Illinois city pushes against plan to merge Postal Service distribution center with Columbia facility

Saturday, December 3, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The U.S. Postal Service could face some upheaval in its efforts to consolidate the Quincy, Ill., distribution center with the center in Columbia.

About 130 people work at the Columbia postal plant, while Quincy plant employs around 70, according to a report from the Quincy Herald-Whig.

To gauge feedback from the community, the city of Quincy held a public meeting Nov. 22 with the Postal Service.

The city's mayor, John Spring, said the city will continue to push against the possible move, adding that the city went to great lengths to bring the Postal Service's facility there 11 years ago.

"Out of the 300 people at the (Nov. 22) meeting, not one person wanted this," he said.

The Quincy plant is a 70,000 square-foot, "fairly modern and state of the art" facility that handles more than 470,000 pieces of mail per day, Spring said.

Spring said he heard at the meeting with the Postal Service that only 17 jobs will be saved and taken to Columbia. He said he was confused by the proposed move to Columbia, explaining that a 2009 Postal Service study concluded that consolidating the Quincy plant with one in Springfield, Ill., would make no sense.

J. Michael Brooks, 
president of Columbia's Regional Economic Development Inc., said he hasn't heard much of the move but will support it if it will add jobs and stimulate the local economy.

"If the Postal Service requests our help, we will give it to them," Brooks said.

Valerie Welsch, a St. Louis-based spokeswoman for the Postal Service, said the next step is to send a summary brief to Chicago, which will contain information such as a list of costs, expected annual savings, which employees will be affected and all comments that have been sent to the Postal Service. From there, the brief would go to Postal Service headquarters.

"The decision is part of a nationwide optimization plan, so there is still not an exact timetable for what will happen," Welsch said.

The period for comment ends Wednesday.

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Gary Straub December 3, 2011 | 11:04 a.m.

This renewed right wing interest in privatizing everything regardless of how it affects the citizens, is now targeting the post office, which is one of our governments best accomplishments. They tell you of how it is going broke and operates in the red. Of course it does if congress budgets them less then half of what they take, spending the rest on who knows what benefit for the pleasure of their corporate donors. They have done the same with the national park service, and who knows what else. The sad thing is if they succeed they will lose that revenue they are taking from the USPS, and we will be stuck with much higher costs and less service. Anytime congressmen tell us the problem is with the government then they should get a new job since they are employed by that which they continue to denigrate... the government.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 3, 2011 | 11:25 a.m.

Not sure what govt your talking about but I see the US govt as a clear meshing of left and right.

I do agree though that the USPS is probably the best run govtish business but the fact that they allowed in union workers and contract and that they forced the post office to pay pensions up front really screwed them and put them even further in the red.

As far as the right wishing to privatize the P.O. I agree it should be but I am not a conspiracy believer in this subject. If anything it appears to fall more in line with people on the left trying to squeeze more money out of a dried turnip and disregarding the fact that not everything should be a cash cow.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield December 3, 2011 | 4:28 p.m.

"Of course it does if congress budgets them less then half of what they take, spending the rest on who knows what benefit for the pleasure of their corporate donors."

The USPS is not part of the federal budget. With few exceptions, it's been self-financing since at least the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 3, 2011 | 10:45 p.m.

The USPS borrows it's deficits from our destitute Federal
government. "At last count, according to Postal Service spokeswoman Yvonne Yoerger, it owes the government $10.2 billion." A 5B$ payment to gov't has had to be legislatively deferred.

"Since 2007 the USPS has been unable to cover its annual budget, 80 percent of which goes to salaries and benefits. In contrast, 43 percent of FedEx's budget and 61 percent of United Parcel Service's pay go to employee-related expenses."

I would assert that if anything would render this blog to seem to be "negative" (argumentative?) to those that don't post, it would be the necessary response (those above) to the liberal, propaganda like, obviously inaccurate, posts of Mr. Straub and folks of his liberal, progressive, persuasion. If the crows would stay out of the corn, the ugly scare-crow would not be needed.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 3, 2011 | 11:50 p.m.

I like the analogy of the crows and the corn, Frank. Unfortunately, scarecrows are less than 100% effective when it comes to keeping crows out of corn (a 16-gage shotgun can work wonders, but who has time to continuously guard the field?).

Those who are interested in posting will find reasons to do so, and those who really don't want to post will always find some reason or reasons not to post. No problem. Hopefully those who elect to post will do so under their real names.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 4, 2011 | 10:34 a.m.

"but who has time to continuously guard the field?"

It's a tough job but (especially in this case), someone has to do it.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub December 4, 2011 | 10:51 a.m.

I am sorry as I misspoke about the amount the Gov. takes, it is not exactly clear what their profits should be so taking half of that is a non-supportable statement. The rest is found with these:

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 4, 2011 | 12:03 p.m.

Gary S. - One might think that links #3 &#4 above might give one pause before posting an "across the board" condemnation of conservatives.
#3 tells of the contention from USPS that "$75 billion in employee retirement funding" is owed them from an erroneous over payment to Government. GAO investigation shows there was no overpayment and at any rate, 75B$ would not cover the indebtedness of USPS or bring it into solvency. Also notes that USPS pays no Federal taxes.

#4 says,"The USPS does get some taxpayer support. Around $96 million is budgeted annually by Congress for the "Postal Service Fund." These funds are used to compensate USPS for postage-free mailing for all legally blind persons and for mail-in election ballots sent from US citizens living overseas. A portion of the funds also pays USPS for providing address information to state and local child support enforcement agencies." It also lists the powers and attributes like those of a business that have been awarded USPS.

Unless that condemnation was the intent and purpose of the post.

(Report Comment)

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