Is Your Post Office for Sale?
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FAQ


Why should we care about saving our Post Offices?

“We believe that post office facilities should meet the needs of the communities they serve. In Vermont that may mean that the suburban design model is not appropriate. It may mean that the USPS has to think creatively when expanding or relocating within a historic district or rural village setting. It means that the USPS needs to consider the needs of a community as the community undertakes projects to revitalize and improve their downtown areas and village 
centers or create new, compact town centers.”
---Senators Patrick Leahy and James Jeffords, Representative Bernard Sanders and 
Governor Howard Dean in a letter to US Postmaster William Henderson, October 2000. A. 

What are some pertinent Post Office facts?

A:

The U.S. Postal Service was established by Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution.  Benjamin Franklin was its first Postmaster General.  From 1775 to 1971 the Cabinet level Post Office Department was overseen by Congress and funded by taxpayers.  Since 1971, the U. S. Postal Service:

  • Is governed by a Board of Governors and receives no federal tax dollars.
  • Is funded by the products and services it sells.
  • Handles more than 40% of the world’s mail more efficiently and at lower cost than other services.
  • Continues to support a $1 trillion mailing industry with more than 8 million jobs, despite the growth of the digital world.
  • Has a workforce that is made up of 40% women, 40% minorities, and 22% veterans, many disabled.
  • Our post offices are public buildings that were paid for by taxes supplied by our grandparents and great-grandparents.

Is the Post Office in crisis?

A:

THE CRISIS IS MANUFACTURED  

The U. S. Postal Service is restricted from activities that would make it self-sustaining.

  • The Postal Services’ red ink flows from Congress’ rule that the USPS must fund future retiree health benefits 75 years into the future (employees not born yet) for $5.5 billion a year.
  • For forty years Federal Personnel Management overcharged USPS $50 to $70 billion in its pension account.  Although this was revealed in 2002, the money has not been returned.
  • The law requires the Postal Service to “break even”; a constraint not required of FBI, CDC, FDA, State Department, FEMA, and Park Services, the Armed Forces or any other agency. 
  • It is mandatory that the USPS serve all areas of the country (not required of FedEx and UPS).
  • The USPS is not allowed to provide services that compete with private businesses.

Why is selling these buildings so bad?

A:

The sale of a significant number of Post Office buildings, many of them historic and most containing uniquely American art from depression era programs, is in direct conflict with established process and procedures mandated by Historic Preservation and the Government Services Agency (GSA).  These sales:

  • Will not make the Post Office self –sustaining
  • Will result in a long term leasehold obligation vs. continuing occupancy in an owned facility in which the excess space could be shared with another governmental agency or leased for ongoing cash flow 
  • Violates the USPS' responsibility for maintaining public property and historic preservation – regulatory processes are not being followed consistently
  • May actually be sold by the USPS at a loss to benefit profiteers
  • May damage local community businesses and customers access to postal services
  • Can lead to abandoned historic downtown business areas, to their detriment.  These actions are in direct conflict with Executive Orders 12072 and 13006 which mandates locating federal facilities on historic properties in our Nation’s central cities.
  • Covenants that are intended to ensure public access to historic buildings and their art cannot be consistently enforced.  Future public access to art owned and paid for by the American people cannot be guaranteed.

All of these sales are being managed by one real estate firm who stands to gain commissions in excess of hundreds of million dollars.  They will be paid on the sale of the property as well as the lease in a new location.  Their motivation is solely transaction based.  Also members of firm have strong personal ties to Senate leadership.


What is the big deal about the New Deal art?

A:

WPA and THE TREASURY RELIEF PROJECTS

The intent of projects funded by the WPA and Treasury Department during the depression era was to put people to work and to provide art works for the American people – even in the most remote locations.

“Art in America has always belonged to the people and has never been the property of an academy or class.  The great Treasury projects, through which our public buildings are … decorated, are an excellent example of the continuity of this tradition.”  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the dedication of the Museum of Modern Art –New York City.


How many historic buildings might be affected?

A:

HISTORIC POST OFFICES SOLD OR CURRENTLY FOR SALE  (as of 19 February 2013)

Annapolis MD, Northfield MN, Berkeley CA, Northport NY, Bethesda MD, Norwich CN, Boone NC, Palm Beach FL, Bronx NY, Palo Alto CA, Buffalo NY, Pawtucket RI, Burlingame CA, Plymouth MI, Camas WA, Princeton NJ, Charleston IL, Pinehurst NC, Cheraw SC,  Racine WI, Eugene OR, Redlands CA, Fairfield CN, Reno NV, Fernandina Beach FL,  San Rafael CA,  Firestone Station -South Gate CA,  Santa Barbara CA, Flemington NJ,  Santa Monica CA, Geneva IL,  St. Paul, MN, Glendale CA,  Somerville MA,  Gulfport MS, Stamford CT, Greenwich CT, Ukiah CA, Huntington Beach CA,  Venice CA, Kingston PA,  West Chester PA, La Jolla CA,  Villa Park, IL, Lakewood NJ, Washington, D.C. Modesto CA, Westport CN, Norristown PA,  Yankton SD, North Little Rock  AR,  York PA, Fullerton CA, Orange Plaza CA, Sacramento CA, Southgate (Firestone) CA


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