Two LI mail processing centers may close

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Two Long Island mail processing service centers are among 250 similar facilities nationwide that could be closed or consolidated as part of a cost-cutting plan announced Thursday by the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service.

The facilities on Long Island are the Mid-Island Annex in Melville and the Western Nassau processing center in Garden City, Maureen Marion, a regional spokeswoman said.

The move is part of a cost-cutting effort by the Postal Service, which lost $8.5 billion last year, officials said.

The steps outlined Thursday, including downsizing its national transportation network, would probably end overnight delivery of first-class mail, but save the cash-strapped organization $3 billion a year.

"We are forced to face a new reality today," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement.

Officials have said the agency was heading toward a $10 billion net loss this fiscal year and was near its borrowing limit. The Postal Service has already closed nearly 200 facilities across the United States and shed 110,000 employees through attrition.

Marion said the Garden City facility has 469 workers, but she could not say how many worked at the Mid-Island Annex on Maxess Road. The main Mid-Island Processing Center on Duryea Road, with 1,600 workers, will not be closed or consolidated, she said.

The Postal Service said in July that thousands of local post offices around the country could be closed, including three of the 112 post offices on Long Island used by the public. Those post offices are: Setauket, Reckson Plaza Station in Uniondale and Penataquit in Bay Shore.

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"Hard times like these are forcing some tough choices by everyone, but we need to do whatever we can to save these local jobs, said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) in a statement.

The latest proposed cuts were announced as the Postal Service submitted them to the Federal Register as a potential regulatory action.

Marion said the Mid-Island annex would not have to go through the normal regulatory process because it does not serve the public directly. The regulatory process for the Garden City facility, which has a public window, could take months and involve public hearings.

"A decision to implement the changes could be made, I would say, by March of 2012," Marion said.

With AP

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