At this point, without immediate and direct pressure on the US Postmaster General it is clear to me that the Ward Post Office will be closed.
It is also clear that the USPS Closing Process has been a sham, that the USPS has ignored their own regulations, that there is NEVER a consideration of community input, and that rights of community members have been violated during this process.
In the case of the Ward Post Office, Scott Prestige of Senator Bennet’s office, Danielle Henry of Congressman Polis’s office, and State Senator Jeanne Nicholson can verify that at the Post Office Community meeting of Sept 6, Ward customers presented oral and written testimony regarding the Historic Ward Post Office, including National Registry #, about the extreme high altitude winter weather and dangerous roads, about the many businesses and non-profit organizations, including Boy Scouts, American Legion, Boys/Girls Club Camps, the long distance over 20 miles round trip to nearest other post office, etc., etc.
Almost a month later the USPS posted its Proposal to Close the Ward Post Office. The proposal listed the followimg:
1. Ward Post Office is 37 years old. (Actually the building is about 118 years old and the PO service to Ward close to the same)
2. Not listed as a historic landmark. (Yes, it is)
3. No significant historical events related to the community. (It was the Ward schoolhouse for half a century, and plays parts in many historical Ward events)
4. Only 3 businesses in Postal area. (Actually there are dozens of micro and small businesses in the community and its surroundings)
5. No non-profit organizations in the Ward Postal Area (Probably 10 exist)
Under disadvantges to closing, no mention was made of over 1 hour round trip to other Post Office, high altitude environment, danger of travel on mountains roads, impact on elderly/low income/people without cars/lack of bus service, negative economic impact on small business, Fire Protection District, Town of Ward administration, community as a whole or ANY issue rasied by Ward Postal Customers in a petition, in letters, surveys, oral testimony. ALL COMMUNITY INPUT WAS IGNORED.
In additon, the USPS has not complied with their own required procedures for the closing process.
1. Would not schedule meeting at time when most customers would have access (requested in a letter to USPS)
2. Promised in a letter in response to our request for line-item fiancial information that the financial information would be attached to the Proposal to Close which would be posted and we did not have to file a FOI request — requested info did not accompany Proposal, we did have to file a FOI request.
3, Did not attach ANY copies of letters received, surveys, petitions, etc. regarding the closing when they are required by USPS regulations to attach ALL communications received regarding the Closing.
4. USPS has not responed in writing to questions from Postal Customers that were written in survey, by letters, etc.
In essence, the USPS has totally ignored the community, legislators, historic societies, as well as disregarding rights of citizens. This is in the case of the Ward Post Office.
After researching what has happened in other communities, it is clear that the USPS operates in a similar manner in ALL communities, has already made a decision to close all Post Offices indicated “for study” (in some cases the closing coordinator actually told community members it was a “done deal” and not to bother fighting it or in some cases communities received Final Notice of Closing before study was ever concluded), that over and over the USPS has refused to correct blatant errors in financial info, community information, has violated citizens rights by not allow video taping of the public meeting, has refuesed to comply with community requests to correct information, refused to comply with requests for financial information, and in many cases, did not comply with FOI requests.
This whole closing process is a SHAM. Apeeals to the PRC are summarily turned down with no explantion for decisions. The PRC Chair herself has said
I am concerned the public’s rights to notification and participation in the closing process are now ignored. The Postal Service is a government monopoly with obligations to all its citizens, not only a delivery service for business mailers — as important as that may be to our nation’s economy.
Ruth Galway, Chair, Postal Regulator Commission, May 11, 2011
Senator MCCaskill of Missouri has openely questioned the USPS process http://ozarksfirst.com/fulltext?nxd_id=535177&shr=addthis
In Appeal after Appeal, attorney’s for large and small communites have cited examples of citizen’s rights being ignored and USPS regulations violated. It is clear that the USPS has already made up its mind to close Post Offices on the “study list” and the study process and citizen input are a SHAM.
At this point, the only things that can help Rural Post Offices have any chance for a fair hearing is a MORIATORIUM ON POST OFFICE CLOSINGS–nothing else will make a difference at this point. Until and unless a Moratium is implement, rural communites have no hope for a fair hearing. We elect our Legislators–they need to stand up for us.
This letter constitutes a Complaint again the USPS regarding Closing Post Offices, a request for an investigations, and a request for an immediate Morotorium on Closing Post Offices.
Citizens to Save the Historic Ward Post Office