New York, NY – April 17, 2014 – Today the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) issued a scathing report on the actions and processes employed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) in selling off their inventory of historic post offices across the country, and made several recommendations to improve the process. One of key recommendations of the report, which was mandated by Congressman José E. Serrano in a recent appropriations bill, called on the USPS to halt all sales of historic properties until the Postal Service has adequately implemented the recommendations in the report.
“The United States Postal Service is not in compliance with their legal obligations in its sales of historic properties, and this report demonstrates that huge problems exist in their policies and procedures,” Congressman Serrano said. “I commend the ACHP for this report, and believe that their recommendations will remedy many of these problems. I join my voice to that of the ACHP in calling for an immediate halt in sales of historic Post Offices until the USPS is able to implement these recommendations, and fully and transparently comply with the law. Nationwide, the USPS is raffling off our national heritage in the form of priceless historic properties and causing real damage to the communities that they serve by not allowing the public to control the outcome of a sale of an asset that ultimately belongs to them. This willy-nilly process is makes mockery of their obligations a custodians of beautiful and historic properties that belong to the American public. It must end immediately.”
The key recommendation of the ACHP report said: “The USPS should suspend any further actions to relocate services out of historic postal facilities and dispose of these historic facilities until such time as it fully implements the recommendations of this report.”
“The Postal Service has been told time and again that their current actions are inadequate, but have refused to listen, said Serrano. “I urge them to comply with the recommendations in this report, but in the meantime, I plan to introduce legislation that will ensure that no further historic postal facilities are sold until we can be sure the USPS has indeed implemented the recommendations of this report, and is following the law.”
There have been reports from across the nation of sales of historic Post Offices in processes which leave little room for public input or community consultation—often resulting in the historic buildings ending up in private hands. One organization tracking the sales has found scores of them across the nation, and details a disturbing picture of legal and historic preservation obligations being unmet by the Postal Service. http://www.savethepostoffice.com/post-topics/historic-post-offices
Next week, the US Postal Service Office of Inspector General will issue a further report on this subject, which is expected to continue to make the case that the USPS has a flawed process for accounting for and disposing of historic properties. Congressman Serrano also ordered the USPS Office of Inspector General’s report.