Downsizing of Springfield, Other Central IL Post Offices Paused Until 2025

By Benjamin Cox on May 17, 2024 at 5:00am

The U.S. Postal Service is pausing the consolidation of mail processing operations at least until after January 1st after pressure from multiple members from Congress.

USPS Postmaster Louis DeJoy said in a letter last Thursday to Senator Gary Peters, who is chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Senate committee, saying that mail processing facility reviews and planned consolidation plans will pause and that any investments in those branches will be halted until next year.

The network consolidation efforts have been a key piece of the Postal Service’s 10-year “Delivering for America” plan to improve its financial health. By aggregating mail processing to fewer regional hubs, the agency says it will achieve vital cost savings. The agency has previously said it would save between $133-$177 million annually.

DeJoy acknowledged during a USPS Board of Governors meeting last week that the agency is “experiencing failures” amid the plan’s rollout.

Local leaders in Springfield including Congressional leaders have pushed back on the consolidation plan that would ship West Central Illinois’ mail processing from Springfield to St. Louis. Central Illinois has regularly ranked near the bottom in the country for on-time mail delivery across all tracked sectors. U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, along with the Central Illinois Congressional delegation of Eric Sorensen, Darin LaHood, Mary Miller and Nikki Budzinski cited the life-threatening situations Illinoisians could face because the USPS is trying to save money in a letter to DeJoy earlier this year. On May 1st, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza sent a letter to DeJoy citing concerns that the downsizing of Springfield’s distribution center would affect important documents like checks and taxes.

LaHood and Sorenson released a joint statement on Wednesday after the announcement saying they were pleased that DeJoy was slowing down the process: “The Peoria Processing and Distribution Center provides essential services for residents in the communities we serve, and any action that would jeopardize local jobs or diminish customer service is unacceptable. We are pleased that the USPS has committed to pausing any potential changes through 2024, but will continue to work to protect Peoria and downstate Illinois jobs and ensure smooth operation of mail services in Peoria and Central Illinois.”

Legislation has been introduced by Budzinski that would stifle the Delivering for America Plan in areas where on-time delivery has fallen to unacceptable levels.