The nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service is moving ahead with plans to close dozens of mail processing centers, including Quincy's distribution center, saying it can no longer wait for Congress to decide how to cut postal costs.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says postal operations are simply too big given declining mail volume. The agency will consolidate 140 mail processing centers within the next year, including 48 this August.
Most will occur next January and February, after the busy election and holiday mail season.
Another 89 closings would occur in 2014.
The Postal Service had previously planned to close 252 mail processing centers beginning this summer but was awaiting congressional action.
With Congress stalled over a bill, the mail agency say it is moving forward, but now over a longer timeframe.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe released a statement Thursday saying that the agency will begin consolidating operations this summer â?? which mostly involve transferring mail-processing operations from smaller to larger facilities. The original plan announced earlier this year called for Quincy's operations to be folded into a larger facility in Columbia, Mo. Employees at the Quincy facility would be allowed to apply for positions at different facilities.
â??Given that the Postal Service is currently projecting a $14 billion net loss in fiscal year 2012, and continuing annual losses of this magnitude, we simply cannot justify maintaining our current mail processing footprint,â?? Donahoe said.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) chastised Donahue's announcement Thursday.
â??I believe we did that in the Senate where I included an amendment that would have given Quincy and Rockford an opportunity to prove cost-savings and remain open,â?? he said. â??The House can still act on this bill and they should.â??
Quincy Mayor John Spring also lamented the potential loss of jobs in Quincy.
"I'm very disappointed in the Postmaster General's decision," he said.