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Queens Chronicle

Ackerman furious over postal plan

Would consolidate Bayside branch

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Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 10:47 am, Thu Jul 26, 2012.

Congressman Gary Ackerman is questioning the U.S. Postal Service, which is claiming that consolidating the Bayside branch does not require public input.

Last week, Ackerman (D-Queens, Nassau) confirmed that he learned the USPS plans to close the post office next year at 212-35 42 Ave. and move it into the remote annex located at 41-29 216 St. Residents say they like the current site because it is centrally located near Bell Boulevard and has parking.

The annex is on a dead-end street, with very little street parking and is difficult to reach.

In a comment to the Queens Chronicle last week, Maureen Marion, regional manager for the postal service’s corporate communications in the Northeast area, said public meetings on closures are only required for large facilities, such as processing centers.

But Ackerman disagrees. In a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, the congressman indicated that he strongly opposes the plan and the postal service’s “intent to circumvent the law by attempting to move the facility without the required consultation and community input.

“We have been verbally advised that the USPS intends to call this a ‘node study,’ in order to avoid legal requirements. We have seen no ‘node study,’ whatever that is,” Ackerman said.

Marion explained in an e-mail that a node study helps the agency identify excess space and “to blend operations together in ways that helps us drive down our overhead expenses.”

Ackerman wrote to the postmaster general asking for explanations as to why there is no public comment period and why moving the post office “to an undesirable location is a good move for the USPS and its customers.”

Both the branch and the annex are leased and officials say combining the two would be a cost-saving measure. No jobs would be lost.

“Although the USPS does not believe this is a loss of service to the community, my constituents and I strongly disagree,” Ackerman said.

In addition, he noted that he did not receive an official communication on the change and urged the postal service to reconsider its decision.

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