200 people attend forum, question postal officials on proposed closing

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The United States Postal Service held a community forum Thursday night explaining a proposal to move Utica's Mail Processing and Distribution Center to Syracuse.

The proposal comes after an Area Mail Processing study found that transferring the Utica Facility to Syracuse's, would save approximately $4,891,599.

The meeting brought nearly 200 people to ask U.S. Postal Service officials questions and share their opinions that the Utica facility can't be lost.

However, many residents left the forum upset, feeling as though a decision was already made.

"It's sad to say this, but I think they know this facility is going to be shut down and they're just giving the people a chance to say their piece," says Utica Letter Carrier Tony Maggio.

Post Office officials say that if the proposal does go through, workers won't lose their jobs with the postal service, but they will have to relocate.

"We anticipate that we have held vacancies across the district and will be able to place our employees into vacant jobs that we have," says USPS District Manager Edward Phelan. "Either in an office around Utica, in Syracuse or some other place that's feasible for them."

It's an issue that continues to be upsetting to many of Utica's letter carriers, even though their jobs aren't expected to be affected.

"I feel for a lot of these people in here on the clerks' side, because I know a lot of them here, and if you've got 25 years in and you've got to back up and go to Syracuse to finish 5, 7 years, that's tough," says Maggio.

Local politicians, postal workers and community members now want everyone to come together and through comments and compiling their own numbers, refute the proposal and keep the processing and distribution center in Utica.

"I hope and I pray that they do keep it here," Maggio said. "It's been here a long time. It's been here a long, long time."

Those who weren't able to make it to the meeting, are urged to send any additional comments to:

Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact
Albany District
30 Old Karner Road,
Albany, NY, 12288.

All comments must be postmarked by October 7.

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