Postal Service meeting tonight (Jan. 5) to address moving Rockford mail processing to Madison, Wis.
Online Staff Report
A public meeting to discuss the U.S. Postal Service’s proposal to move mail processing operations from Rockford to Madison, Wis., will begin at 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, and finally moved to Jan. 5.
Charles J. Miller, Lakeland District manager for the U.S. Postal Service, will give an overview and gather community input regarding the proposal.
The closure of the Rockford facility would cost the area nearly 200 jobs and would cause delays of two to three days 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.
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 nationwide consolidation study recommended the closure of 252 mail processing centers and nearly 4,000 post offices. Rockford’s processing center, at 5225 Harrison Ave., was among the facilities slated for closure, with the operations being moved to Madison.
The Postal Service announced in December that it would delay any final decisions regarding facility closures until May 15.
A study was begun Sept. 15, 2011, 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 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 are available online 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, Wis., 53201-5008. Public comments will be accepted through Jan. 21.
U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., will speak directly following the Postal Service’s presentation Jan. 5. 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.
“We are well aware the Postal Service is facing difficult times, but closing one of the nation’s most efficient sorting centers here in Rockford and delaying mail delivery to northern Illinois would be a terrible mistake,” Manzullo said. “Timely mail service is critical to our residents and business owners — especially during these difficult times — and the Postal Service needs to consider other alternatives to shutting down Rockford operations. I urge everyone who lives within ZIP codes beginning with 610 and 611 to come out to Thursday night’s meeting and let Postal Service officials know how much they appreciate their excellent mail service.”
The Rockford mail processing center is consistently rated among the most efficient centers in the nation, and Rockford workers provide excellent overnight delivery service to their customers in ZIP codes starting with 610 and 611.
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.
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