Durbin Provision Would Help Protect Jobs at Quincy Mail Processing Facility; Ensure Community Involvement in Postal Service Study

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–September 15, 2011.  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that, in his role as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), he has inserted language in the committee’s annual appropriations bill that would help protect jobs at the Processing and Distribution Annex in Quincy, Illinois and ensure community involvement in the study regarding consolidation and closure of the facility.  The legislation was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and awaits a vote by the full Senate.

The announcement today that the U.S. Postal Service will include Quincy, Illinois in a nationwide comprehensive review of the Service’s mail processing network runs contrary to an August 2009 letter from then-Postmaster General Jack Potter to Durbin announcing that a similar Area Mail Processing (AMP) study would have yielded no significant cost savings or efficiencies.  Durbin hopes to meet with the current Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to discuss today’s decision.

“Earlier today, the Postal Service released a list of facilities that it proposes to close or consolidate.  The list included at least nine Illinois facilities, including an Area Mail Processing operation in Quincy, Illinois that had previously been rejected for consolidation,” said Durbin.  “While I understand the dire financial circumstances that the Postal Service is currently experiencing, it is vitally important that closings, consolidations, and job reductions be done in a thoughtful manner and only after all the proper reviews and economic analyses are complete.  In short, it is neither fair nor prudent to announce major changes without proper study and consultation.”

In June 2009, Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) – the committee with financial jurisdiction over the USPS – sent a similar letter to the Postmaster General in regards to their plans to conduct an AMP study on the Processing and Distribution Annex in Quincy.  After Durbin directed the Postal Service not to pursue the study as part of the FY2010 appropriations process, the USPS announced the termination of the study. 

[Text of the letter is below]

September 15, 2011

Mr. Patrick R. Donahoe

Postmaster General

United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza

Washington, DC 20260

Dear Postmaster General Donahoe:

Earlier today, the Postal Service released a list of facilities that it proposes to close or consolidate.  To my surprise, the list included at least nine Illinois facilities, including an Area Mail Processing operation in Quincy, Illinois that had previously been rejected for consolidation. 

Neither these communities nor my office was given any advance notice about this announcement.  In fact, we were not aware that these facilities were even under consideration for changes until alerted by the media.  Five of the proposed consolidations would move Illinois operations and jobs to other states.

As you may know, on August 6, 2009, then Postmaster General John E. Potter wrote to me as a follow up to an earlier meeting on consolidation and indicated that a proposed analysis of the Quincy operation was being terminated because the Postal Service didn’t believe this action would yield positive results (copy attached).

“We initiated the study because preliminary analysis indicated that consolidating mail processing operations between the Quincy and Springfield facilities could yield efficiencies. However, as we gathered further data, we realized that there are no significant cost savings or efficiencies to be gained with an AMP study at this time.”

While I understand the dire financial circumstances that the Postal Service is currently experiencing, it is vitally important that closings, consolidations, and job reductions be done in a thoughtful manner and only after all the proper reviews and economic analyses are complete.  In short, it is neither fair nor prudent to announce major changes without proper study and consultation.

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee considered the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bill for Financial Services General Government, which includes the Postal Service. Language was included that suspends the consolidation of these facilities until proper analysis can be performed. I have attached the relevant section, which includes the following line:

“The Committee directs the Postal Service to suspend any consolidations, closings, or job reductions at area mail processing facilities that have not had the benefit of a full AMP study and those where previous Postal Service analyses have found no significant cost savings or efficiencies would be gained by such action.”

I look forward to discussing this matter with you personally in the near future, as well as the Postal Service’s plans for Illinois facilities.

In the future, I hope not to learn about Postal Service changes to facilities and jobs in my home state from the media.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin

Chairman

Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government

Source: durbin.senate.gov