Sunday, July 6, 2008

Action, Please!

Hi Everyone,

Below please find a letter I wrote (and had two talented editors in town help with the final draft!) which I intend to mail on Monday morning. Please consider sending it, too. All you have to do is read it and if you agree with the content, scroll to the bottom and delete "Signature and Name and Address", add yours, print it and mail it. The sooner the better. Follow it up with a phone call to her to request the meeting date. Also feel free to send a copy to Cynthia Thurston in Rutland (does anyone have her address?).

Can someone print off some copies and put them at the Store for folks who don't have access to e-mail, leaving a line at the bottom for their name and address? And can someone please post this on the Riptonite blog site?

I think we all need to keep sending letters, making calls, staying active and letting them know we are not going to go gently into that good night! Make some noise, folks. Let's be the squeaky wheel that gets the attention we deserve.

It would also be nice if someone who has experience with and is particularly good at project management to volunteer to Chair this movement. It would be nice to have someone who is keeping track of all activity and keeping everyone informed, as well as lobying for meetings, etc. If that person is you, please call Sally and let her know.

Keep speaking up, Riptonites!

Best regards,


July 3, 2008

Deborah C. Essler, District Manager
Customer Service and Sales for New Hampshire / Vermont
955 Goffs Falls Road
Manchester NH 03103-9990

Dear Deborah,

Due to the closing of the Ripton Post Office, it has been very difficult for citizens from our town to receive mail. Because we have to arrive at the Post Office in E. Middlebury during lobby hours, there may even be some folks who haven’t yet been able to get there, which is unfortunate.

I was shocked to discover that Sean Donohue, the Postmaster from East Middlebury declared an “Emergency Closing” of our Post Office, considering that our contractor reported that she informed him in April that she would not be able to renew her contract without an increase in her stipend. (The contractor said she would be happy to provide a copy of that letter.) As I understand it, Sean told her that an increase was out of the question and then consequently set her last day as June 27th . I am trying to understand why this constitutes an emergency and would appreciate your help in gaining that understanding. I believe that USPS policies and procedures have been breeched as a result and ask that the emergency status be cancelled and the 60 day comment period commence with service being restored immediately to our town.

I was also shocked when Sean announced that he was going to physically remove our mailboxes. I can assure you that Dick and Sue Collitt enjoy having the boxes in the store and enjoy the community interaction that happens there on a daily basis. It is a “hub” for our small, closely knit community. I am confident you will find that the store keepers are more than willing to be part of the solution.

On Tuesday, July 1st, there was an informal meeting in our town that was attended by approximately 100 residents. We unanimously felt that while an apology is understandable, the more appropriate action would be the immediate restoration of mail service in Ripton until this is all remedied, along with the appointment of an interim contractor or Postmaster. Our post office has experienced gaps of service in the past, and temporary employees have successfully filled that position.

I write this letter to encourage you to meet with us as soon as possible. We have a lot of questions and need information. We hope you will provide that for us. Some of our questions include:

  1. What authority or right did Sean Donohue / E. Middlebury have to make the decision to declare this an “emergency shutdown”? What exactly constitutes an emergency?

  2. What obligation does the USPS have in providing service to our town?

  3. How does the USPS determine an official site and employee versus a contracted employee who has to pay for everything out of their meager stipend? What are the criteria?

  4. How do we assure that our next Postmaster be either a regular USPS employee or, if it has to be a contracted position, earn a livable wage?

  5. What is the financial relationship between East Middlebury and Ripton? How is the budget set? Does the Ripton contractor have any input into the budget for the Ripton allotment? How do we go about getting credit for all of our out-going mail, such as bulk mailings, to more accurately reflect our true revenues?

  6. Do we need to take legal action in order to get service restored? We believe there has been a violation of 39USC Section 101, Title 39 Part 241.3 and Act 250.

Will you please call Sally Hoyler, our Town Clerk, at 388-2266 and schedule a time to meet with us? I know we would like to work this out with the USPS and we would like to do whatever we can to get our mail service restored immediately.

Thank you very much for your consideration. I believe you will find that our town is filled with caring, creative, passionate residents who wish to work collaboratively for a logical and legally correct solution.




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