PRC dismisses appeal on closing of the Westbrookville post office

Steve HutkinsBlog, Featured

The community post office in Westbrookville, New York, closed on Thursday, June 29. The Postal Service had given customers one day’s notice. Some of the customers filed an appeal with the Postal Regulatory Commission saying that they had not been giving sufficient prior notification and that receiving mail through the Otisville Post Office would be stressful and inconvenient due to road conditions, weather, and limited parking space and accessibility. Yesterday, the Commission dismissed the appeal.

The outcome of this appeal was never in doubt. The Commission has a long history of dismissing appeals on contract post offices like Westbrookville unless they’re the “sole source” of postal services in the community — a standard established only by the Commission’s own precedents, and one that can never be met.

The Westbrookville contract post office is, in fact, the only post office in the community, but there are other ways for its customers to access postal services, such as buying stamps through and at retail stores, as well as by traveling to nearby post offices in other communities.

These alternatives were sufficient for the PRC to determine that the Westbrookville post office is not the “sole source” of postal services in the community, so it dismissed the appeal, as it always does in these cases.

There are always alternative access options when a contract office closes. The “sole source” standard has become meaningless: the Commission considers contract post offices outside its jurisdiction and dismisses all appeals on closing them.

For its part, the Postal Service says that it had issued four letters of warning to the CPO operator, notifying it of various violations of the terms of the contract. For some reason, though, the Postal Service did not give a heads-up to customers that it was having problems with the contractor and the office might close.

The Commission’s order dismissing the appeal, which explains the history of the “sole source” standard, is here. There’s more about the closing of the Westbrookville office here. And for more about the issue of dismissing appeals on contract post offices, there’s more than you’ll ever what to know here:

Photo: Westbrookville NY CPO, Evan Kalish