Revenue loss dooms post office

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Say goodbye to Kearny’s secondary post office.

The U.S. Postal Service has issued a “final determination” notice to permanently shut what is known as the West Hudson Station at 255 Kearny Ave., which has operated since April 1961.

USPS spokesman George Flood said the decision was made this month by the Postal Service’s Northern N.J. District after consultation with staff and community input, including a public posting soliciting comments from Jan. 29 to March 2.

There is a 30-day period for the public to file appeals of the decision but, based on an apparent lack of interest to date, the expectation is that the closure will stick.

Only two people showed up at a community meeting to talk about the proposed closure convened by the Postal Service on June 3, 2014, according to Flood.

Flood said that members of the public were invited to send letters on the subject to the postal service during on open comment period between April 23 and June 24, 2014, but the feedback did nothing to alter the course adopted for closure.

“Some [of the responders] said they didn’t want to travel the 1.3 miles to the main post office in Kearny [on Midland Ave.],” Flood said.

An “emergency suspension” of service at the Kearny Ave. station took effect Aug. 1, 2013, after plumbing leaks from an apartment above the storefront postal office – leased from a private owner – made the place unfit for occupancy and postal staff and postal boxes were relocated to the main post office.

Ironically, the postal service had just renewed its lease of the space.

It appears that no attempt has been made to have the office cleaned. Flood said questions about conditions there should be directed to the landlord. He said the postal service is in talks with the owner to renegotiate the 5-year lease.

Meanwhile, Flood said, there has been a “decline of business [at the West Hudson Station] over the last several years. In the last five years, revenue has declined by 39% and there are numerous outlets in close proximity for Kearny customers to conduct their postal business, including the Main Post Office.”

The closure decision, Flood said, “pretty much mirrors our national strategy of adjusting our infrastructure to match changes in market place. The first-class retail mail market for us is going in a different direction so we’re responding to those changes. On the positive side, we’ve noticed a significant jump in package volume from our business customers.

“Our customers’ habits have made it clear that they are looking for different ways to access postal products and services. Today, more than 35% of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and our usps.com website, which is accessible 24/7.

“It is important to bear in mind that the Kearny Postmaster Ed Wynne has not received complaints about the relocation of the West Hudson Station to the Main Post Office …”

Appeals of the closure may be sent to the Postal Regulatory Commission, 901 New York Ave. NW, Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20268-0001.

On another Kearny postal front, meanwhile, Flood had good news about the N.J. Logistics & Distribution Center, 1200 Harrison Ave., which the Postal Service had eyed for possible consolidation as part of an overall budget cutting move.

“We’re not moving forward with that issue in Kearny,” he said.

That facility has 565 employees and is in the process of a name change to the U.S.P.S. Greater Newark New Jersey Processing & Distribution Center, Flood said.

The Observer Staff