A public meeting to discuss the U.S. Postal Service’s proposal to move mail processing operations from Rockford to Madison, Wis., has been delayed yet again — to 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 5, at Best Western Clock Tower Resort & Conference Center, 7801 E. State St., Rockford.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 8, then was pushed back to Thursday, Dec. 15.
The delay comes after U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) requested the meeting be postponed until early January. He also demanded to see the data the U.S. Postal Service used to support the proposal to close the Rockford facility.
The closure of the Rockford facility would cost the area nearly 200 jobs and would cause delays in mail delivery to homes and businesses in the eight northern Illinois counties served by the Rockford facility — Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside, Ogle and Lee.
Manzullo worked with Rockford postal officials during the last consolidation study in 2006 to present alternative information that persuaded the Postal Service to abandon its plan to move Rockford mail processing operations to the Chicago suburbs.
“The Rockford processing center was under a similar review six years ago and we found that the data in the previous USPS was incorrect, and resulted in keeping the Rockford facility open,” Manzullo said. “It is impossible to effectively offer comment on a proposal without knowing the assumptions and information that underlie the proposal.”
The Rockford mail processing center is consistently rated among the most efficient centers in the nation, and Rockford workers provide overnight delivery service to their customers in ZIP codes starting with 610 and 611.
Manzullo is working with U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to keep the jobs and overnight delivery service in northern Illinois.
Manzullo, Durbin and Kirk met with Postmaster General Pat Donahoe Nov. 1 to share their concerns with the potential move of operations to Wisconsin and the damage it would cause to northern Illinois. During the meeting, Donahoe said he would share the study data with the members of Congress.
With the deep decline in mail volume as a result of the current economic conditions and continuing electronic diversion, the Postal Service has an excess of employees and equipment in some mail processing operations. A study was begun Sept. 15 at the Rockford facility to determine the feasibility of consolidating redundant operations to see if any efficiencies and cost savings would be achieved.
Initial study results support consolidating mail processing operations that are currently being undertaken at the Madison, Wis., facility to increase efficiency and improve productivity.
While no final decision has been reached, Postal Service managers will give an overview of the reasons for the proposal and its possible outcomes, and will listen to community input and concerns.
A summary of the proposal and presentation materials will be made available online one week prior to the meeting at http://about.usps.com/streamlining-operations/area-mail-processing.htm.
Anyone who wishes to submit comments in writing can send them to Manager of Consumer and Industry Contact, Lakeland District, P.O. Box 5008, Milwaukee, WI, 53201-5008.
Public comments will be accepted through Jan. 21, 2012.