In our minds, a decision by the Postal Service to close Sioux City's Mail Distribution and Processing Center raises a host of questions and concerns.
Perhaps the biggest questions and concerns relate to a lack of transparency during the process of reaching a decision. Why the secrecy? Why the lack of answers to city questions and the lack of response to city alternatives, particularly a proposal to provide financial incentives to help pay for enlargement of the local center? Isn't the city impacted by a closing entitled to see specific data, including the feasibility study on which the decision was based?
Instead of openness and a detailed explanation from the Postal Service, the city of Sioux City was met in the weeks leading up to the decision with a mixture of resistance, vagueness and silence. A city Freedom of Information Act request to see the feasibility study was, in fact, denied by the Postal Service.
The fact the decision was announced a little more than one week after U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, met with the postmaster general on the subject raises additional doubts about this flawed process. Was this, in fact, a done deal from the beginning? Were Postal Service officials open-minded at all to hearing local concerns and ideas for alternatives? Finally, the fact city officials learned of the decision on a day when they were consumed with the Missouri River flood crisis makes this decision more outrageous still.