By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Local and state officials are frustrated that a proposal to close the Central Massachusetts US Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center (USPS Central MA) may still happen. Adding to that frustration, they said, is that they cannot get any firm information on when it might actually occur.
The Postal Service first announced in 2012 that it planned to close the facility sometime in 2015. In doing so, approximately 400 of the 500-plus postal workers in the 260,000 square foot complex would be left jobless.
U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-2, has been an outspoken critic of the plan.
As he stated in a July 29 letter to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahue, McGovern noted, “The facility operates at 66 percent of the cost that the Boston facility operates per thousand parcels. The decision to close this facility is contrary to the financial interests of the USPS. I strongly urge the USPS to reverse its decision to close the USPS Central MA and continue the cost effective operations at this model facility.”
In an interview, McGovern said the process of communicating with the USPS was as if he were communicating with “an Ouija board.” But he noted, he was unwilling to give up the fight to save the hundreds of jobs that would be lost if the facility's work was instead given to Postal Service offices in North Reading and Boston, which are both older and less capable than the more updated Shrewsbury site. In addition, the Shrewsbury site, which was built in 1991 and “is in very good condition,” is owned by the Postal Service rather than leased.
USPS Central MA prepares mail for 117 post offices and their stations, McGovern said, serving over 629,400 residences and businesses each day. It also serves as a centrally located hub for medicines sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans on the East Coast.
“Given the difficulty our veterans are having accessing timely medical care through the VA, it would seem ill advised for the USPS to unnecessarily add additional delay in delivery time for critical medications that our veterans so desperately need,” McGovern said in his letter to Donahue.
The US Postal Service as a whole has seen a noted decrease in the volume of mail in recent years, in part due to the great increase in the use of email and other means of electronic communication, as well as business diverted to for-profit organizations such as Federal Express and UPS.
At a recent meeting of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen, Town Manager Daniel ?Morgado mentioned that there has been no recent communication with the Postal Service regarding the closing. State Rep. Matthew Beaton, R-Shrewsbury, has also reiterated that he has received no further information on the pending closing.
Calls and mail to Shrewsbury Postmaster Scot Florio from the Community Advocate regarding the issue were not answered.