SIOUX CITY - City Manager Paul Eckert has made a Freedom of Information Act request to U.S. Postal Service authorities seeking a copy of the feasibility study on the closure of the mail processing and distribution center here.
At the conclusion of Tuesday evening's public hearing held by the postal service, Mayor Pro Tem Tom Padgett presented the letter to postal officials.
Since he started working for the city in 1997, Eckert said he thinks this is the first time the city has made a FOIA request to another governmental agency. Padgett, who served on the council from 1994 to 2001 and was elected again in 2009, said, "I don't specifically recall an instance where we did this. ...Oh yes - it's rare."
Joni Martin, manager of consumer affairs for the Hawkeye District in Des Moines, said she handles FOIA requests. Once she receives Eckert's letter, she said, "I will forward it to legal. I move on those right away and don't let those sit."
Whether the study would be released in its entirety, she could not say Wednesday, noting, "Some of the things are releasable. Sometimes they aren't."
Padgett said he also presented the postal staff letters signed by 300 people.
"It's kind of like a petition, but they could be specific about what it is they were concerned about," Padgett said.
Eckert noted that Councilman Aaron Rochester told postal officials that the city is willing to help with expanding the Sioux City mail processing center if its size is an issue.
The Postal Service once again is evaluating closure the mail processing facility and is considering consolidating those operations in Sioux Falls as part of a financial cost cutting move. Postal officials said they don't expect a final decision until summer, though union leaders here say workers have been told the facility will close.
Five years ago when the postal service proposed the consolidation, community leaders, residents and Iowa's U.S. senators and congressman succeeded in keeping the center open. City and business leaders, along with residents, criticized the proposed consolidation, saying it would negatively impact service delivery and the the local economy.