Congressman Mark S. Critz (PA-12) announced today that 529 petition signatures were collected from residents in Derry and East Vandergrift following his letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission asking for an "immediate review" of charges that the United States Postal Service (USPS) may be using a "loophole" to close post offices in these two communities.
"The residents of Derry and East Vandergrift have spoken loud and clear," said Congressman Critz. "They do not want their post offices closed and they are especially upset at what appears to be a deliberate effort by the US Postal Service to label post office lease holders as "unreasonable' in an attempt to close these offices outside of the public review and appeals process."
In the cases of Derry and East Vandergrift, both of Westmoreland County, landlords agreed to the exact terms set forth by the USPS, only to be labeled as "unreasonable" and told that these post offices would be closing anyway. Congressman Critz and community leaders worry that it exposes a pattern of creating a conflict designed to close postal centers. The same practice has been raised as a concern in New Florence and New Alexandria, also in Westmoreland County, and in Sipesville, Somerset County. At these locations, residents were not even aware that their post office was closing later this summer until Congressman Critz began his own review.
"Even the US Postal Services' own feasibility study, which is being used as the basis for the possible closure of more than 3,600 post offices nationwide, has "serious flaws' according to the Postal Regulatory Commission," added Congressman Critz. "Now, communities outside the study have to worry that they are secretly being targeted for closure as well."
In Westmoreland County alone, there are 28 post offices that have leases set to expire in the next two years that could be threatened. In addition to those mentioned above, the list includes Acme, Adamsburg, Ardara, Belle Vernon, Calumet, Crabtree, Darragh, Delmont, Harrison City, Laughlintown, Mammoth, Manor, New Stanton, Penn, Pricedale, Scottdale, Smithton, Southwest, Sutersville, Tarrs, Trafford, Wendel, Westmoreland City and Whitney.
The 529 petition signatures collected from Derry and East Vandergrift residents will be delivered to the Postal Regulatory Commission.