Dear Constituents of Congressional District 2,

When my office began receiving calls regarding the closure of the Regional Encoding Center (REC) in Beaumont, my staff immediately went to work to inquire if the impending bad news was in fact true. My staff attempted to obtain information from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) regarding the alleged REC closure, none of the high level postal representatives admitted to being aware of plans to close the facility. It appears the decision to close the REC occurred with little or no notice to the community. I sent a letter requesting a straight answer from the USPS. As of this date, I have not received a reply.

It is presumed that the REC will close in November of 2007 as a result of a drop in productivity caused by Hurricane Rita. This reasoning alarms me as the Beaumont REC has consistently been ranked as one of the top ten facilities in the country due to the efforts of more than three hundred career employees and five hundred temporary employees reason enough to keep it open. The USPS should help support our community rebuilding and keep the facility open.

I am strongly opposed to closing this facility. I have worked to keep the REC open since the first rumors started last March. I spoke with the USPS and they said they would keep us informed and I expected them to keep their word.

In May of 2006, I signed a letter with other Members of Congress asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to make changes in the realignment procedures of processing, distribution and bulk mail centers. A GAO report showed that stakeholder input was not being adequately considered. Unfortunately, a failure to keep the public informed seems to be a pattern of the USPS.

In June, my office again communicated with the USPS when rumors resurfaced of the closing and we were advised that there were no plans to shut down the operation. Again, we were promised to be kept in the loop.

I am extremely disappointed with the failure of the USPS to keep community stakeholders, including my office and those who work for postal facilities, informed of plans that will affect them. I believe the citizens of Beaumont and their representatives deserve an opportunity to voice their grievances when decisions that could lead to cutbacks or changes in mail service in Southeast Texas are made. The bottom line is: the USPS bureaucrats in Washington, who make decisions that affect jobs in the community and the mail service, have a duty to get public input before they close the Post Office doors in the darkness of the night.

I will continue to fight this closing and will keep working to represent the best interests of Southeast Texas.

God and Texas,

TED POE

Member of Congress

TEXAS