Setauket's historic is one of three Long Island post offices on a list of 3,700 the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing. On Friday, dozens of residents joined local elected officials and postal labor leaders to rally in support of keeping the post office open.
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 is financially crippling the post office. The union supports a bill, HR-1351, which it said will provide relief.
"Changes are needed in the requirement of pre-funding retiree and future retiree health benefits," the union said in a statement. "Postal service needs to be able to draw on the overfunding of its pension plans. HR-1351 will provide relief. These changes will not cause any taxpayer money to be spent."
Local elected officials, including U.S. Rep Tim Bishop, State Assemb. Steve Englebright, and Brookhaven town councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld, focused on the post office's status as a community institution that has stood on Main St. since 1941 on an historic site dating back to colonial times. In 2010, it was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
"We're talking about our history and our heritage," Fiore-Rosenfeld said at the rally. "We understand in Three Village in particular the colonial history, and this post office is a symbol of that."
Petitions have begun to circulate in the community to keep the post office open.
The U.S. Postal Service could not immediately be reached for comment.