Mail processing to remain in Rockford

Mail processing operations will remain in Rockford, according to U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo’s (R-16) office. Manzullo described the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) July 31 decision not to transfer operations from Rockford to Palatine a “colossal victory for the people of northern Illinois.”

Rockford City Administrator Jim Ryan concurred: “We’re elated with the decision.”

Ryan said keeping the facility in Rockford ensures area citizens and businesses will continue receiving quality service “that we’ve come to expect.” According to Ryan, moving the facility would have meant the loss of both service and jobs.

He also said the city appreciated Manzullo’s leadership in helping resolve the issue. But Ryan noted Manzullo didn’t work alone: “It was truly a community effort.” According to Manzullo’s office, his staff submitted petition with nearly 5,600 signatures to USPS officials during a June public forum in Rockford.

Mail from ZIP codes beginning with 610 and 611—including mail coming from communities in Winnebago, Boone, Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside, Ogle and Lee counties—will continue being processed at the Rockford facility.

Tim Ratliff, spokesman for the USPS northern Illinois district, said the Postal Service always evaluates resources to meet customer needs. Ratliff said the most recent evaluation brought something to light: “Our conclusion was that it would not be in the best interest of maintaining current service levels.”

The USPS announced in December 2005 it would launch a study to determine whether to reroute all outgoing mail. The study was halted soon after its launch to give the Rockford area time to make a case for keeping the center, according to Manzullo’s office.

U.S. Postal Service spokesman Sean Hargadon said, during a May 23 interview, the study was part of a nationwide effort to improve the Postal Service’s efficiency. Hargadon said about 11 billion pieces of mail have been lost since 1998.

Hargadon said redirecting mail wouldn’t have affected postal employees financially. But Manzullo’s office had stated a reorganization would have cost 50 jobs.

Hargadon disagreed, “Nobody’s going to lose their jobs,” noting they’d simply be transferred to other positions. He said the Rockford facility employs 250 people.

From the Aug. 9-15, 2006, issue

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