Historic Post Offices
April 21, 2014
The long-awaited OIG report on the disposal and preservation of historic post offices came out today. The OIG found that the Postal Service "did not know how many historic properties it owned or what it cost to preserve them, as required by the National Historic Preservation Act. It did not report the status of historic artwork to the National Museum of American Art, as required by Postal Service Handbook RE-6, Facilities and Environmental Guide, when it sold 10 historic post offices."
The OIG also criticized the Postal Servie for failing to collaborate with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to improve its compliance with the National Historic Preservation and for failing to submit its 2011 status report to the council. The OIG also noted that there was an "appearance of bias" in the fact that the USPS VP of Facilities approves funding for the relocation of retail services and disposal while also serving as the person who reviews appeals on relocations. Read more.
April 18, 2014
Congressman José Serrano will introduce legislation halting the sale of historic post offices until the Postal Service implements the recommendations outlined in the new report by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Serrano's press release also reveals that next week the USPS Office of Inspector General will release its long awaited audit report on the disposal and preservation of historic post offices. (We've also heard much the same in response to an email inquiry to the OIG.)
The OIG audit began in July 2013, and it was supposed to be complted by October. The report apparently got more complicated than the OIG anticipated, and it has taken much longer than three months. (There's a post about the report here.)
Whether the ACHP report and OIG audit will motivate Congress to pass legislation or stop the Postal Service from proceeding with the sales remains to be seen. Serrano's press release is here.
April 17, 2014
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation issued its report on historic post offices today, a report that it was directed to prepare by a provision in the annual appropriations bill passed in January. The report is entitled "Preserving Historic Post Offices: A Report to Congress." The report finds that "significant improvements to United States Postal Service (USPS) palling and compliance for its historic preservation and disposal programs are needed." Until these improvements are made, says the ACHP, "The USPS should suspend any further actions to relocate services out of historical postal facilities and dispose of these historical facilities." Read the press release and the full report.
April 11, 2014
When Congress passed the appropriations bill earlier this year, it included a passage saying that the Postal Service “should refrain” from selling historic buildings until the Office of Inspector General completes an audit investigation on the disposal and preservation of historic post offices (p. 75). That audit is due out soon, but the Postal Service isn't waiting to hear the results.
This week there was word that the Postal Service had accepted a bid on the historic post office in Burlingame, California. The identity of the new owner has not been announced. Retail operations will be relocated a couple of blocks away to a leased space.