A group of – according to a United States Postal Service (USPS) employee – approximately 100 residents and out-of-town postal customers attended Tuesday night’s information meeting in the Elizabeth Main Post Office lobby to protest the proposed closure of the Roselle Park Post Office.
With no place for the public to sit and only one (1) podium which was used by postal representatives, the one-hour long meeting took place to have the USPS provide information on the proposal to discontinue the post office at ZIP Code 07204 and to hear from the public.
Northern New Jersey Operations Manager Michael Diegnan started by reading from a prepared statement on the purpose of the meeting. A single-sided sheet was distributed by the USPS while he spoke which gave very basic information on the revenue for the Roselle Park Post Office and nearby locations which would provide services should the post office close in town.
District Discontinuance Coordinator Allen Tanko then gave an overview on the process which included a decision date which could range anywhere from next week to March 2012. Since that meeting, the USPS has announced it will delay the closing or consolidation of any post office or mail processing facilities until May 15, 2012.
The proposal from the USPS representatives on hand was to consolidate services with the post office in Roselle.
Many comments from residents were emotionally charged – letting the USPS representatives in attendance know 0f the importance of the post office. Quite a number of questions were in regard to why the USPS would consider closing a location which reported a revenue of $662,717 in 2010 without reviewing other post offices, including Roselle which was on a list for closing but was removed.
Even the usually calm-voiced Mayor Accardi spoke passionately before and during the meeting on the importance of the post office to Roselle Park and how residents felt disrespected by the actions of the local USPS representatives, “We have seniors who have been standing for an hour and that the United States Postal Service has no place for anyone to sit shows the lack of respect for Roselle Park residents.”
Many others echoed the sentiments of the mayor. One postal customer, a veteran and mother of three (3) who lives out of town still uses the post office. At one point she stopped what she wanted to say to point out the actions of the USPS representatives who had been talking to each other throughout, “Excuse me, I did not interrupt you while you were speaking but the fact that you two are talking to each other is very disrespectful.”
Throughout the meeting, when residents asked about specifics with regard to the proposal to close the Roselle Park Post Office, USPS representatives responded that they did not have specific information to the questions asked by those in attendance which made some of those in the audience feel that the meeting was nothing but a formality on the part of the USPS to simply check off this part of the process as being completed.
This was most notable after the meeting had completed and councilman Marc Caswell spoke with the USPS representatives and asked why the meeting had taken place if there were no specifics from the USPS, one of the representatives responded, “Well, we wanted people to feel like they were heard.”
Outside the Elizabeth Main Post Office, the councilman asked if Roselle Park was, in fact, heard or if it had all just been a show to placate the public.