Sale of historic Princeton post office moves forward

February 14, 2015

The sale of the historic Palmer Square post office in Princeton, New Jersey, is moving forward. 

Earlier this week the Princeton Packet revealed that the post office would be relocating a few blocks away to a former West Coast Video building on Nassau Street.  The Postal Service will share the leased property with a 7-Eleven.  The move will take place once the sale is completed and the new location is made ready for business.

As we reported back in December 2013, the sale of the Palmer Square post office has been in the works for a long time, at least since 1997

According to an article in Planet Princeton, the Postal Service completed a study and informed postal workers and elected officials of its plan to sell the building back in September 2011.  Letter carriers and other operations were moved to other locations back that same year.  A public meeting about the relocation was held in December 2011, but it didn’t mean much since a decision to sell the building had been made long before.

The sale was initially blocked by the Historic Preservation Office, a branch of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  According to an item in the Jersey Journal, the Preservation Office “believed the Postal Service had not taken adequate steps to ensure its history was preserved.”

That obstacle has apparently been overcome, and, as news reports revealed in December 2013, the building is being sold to a company called LCOR Ventures, based in Oakland, California.

When we reported on the story in 2013, we examined the connections between LCOR Ventures in Oakland and LCOR, Inc., a large real estate investment and development company based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, an hour's drive from Princeton.  It was difficult disentangling the two companies.  

Historic Plant City post office discontinued, headed for sale

February 8, 2015

Earlier this week, the Postal Service announced that the historic post office on Reynolds Street In downtown Plant City, Florida, is being discontinued.  It's the first such discontinuance in over 16 months.

The Plant City post office has been closed since June 2013, when the Postal Service shut down the 1935 facility for an emergency suspension due to deteriorating conditions, including a leaky roof and mold.

The Postal Service then decided it didn't want to spend $1.4 million to repair the building, so it made plans to sell the property.  In October 2013, the Postal Service initiated a discontinuance study to close the post office permanently.  

For some reason it took a long time to complete the study, but this week the Postal Service announced the results — the Plant City post office will be discontinued and closed permanently.

The news report in the Tampa Bay Tribune says that “a postal regulatory commission has until Feb. 27 to file any objections,” but that’s a misunderstanding.  The PRC won’t file any objections itself, but if someone in Plant City files an appeal with the Commission, it’s possible that the Commission would remand the decision back to the Postal Service for further review.

There hasn’t been a post office discontinuance in a long time.  According to its Annual Compliance Report, “The Postal Service closed no Post Offices and no stations or branches in FY 2014” (p. 42). 

According to Postal Bulletin, which announces closures, there's haven't been any discontinuances since FY 2014 ended on Sept. 30, 2014, so it’s been at least 16 months since a post office was discontinued.  

A postmaster has the last word on POStPlan

February 3, 2015

This is the final week of POStPlan implementation.  On February 7, the last of the remaining 13,000 post offices will have their hours reduced, and the last of the remaining postmasters will leave their jobs.  

The Postal Service postponed the Reduction in Force (RIF) separation date for all remaining impacted POStPian postmasters from January 9 to February 6.  That gave some postmasters a little more time to find a new position.

At this point, it's still not clear how many postmasters will be subject to the RIF.  The Postal Service hasn't published a number, nor have the two postmasters' associations, NAPUS and the League of Postmasters.  It could be several hundred.

According to the most recent POStPlan implementation update report published on January 12, there were 1,367 post offices with an implementation date of January 10.  (The list is here and a map here.)  

At many, perhaps most, of these post offices, there's probably a career postmaster still on the job.  They have been watching POStPlan get implemented for two and a half years, hoping that something would happen to allow them to keep their positions.  There have been two extensions of the RIF date, but now the RIF is here.

While we don't know how many postmasters are being RIFed this week, it's likely that many of them will head into retirement.  The Postal Service may consider such retirements voluntary, but for some postmasters, there wasn’t much choice in the matter.  They live in rural areas where postal jobs are scarce, and they couldn’t relocate to take a new position.  After many years of service, they are just plain out of luck.

There are undoubtedly many postmasters out there right now who are very upset and angry about what's happening, especially considering that the Postmaster General just retired with what is probably a very nice package.  One of these postmasters recently wrote this letter to Save the Post Office.

Bad weather closes three NYC post offices

February 2, 2015

According to the Postal Service website, three New York City post offices are closed today as a result of the “heavy snowfall in the region.”  Service has been temporarily suspended for the Bronx Stadium Station (10452); the Esplanade Station (10469); and the Einstein Loop Station (10475).

The weather in New York City today isn’t great, but it’s not awful. On Sunday, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Winter Storm Warning, and the Mayor issued a hazardous travel advisory, but the warning had been lifted by 10 a.m. on Monday.  In anticipation of the bad weather, there were lots of school closings in NYC, but many schools just opened two hours late. 

The special weather statement from the NWS on Monday morning said that the snow, freezing rain, and sleet had resulted in slushy roads that make travel "treacherous."

The weather in NYC is certainly not as bad as when Juno hit the northeast at the end of January.   Many post offices in New York and New England closed early on January 26 and all day on January 27, but so did just about everything else — schools, government offices, and all kinds of businesses.

These three NYC post offices are small stations staffed by two or three employees (perhaps just one at a time), so it’s possible workers were unable to get to the office today. 

But if that’s the explanation, why didn’t the Postal Service send over another employee to cover? 

Today's weather in NYC may make driving dangerous, but slippery roads don’t normally close post offices.

Why these three post offices are closed today is something of a mystery. 

Photo credit: Bronx StadiumEsplanade, and Einstein post offices (Evan Kalish)

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