In January, a note was posted on the Richmond Main Post Office window announcing the building would be sold and the post office closed, according to an article by the Richmond Standard. Augustine Ruiz, a USPS spokesperson, confirmed the planned closure. The post office is located at 1025 Nevin Avenue.
In response, a measure authored by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) was unanimously adopted by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee as a part of the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act (H.R. 756), which has been years in the making. Congressman DeSaulnier’s amendment would require the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide Congressional offices with at least 10-days of advance notice regarding any closure, sale, movement, or reduction of operations of a post office in their district. H.R. 756 is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives in the near future. This amendment, which was praised by both Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) along with other Republican and Democratic members of the committee, was the only modification included to this landmark piece of legislation in the markup.
“Currently there is no requirement for USPS to notify Members of Congress when changes to a postal facility are made in their district. I discovered this missing link in January when residents from Richmond saw a notice posted on the door of the Nevin Avenue Post Office, but USPS had not advised my office of the pending sale,” said DeSaulnier.
“USPS has an obligation to keep Congress updated on any plan to sell, close, or alter facilities and operations so Congressional representatives can share this information with their constituents. Proper and expedient notification is critical as the comment period for the public to share thoughts and concerns is 15-days for the sale of a building and 60-days for a full postal closure. USPS is responsible for processing and delivering over 500 million pieces of mail a day and changes in operations can negatively impact people and businesses. My amendment will help ensure the public has advance notice to make their voices heard,” he concluded.
“Residents here and across the country care about the decisions made by the federal government that impact important local community facilities,” said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt. “I was shocked to learn about the proposed closure of the historic downtown post office over social media without having been notified by the postal service. Residents expect federal and local government officials to coordinate to avoid significant impacts; this measure does just that. Congressman DeSaulnier took the steps needed to ensure transparency around important postal service decisions. We are thankful for the Congressman’s leadership to pass this measure and represent the community’s best interests.”
Allen Payton contributed to this report.