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Bad News on the Doorstep: US Postal Service Announces It Will Move Forward To Close ("Consolidate") 2300 Redondo Ave. Mail Sorting Center; Agency Says It Plans To "Shrink" Area For Overnite 1st Class Mail Delivery

VIDEO TELLS AMECO SOLAR'S STORY. AND CLICK HERE TO HEAR AMECO PRESIDENT PATRICK REDGATE EXPLAIN WHY SOLAR MAKES SUCH GOOD SENSE.

(May 17, 2012) -- The U.S. Postal Service announced today (May 17) that it will move ahead with previously announced plans to "consolidate" (close) its mail processing facility at 2300 Redondo Ave. (between Willow and Stearns Sts.).

The agency, swimming in red ink, plans to move its operations to Los Angeles. In its release, the agency says it's working on a new regulation that will "initially shrink the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas and enable consolidation activity in 2013. The new rule would further tighten the overnight delivery standard in 2014 and enable further consolidation of the Postal Service mail processing network absent any change to the circumstances of the Postal Service."

"We are essentially preserving overnight delivery for First-Class Mail through the end of 2013, although we are collapsing the distance that we can provide overnight service to the distribution area served by a particular mail processing facility," said Postal Service CEO Megan Brennan. Approximately 80 percent of First-Class Mail will still be delivered overnight, a USPS release says.

Over 650 employees at the mail processing facility are expected to be affected by the closure. USPS says in its release that it's "working with its unions for an employee retirement incentive, although no final decision has been made. 'The Postal Service has reduced the size of its workforce by 244,000 career employees since 2000 without resorting to layoffs, said [USPS CEO Megan Brennan]. 'We are a responsible employer and we will work with our employees to ensure a smooth transition to a much leaner organization.'"

Closure of the mail processing facility comes despite opposition from Signal Hill's Mayor, a letter from LB's City Manager on behalf of the City Council and in-person testimony by Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske (who also requested assistance from Senators Boxer and Feinstein to keep the facility open). (LBReport.com coverage, click here).

LBReport.com also published written testimony by retired Postal Service manager Martine Etchepare, a 4th Council district resident, who filed a written report outlining the business case in favor of maintaining the mail processing operation on Redondo Ave., arguing that it reflected faulty USPS planning and analysis and would result in negative service, community and financial impacts. For LBReport.com coverage of Mr. Etchepare's written testimony, click here.

In an accompanying release, USPS stated:

The U.S. Postal Service today announced plans to move ahead with a modified plan to consolidate its network of 461 mail processing locations in phases. The first phase of activities will result in up to 140 consolidations through February of 2013. Unless the circumstances of the Postal Service change in the interim, a second and final phase of 89 consolidations is currently scheduled to begin in February of 2014.

"We revised our network consolidation timeline to provide a longer planning schedule for our customers, employees and other stakeholders, and to enable a more methodical and measured implementation," said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service.

"We simply do not have the mail volumes to justify the size and capacity of our current mail processing network. To return to long-term profitability and financial stability while keeping mail affordable, we must match our network to the anticipated workload," said Donahoe. "Our current plan meets our cost reduction goals, ensures seamless and excellent service performance throughout the implementation period, and provides adequate time for our customers to adapt to our network changes."

The Postal Service will begin consolidating operations this summer -- which mostly involve transferring mail-processing operations from smaller to larger facilities. Due to the volume of high-priority mail predicted for the election and holiday mailing seasons, no consolidating activities will be conducted from September through December of 2012. Approximately 5,000 employees will begin receiving notifications next week related to consolidating and other efficiency-enhancing activities to be conducted this summer.

"We will be conducting consolidation activities this summer at only 48 locations," said Megan Brennan, chief operating officer of the Postal Service. "As a result, nearly all consolidating activities in 2012 will occur in August and then will resume again the early part of next year."

These consolidating activities will reduce the size of the Postal Service workforce by approximately 13,000 employees and, when fully implemented, will generate cost reductions of approximately $1.2 billion annually.

"The Postal Service will be communicating with our customers and employees about these changes in great detail," said Megan Brennan. "We will work closely with our customers to ensure there are no surprises as we move forward."

The Postal Service also announced it is working with its unions for an employee retirement incentive, although no final decision has been made. "The Postal Service has reduced the size of its workforce by 244,000 career employees since 2000 without resorting to layoffs," said Brennan. "We are a responsible employer and we will work with our employees to ensure a smooth transition to a much leaner organization."

The Postal Service also announced that it would soon issue a new regulation to modify its existing Service Standard for overnight delivery. The Postal Service said a Final Rule would soon be published in the Federal Register that would initially shrink the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas and enable consolidation activity in 2013. The new rule would further tighten the overnight delivery standard in 2014 and enable further consolidation of the Postal Service mail processing network absent any change to the circumstances of the Postal Service.

"We are essentially preserving overnight delivery for First-Class Mail through the end of 2013, although we are collapsing the distance that we can provide overnight service to the distribution area served by a particular mail processing facility," said Megan Brennan. Approximately 80 percent of First-Class Mail will still be delivered overnight.

Congress has the last word on the Postal Service, and could revamp the entire agency and its operations if it so chooses.

On September 3, 2003, the House of Representatives took up a bill (H.R. 2309) by then-Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., Carson-LB) to designate the facility at 2300 Redondo Ave. as the "J. Stephen Horn Post Office Building." In an ironic twist, Horn was Gerrymandered out of office in a 2001 Sac'to redrawing of district lines that divided LB's former 38th Congressional district between Millender-McDonald (roughly 80%) and Rohrabacher (roughly 20%).

Congressmembers Millender-McDonald and Rohrabacher both noted that Horn had fought hard to get a separate Zip Code for Signal Hill, so it was appropriate to name a postal facility for him in that area.

Retired Congressman Horn died on Feb. 17, 2011; his wife, Nini Horn, passed away Feb. 21, 2012.



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