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Buffalo Mail Processing Facility Closing Hearing

Testimony by Congressman Brian Higgins

“Thanks to hardworking employees, the US Postal Service has a long reputation as the most trusted federal agency in America but for the communities facing a closing of their facilities you certainly wouldn’t know it.

“In fact this fatally flawed process would be laughable if it wasn’t so devastatingly permanent. The “so called” report that will determine the future of William Street is JUST ONE PAGE.  This one page is misleading listing a job impact of around 200 when 700 people work at the William Street site you plan to close.”

“This one page is devoid of any real primary data.  You say it will save $28 million but the analysis is non-existent.  There is no data to justify why William Street was selected.  No data to tell us if cost savings could be greater by closing other facilities.

“This one page raises more questions than answers. How are you achieving transportation savings by driving the mail to Rochester? Why are there 2 versions with changes that just don’t add up?  The Postal Regulatory Commission recently called the closing process for retail sites “confusing” and full of “data quality issues.”  This represents a continuation of that disturbing trend.  

“Yet the future of this community and families hinges on this one page.  It means real closings, real job loss, real delays in services and a real impact on local businesses. 

“The lack of transparency and public involvement in the process is downright appalling.   This meeting is being held in a rush with very little public notice.  Some would question if that is intentional.  In today’s world people are expecting quicker service yet this backward business model is predicated on slowing down service to your customers.  There will be no opportunity for the public to weigh in when you make your final recommendation.

“I stand up here to fight for Western New York because this community is worth fighting for but wonder if the decision has already been made.  The Postmaster General is admitting publicly that the closings are “fairly set” with no plans to make any big changes to the list of facilities to be closed.

“Why Buffalo?  As the second largest city in the State of New York, the greater Buffalo business and residential population certainly represents a significant customer base for the United States Postal Service.  This city serves as the center point of a 500 mile radius that includes approximately 55% of the US population and 62% of the Canadian population.  

“In September Buffalo was recognized with a “Gold” award for efforts to “implement and…create business growth opportunities for the Postal Service.” – Why are we closing a facility that growing your business?

“Closing the William Street facility would leave an indelible stamp on Western New York’s economy.   Western New York won’t stand by and be played for a fool.  The Postal Service wants to take an action that will impact 700 local families, thousands of local businesses and our entire economy and you give us just one page of unjustified and inconsistent numbers.  That’s not good enough.  We’re not going to sit by quietly and let that happen.  This community deserves more than one page; this community deserves real answers based on solid data so we can fight a fair fight.”