Dickinson might sue USPS over Kingsford center plans

IRON MOUNTAIN — Dickinson County will look into possible legal action to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from making major changes at its mail processing and distribution center in Kingsford.

The first step, approved by the county board Monday, is to seek all documents related to the postal service’s analysis of the proposed changes. A Freedom of Information Act request will be filed to help “determine what further legal action could or should be taken,” Commissioner Barbara Kramer said.

Earlier this year, USPS announced it was doing a facility review at the Kingsford center to possibly convert it to a local processing center. Almost all mail from the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin would be sent to Green Bay, Wis., in connection with the move.

Kramer termed the proposal “totally unnecessary,” adding, “Upper Peninsula residents do not need their mail shipped to Green Bay. We can process it here in a more timely manner.”

The county’s action comes after postal officials faced protests at an April 1 meeting at Pine Mountain Ski and Golf Resort where initial findings of the Kingsford review were shared.

Among those objecting was state Sen Ed. McBroom, R-Waucedah Township, who said the proposal was couched in industry jargon and bureaucratic wording designed to be vague, confusing and misleading.

Kramer, who also attended the meeting, repeated many of the issues raised, including concerns about delays in the delivery of prescription medication, hospital tests and drinking water samples, among a host of others.

While USPS officials said no final decision had been made, the tenor of their responses didn’t sit well with many attendees. Commissioner Joe Stevens, for one, said it was “quite disturbing the way that meeting was run.”

During the session, Garry Tottress, a USPS senior division director, said USPS would invest $3 million to $5 million in the Kingsford site, including $1.25 million for a new sorting machine and $2.5 million for modernization and maintenance.

The facility review is part of a $40 billion nationwide investment strategy for the postal network. The Delivering for American plan would save USPS an estimated $1.1 million to $1.5 million annually at Kingsford, Tottress said.

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, was among the skeptics, telling U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy the facility review was “substandard.” In a letter published Saturday in The Daily News, Bergman also accused postal officials of “bureaucratic incompetence,” noting presenters seemed unaware of the presence of the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain.


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