Postal Service cancels plan to close mail distribution center

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. – There’s good news for 126 postal employees who work in the Tallevast mail distribution center. The U.S. Postal Service has decided to continue operating the center, which had been scheduled to close.

It was news Manatee County Commissioner Robin DiSabatino had been hoping for.  “I was doing kind of like the end zone dance there, I was really excited,” said DiSabatino.

She received an email Sunday afternoon informing her that the county had managed to save 126 jobs at the Postal Office’s Manasota Procession and Distribution Center on Tallevast Road near the airport.

“It was sent from the county administrator, and that they had heard for a few weeks but they waited to make sure that it was signed, sealed and delivered before they got us all excited about it,” she told ABC 7 on Monday.

The Manasota Processing and Distribution Center on Tallevast Road borders the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport property and is located in DiSabatino’s district. The U.S. Postal Service said they were closing the center two years ago and moving the operations to Ft. Myers to save about $8.5 million a year.

“When I heard about it I went to the meetings that they had with there employees and in the public and the employees were very upset that they didn’t want to either loose their jobs or relocate.”

DiSabatino says Representative Vern Buchanan, Manatee County Parks director Charlie Hunsicker, and Washington based lobbyists from Twenty-First Century Group saved the jobs with a combined team effort.

“They did a financial study and they presented it to the folks from the government and the post office and financially it was more economical to keep it here than to transfer everything down to Ft. Myers.”

"The Board of County Commissioners were fortunate in working with Congressman Buchanan and both his Washington and Bradenton staff, to question the initial reason given to close this facility. Over time we worked to identify the positive attributes of keeping the facility serving Southwest Florida, and working to preserve the jobs of the 126 postal workers who live, work and recreate in Manatee County,” said Charlie Hunsicker in an email to ABC 7.

DiSabatino said the news is not only good for the employees but for the entire community.

“Any job we can save and create is just a huge, huge milestone,” said DiSabatino.

According to the Postal Service, the closing of the Manasota Processing and Distribution Center was part of phase two of the Postal Service’s Network Rationalization.

“The Postal Service filed a Federal Register notice on Jan. 17 announcing the postponement of the implementation date for the revised service standards that were scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1, as part of Phase II of the Network Rationalization initiative. The new implementation date will be announced by the Postal Service in the Federal Register at least 90 days before it takes effect,” said Corporate Communications Programs Specialist, Enola Rice in a statement.