Rep. Huffman to New Postmaster General: Don’t Close Petaluma and Eureka Mail Processing Centers

Congressman Jared Huffman

Congressman Jared Huffman

Mar 25, 2015 – Press Release
Huffman: “I am concerned that recent Postal Service decisions regarding delivery service standards will exacerbate the impacts to my rural constituents.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today sent a letter to the new Postmaster General reiterating his strong opposition to the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) plan to close both the North Bay Processing and Distribution Center in Petaluma and the Eureka Customer Service Mail Processing Center.

Huffman has routinely opposed the USPS’ plan and strongly criticized them for their lack of transparency throughout this process, disregard for public input, and ambivalence to the impacts reduced service standards will have on local communities. Huffman previously opposed the consolidation plan when it was first proposed in 2011, citing that this plan would cause disruption of mail delivery, cause job loss, and damage local economies.

“I continue to be frustrated with the USPS’s refusal to provide my office with requested information and the lack of interest in fully explaining these changes to the public,” Huffman wrote. “I do not believe it is wise to move forward with a plan to consolidate operations without knowing the full financial and service impact of such a change, and I ask that you halt this change until your analysis is complete and the public has had time to review the new data and provide comments.”

Huffman also noted that “The road connecting Eureka and Medford is frequently closed due to inclement weather, which could effectively isolate my constituents on the north coast of California from vital services.”

The full text of the letter can be found HERE or below:

March 25, 2015

Megan J. Brennan
Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260

Dear Postmaster General Brennan:

Congratulations on your recent appointment as Postmaster General. I look forward to working with you as the United States Postal Service (USPS) modernizes operations to remain a global competitor in the 21st Century.

I write today to reiterate my strong opposition to the Postal Service’s plan to consolidate mail processing operations from both the North Bay Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Petaluma, CA, and the Eureka Customer Service Mail Processing Center (CSMPC) in Eureka, CA, both of which are in my congressional district. I continue to be frustrated with the USPS’s refusal to provide my office with requested information and the lack of interest in fully explaining these changes to the public.

While I appreciate the letter that Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman sent me on November 10, 2014, the response left several issues unresolved. I understand that your projected cost savings are based on 2012 data from the North Bay and Eureka area mail processing (AMP) workbooks, and understand that you believe that you already have the requisite public comment on the matter. However, as Deputy Postmaster General Stroman acknowledged, the Postal Service is in the process of changing consolidation plans for the North Bay facility to San Francisco instead of Oakland. This change involves different travel distances and facility capacity issues, and has not been subject to public review. In addition, the 2012 AMP workbooks are now several years old and do not accurately reflect the status of mail operations. I do not believe it is wise to move forward with a plan to consolidate operations without knowing the full financial and service impact of such a change, and I ask that you halt this change until your analysis is complete and the public has had time to review the new data and provide comments.

More generally, the Postal Service has stated that there will be only slight changes in national average mail delivery service standards, while ignoring my constituents’ concerns about significant local decreases in service standards. National averages do not reflect the individual impacts of consolidating operations from the Eureka, CA facility to a facility in Medford, Oregon. The road connecting Eureka and Medford is frequently closed due to inclement weather, which could effectively isolate my constituents on the north coast of California from vital services.

Since I remain increasingly skeptical that your reported national averages accurately depict the situation on the ground, and since my constituents in rural communities need to receive postal services in a timely manner like medications and mail-in ballots, I ask the Postal Service to provide my office with a data map and analysis of the change in mail delivery service standards for both mail facilities from fiscal year 2008 compared to fiscal year 2014, documenting the change in scope from 1 day, 2 day, and 3 day delivery. It is my understanding that this information is tracked by the USPS and has already been provided to other members of Congress for their congressional districts.

In addition, I am concerned that recent Postal Service decisions regarding delivery service standards will exacerbate the impacts to my rural constituents. Through 2014, rural communities already tended to see longer delivery times under the 1-3 day standard, so the changes implemented in January 2015 to a 2-3 day standard will likely increase mail delivery times for my constituents. Further, I understand the new rules to mean that any mail not received by a post office before 8:00am will not be counted until the next day, potentially meaning well over 3 days could elapse for rural First Class Mail delivery. As I have mentioned to your predecessor, decreasing service is not the answer to ensuring the Postal Service remains competitive. While I applaud the USPS for thinking creatively on ways to improve your business model and innovate, the proposed “Network Rationalization” is a deeply flawed plan, and from your responses to me thus far it appears to lack sufficient financial or service data to move forward.

By this letter, I request that the Postal Service:

  1. Suspend this misguided proposal to consolidate mail processing facilities on California’s North Coast.
  2. Provide my office with a change in delivery standards for First Class Mail, in map format, for fiscal years 2008 and 2014 for zip codes (see attached list) within my congressional district.
  3. Provide my office and the public the new AMP workbook for the North Bay facility that accounts for moving processing operations to San Francisco, prior to removing operations from the Petaluma facility.

I look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,

JARED HUFFMAN
Member of Congress

Cc:       Noemi Luna, Acting District Manager
San Francisco District, United States Postal Service

via Rep. Huffman to New Postmaster General: Don’t Close Petaluma and Eureka Mail Processing Centers | Congressman Jared Huffman.

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