The United States Postal Service on Tuesday announced it will delay by five months its decision on which post offices it will close, meaning the Setauket post office on Main Street is safe for a little while longer.
In July, the Setauket post office landed on a list of 3,700 post offices slated for possible closure. The community to raise awareness of the threatening of losing one of the community's most historic institutions, complete with community petitions to try and save it.
State Assemb. Steve Englebright (D, Setauket) on Wednesday told Patch he was delighted that the USPS has delayed the closures.
"That gives us time for working out a reform and a way in which post offices all across the country are funded," he said. "I don't believe it's to anyone's best interest if post offices that are iconic parts of our streetscapes, such as the Setauket post office on Main Street, are closed. I think that would be tragic."
Connie Chirichello, a spokeswoman for the USPS, said Wednesday that the delay was in response to multiple U.S. senators' requests. But, she said, to satisfy its core mission of delivering mail to 150 million addresses and post office boxes in the nation, it must continue to pay its suppliers and employees – a situation which will lead to a financial breakdown.
"It must be understood that, absent legislative action, the Postal Service is certain to default on these substantial payments," she said. "This is clearly not the outcome we would choose, but without Congressional involvement, the result is unavoidable."
At the center of the debate is the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act of 2006, which requires the Postal Service to pre-fund 75 years of benefits for retirees and future retirees over a 10-year period, which the Long Island NY Area Local union said in a statement in August is financially crippling the post office. The union supports a bill, HR-1351, which it said will provide relief.