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Post office closing draws protest

Johnny Williams, who has a shoe service inside the post office, city commissioner Roger Marietta and leasing agent, Frances Krack, address a group of citizens protesting the proposed closing of the post office on West Broad Avenue. (Oct. 19, 2012)

Johnny Williams, who has a shoe service inside the post office, city commissioner Roger Marietta and leasing agent, Frances Krack, address a group of citizens protesting the proposed closing of the post office on West Broad Avenue. (Oct. 19, 2012)

ALBANY, Ga. — More than 40 people were carrying signs Friday afternoon near the steps of the post office at 345 W. Broad Ave. The idea was to sign petitions and to bring attention to the community’s potential loss of the century-old facility.

Originally set for closure on Dec. 2 by the U.S. Postal Service, postal officials have entered into a six-month extension of the building’s lease with its owners.

“That’s our backup plan,” said Frances Krack, leasing agent for the Griggs building, which houses the facility, “that we can have someone from the private sector move in and contract with the U.S. Postal Service and actually continue the service just as it is today. We just ask that people be patient with us. We feel that everything will work out.”

Krack said that while the petitions request that Congress spare the facility, she doesn’t believe it will happen without some type of privatization. According to Krack, a private company might contract USPS employees to do the work.

“You’ll know they’re bonded,” Krack said. “You’ll know it’s safe. You’ll know it’s going to be there.”

Johnny Williams and his bother Tony operate “Rabbit Man,” a shoe service, inside the post office building. They were uncertain of their own potential loss of income, but expressed concern for the community as well. Johnny Williams said he had collected as many as 250 supportive signatures in a single day. He was “very disappointed” with the lack of local leadership at the post office rally, he said.

Lorie Farkas, assistant general manager of the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission, said the post office building was a part of the “life’s blood” of Albany.

“It’s great to have a mall,” Farkas said to the crowd. “Its great to have shopping. But if you don’t have a downtown, you don’t have a personality.”

Albany City Commissioner Roger Marietta said the biggest problem for the USPS came in 2006 when Congress passed a law requiring the agency to fund in advance future retiree healthcare benefits.

“That’s a huge financial burden, which is at the root of all their financial problems,” Marietta said.

According to the Marietta, the U.S. Senate realized it had made a mistake and passed a Postal Service reform bill. The bill, however has not passed the House. Marietta urged those who were concerned with the possible closing of the downtown post office to go to www.congress.org and tell their representatives.

“If we get the 50 people who were here today and 500 more that read the paper and watch TV to go to www.congress.org and send a letter of support, (Congress) will stand up and do something,” Marietta said.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Next stop.........Greece.

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waltspecht 2 years ago

This is basic economics. The Post Office needs to save money, it chose to close this Post Office due to cost considerations and usage. So now they are going to continue to carry the economic burden because it would inconvienance some, and cost others money due to pre-printed correspondance? So it is a popularitty vote, and a protest is called for? The whole problem with the Post Office has been it is not run like a true business, but is overlysusceptable to political pressures.

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whattheheck 2 years ago

And right you are, Walt. Most want to reduce the deficit and and national debt as long as it is "not in my backyard". Well, you can't have it both ways. This was a strange bunch led by Roger Marietta who never met a government he didn't like. Typical college professor who has lived off the public teat for so many years he doesn't even know where milk comes from.

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ZCorp 2 years ago

Would it be so bad for us in Albany & Leesberg to pick up our mail at a different location ? Times are changing, & this is to control costs. Lets be lucky this is all that will close. We are in a Recession / Depression, no matter who wins the 2012 Election. Look out for yourselfs' & get your own finances in order. Orgainze your bills, savings, food, family needs, not wants. Sometimes one needs to turn off the (Reality TV) and focus on one's issues in life. Let this post office situation be a life lesson on how to deal with ecomonoc situations. How will life be in 2022, which is only 10 years from now ? Bottom line is, (1.) Pick up your mail at another location (2.) Would it be so bad to get your mail every other day ? (3.) Focus on your life & your personal money matters. (4.) Maybe instead of eating fast food ( Which I see the drive ups packed every night ), maybe make meals at home, it is simple, easy, & if you use your mind, you can cook for a family of 5 for supper, less then $ 100.00 a week. These are trying times, Organize . Peace

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Cartman 2 years ago

Close it down. What don't you people understand about the need to cut costs when revenue is down? Everyone acting purely out of self-interest is what got this country in the mess it's in now. Go use another Post Office. Good grief.

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