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CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION CHALLENGES POST OFFICE ON MOVE

 CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION CHALLENGES POST OFFICE ON MOVE
 PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Rep. Tom Foglietta (D-Pa.) released a letter sent to Postmaster General Marvin Runyon protesting the U.S. Postal Service's decision to close its Philadelphia regional office, displacing up to 400 employees, in favor of offices in Pittsburgh and Virginia, saying the decision was "merely playing with people as if they are chess pawns."
 The letter was signed by Foglietta, U.S. Rep. Bob Borski, Lucien Blackwell, and Peter Kostmayer. The text of the letter is as follows:
 We write to contest your decision to move the operational headquarters of the eastern region of the U.S. Postal Service out of the City of Philadelphia.
 This morning, we were contacted by our mayor, Edward G. Rendell. He was unofficially informed that the Postal Service had decided to close the eastern region headquarters office at 615 Chestnut Street, in favor of decentralized "area" offices in the Pittsburgh area and outside of Dulles Airport in Virginia.
 We respect your efforts to reorganize the U.S. Postal Service, though we are greatly concerned about the overall implications for the work force. This aspect of the reorganization makes little sense. We ask that you reconsider this decision and ask that you supply us with answers to the following questions as soon as possible:
 -- Has there been an official decision to close the Eastern regional office at 615 Chestnut Street, and replace it with offices in Western Pennsylvania and outside of Dulles Airport in Virginia?
 -- What will happen to the employees stationed at the Eastern regional office in Philadelphia? Will they be terminated? Will they have first priority on the relocated positions?
 -- If this decision is implemented, will affected employes have first priority on commensurate positions in the Philadelphia area?
 -- If this decision is implemented how many positions will be shifted from Pennsylvania to Virginia?
 -- We understand that the Postal Service is party to a 10-year, $25 million lease at 615 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, and has spent a great deal of public money renovating those offices. What is the cost to the Postal Service of severing that lease agreement?
 Most importantly, we have grave concerns about the managerial rational behind the decision. The men and women at the Eastern regional office in Philadelphia have been the brains behind administering postal operations in eight Eastern states for decades. Why risk losing that expertise, or why shift them around to different locations? Does this decision have a clear managerial justification, or is this merely playing with people as if they are chess pawns? We ask that you provide us with a clear statement justifying this decision which seems to be arbitrary and callous.
 We also must say a word about the City of Philadelphia, and its dire fiscal situation. We understand from Mayor Rendell that this decision will cost the city about $1 million in wage taxes every year. This city is working desperately to merge from its fiscal distress, making tough choices and asking for sacrifices from every citizen. Ill considered decisions like this chip away from the city's efforts to recover. Three years ago, our delegation successfully fought off an effort to move another post office operation out of Philadelphia. Back then, we objected to federal agencies divesting from our urban areas. Such decisions represent poor policy choices which negatively impact on employment prospects for urban residents and undermine the economic infrastructure of our cities. Just as strongly, we protest the Postal Service's decision to divest itself from Philadelphia, now, at the worst possible time.
 /delval/
 -0- 8/28/92
 /CONTACT: Anthony Green of U.S. Rep. Tom Foglietta Office, 202-225-4731, or home, 202-543-2627, or pager, 202-424-5170/ CO: U.S. Postal Service ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MJ-CC -- PH034 -- 4590 08/28/92 16:53 EDT
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Date:Aug 28, 1992
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