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Toledo sorting facility A forum on Dec. 29 will discuss the reasons for the shutting down of the Toledo sorting facility.
A forum on Dec. 29 will discuss the reasons for the shutting down of the Toledo sorting facility.
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Published: Thursday, 12/15/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Postal Service sets hearing on closing of Toledo processing center

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

One day after agreeing to a five-month delay in shutting down 252 mail processing centers nationwide, the U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday it will hold a public meeting to explain why it wants to move mail processing out of the Toledo facility, and take comments.

The two-hour forum is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 29 at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd.

The independent government agency said its managers will explain its reasons for proposing to shut the Toledo mail facility on South St. Clair Street and take community input.

Two area congressmen welcomed the five-month delay in the closures and the planned hearing.

"A lot of us thought they were proceeding too quickly," U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) said Wednesday. He said the closure of the Lima processing facility in the summer triggered complaints about poor mail delivery.

"They closed the Lima facility and moved things north. Things did not go well in that region after that was closed," Mr. Latta said. He said he hoped the testimony will be given serious consideration.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said Congress should "address the Postal Service's financial crisis as soon as possible, so that we can prevent unnecessary layoffs and mail delivery delays in the future."

She added, "In this economy, we do not want hasty decisions that could destroy the livelihoods of 400 productive workers in northern Ohio."

On Tuesday, the Postal Service agreed to delay the closing of 252 mail processing centers -- including the one in Toledo -- and 3,700 local post offices that include five in Toledo, until mid-May.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said in a telephone conference call Wednesday that there were fears that the Toledo facility would be closed in January.

Mr. Brown said he has introduced legislation that would do several things to help the Postal Service gain stability. He said the bill would free the postal service from having to pre-fund its pension obligations for 75 years. He called that a "unique" requirement that costs the mail service more than $5 billion a year.

Mr. Brown also said the post office should be allowed to do more retail services, including selling licenses and shipping beer and wine. The bill would also preserve six-day delivery and rural post offices.

"This legislation will address the Postal Service's fiscal troubles while maintaining jobs and high-quality service in Ohio and throughout the nation," Mr. Brown said.

The Postal Service said its study called for consolidating mail operations now performed at the Toledo facility at processing and distribution centers in Detroit, Pontiac, Mich., and Columbus.

The Postal Service said a summary of the proposal and presentation materials will be made available on usps.com one week before the meeting. Comments can be sent to: Manager of Consumer and Industry Contact, Northern Ohio District, 2400 Orange Ave., Room 25, Cleveland, OH, 44101-9631.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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