E-mail from Chris O'Donnell, attorny for the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) to Jekyll Island resident (name redacted). (Mr. Jones is JIA Executive Director.)
Jones asked that I respond to your concerns regarding the new Jekyll Island Post Office. I have taken the liberty of repeating your questions with my answers.
1. What is the relevant federal US Code that allows the United States Postal Service to remove home delivery to residents of Jekyll Island without their agreement?
Legislation currently pending in Congress would give this power to the USPS. However, at this time, there is no relevant Federal law. The Jekyll Island Authority consented to the cessation of home delivery through negotiations that returned many benefits to the residents of Jekyll Island in the form of increased services and extended retail business hours. However, most important in the negotiations was that the USPS made it very clear that the JIA could probably maintain home delivery for the next few years before this service ceases nationwide in low volume areas in accordance with the pending legislation. However, it would have been a virtual certainty that the Post Office facility on Jekyll Island would be closed as soon as possible – probably when the new Retail Village opens next summer. Given the alternative, the JIA made a prudent decision to keep a postal facility on Jekyll Island. In our opinion, failing to consent would have led to no home delivery AND no postal facility in the near future.
2. What is the state or local government statute that allows the Jekyll Island Authority to decide on behalf of island residents, that USPS delivery services can be radically changed or eliminated?
O.C.G.A 12-3-236.1(a) gives the Jekyll Island Authority the legislative power to adopt resolutions relating to the property, affairs and government of Jekyll Island.
3. What consideration has been given the residents who may be unable to access a centralized postal facility, placed in the Historic District (or other Island location) for the purpose of collecting mail?
The new Postal facility will meet all Federal requirements concerning accessibility for all people.
4. What Island residents, or representatives thereof, did you meet or consult with prior to the JIA Board Meeting during which, the home delivery elimination and centralized mail pick up facility were announced?
Members of the Authority met with representatives of the Citizen’s Association and the Jekyll Business community. It should be noted that officers of each association were consulted in the past regarding this situation as the USPS has been attempting to close the post office and eliminate door to door service on Jekyll for a number of years. If not for the efforts of the JIA, the post office may have closed after the demolition of the old shopping center. Today, the Post Office on Jekyll operates in a trailer that was secured by the JIA and the USPS pays no rent to the Jekyll Island Authority. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that this effort by the USPS has been renewed when given another opportunity with the closing of the trailer village.
5. Does federal legislation exist which makes the removal of a USPS Zip code necessary when that Zip Code has neither a public or privately maintained postal facility or retail establishment?
Whether or not such legislation exists is irrelevant because the USPS has stated that even if the Post Office facility were closed on Jekyll Island, the zip code would remain. However, all mail would be postmarked Brunswick, GA.
I look forward to seeing you on Monday to answer any other concerns you may have.