Van Nest CPU off the table

Stamp it, “Cancelled.”

The Van Nest community will not being getting a Contract Postal Unit after all.

The U.S. Postal Service has decided that because of internal regulations it will not be able to place a Contract Postal Unit into the Van Nest community as had been planned since summer 2011, said Morris Park Merchants Alliance founder Robert Ruggiero.

The USPS is claiming it made this decision because it may violate a clause in the contract with the postal workers union that states CPUs cannot be placed in communities where a post office has closed, Ruggiero said.

“We were told at a meeting with the United States Postal Service, in front of Congressman Crowley, that the employees working at the Van Nest post office would not be let go, but would be redeployed elsewhere in the system,” Ruggiero stated. “So right there, that cuts that argument.”

Congressman Crowley and Senator Jeff Klein joined with Ruggiero in negotiating with Cross County Federal Savings Bank at 791 Morris Park Avenue for the use of space in the branch for the CPU, and Cross County’s president Anthony Milone said in November that the bank had agreed to house the CPU at its branch.

While not providing the same level of service as a full service post office, the CPU would sell stamps, weigh packages and provide overnight shipping envelopes, Ruggiero said.

Congressman Crowley spoke with Bronx Postmaster Howard Sample on Monday, March 12, and Sample also expressed his displeasure with the decision, a spokeswoman for Crowley stated. Crowley blasted the decision.

“I am disappointed that USPS has failed the people of Van Nest once again,” Crowley said. “Despite assurances from USPS that the Contract Postal Unit was a viable option, they have now backpedaled and rejected the proposal.”

This is really a slap in the face for the community, Crowley stated.

“A CPU is a much-needed alternative that would help to ensure residents still have access to basic postal services,” Crowley said. “USPS seems content with leaving Van Nest out in the cold, but I certainly am not. And, I will continue to fight to ensure residents have access to the services they rely on each and every day.”

Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance member Bernadette Ferrara and Tina Ruggiero representing the Morris Park Merchants Alliance were both present at a meeting in Congressman Crowley’s office on June 8, 2011, in a meeting with USPS manager of marketing services for the New York district Rachelle Parker, local USPS district manager Bill Schnaars, and USPS service employee Diane Jones when they were told that the CPU was an option,

Tina Ruggiero said. Congressman Crowley was present at the meeting, Ferrara said.

Senator Klein also expressed his displeasure with the decision.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the United States Postal Service has reversed the pledge they made to the Van Nest community” Senator Klein stated. “Both Congressman Crowley and I worked diligently with Cross County Federal Savings Bank, who is prepared to offer Van Nest residents these needed services. We need the post service to place forward some alternatives for the Van Nest community.”

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