by the potential buyer.”
Mr. Foley’s remarks were probably intended to reassure the people in Reading that nothing was going to happen fast. There would be plenty of time to talk about it.
Last month, the Postal Service began the official process for closing the post office, relocating retail services, and selling the building. Things are happening a lot of faster than the people in Reading may realize.