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U.S. POSTAL SERVICE DENIES ROBBINSVILLE A UNIFIED ZIP CODE; MAYOR DAVE FRIED CALLS USPS PROCESS “A DISGRACE THAT WAS SET UP FOR US TO FAIL”
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ – (August 4, 2016) – Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried angrily responded Thursday after the United States Postal Service (USPS) denied Robbinsville a unified zip code.
In a letter dated August 1, 2016, South Jersey District Manager Sharon M. Rogers pointed toward Robbinsville’s inability to meet the predetermined response rate criteria of 80 percent of returned surveys. The USPS also claimed it required 75 percent of those responses to be in favor of a change to “Robbinsville, 08691.”
Mayor Fried disputed that criteria and called the process “a disgrace that was set up … to fail” his residents. In addition to deficiencies in mail delivery service, zip codes improperly stamped "Trenton, 08691" also impact car insurance rates, GPS coordinates, home values and sense of community.
According to the figures used by Rogers, numbers otherwise unsupported by any hard copy data provided to Robbinsville officials, the USPS said it mailed 5,263 surveys to Robbinsville Township and Windsor residents. The USPS claims only 2,807 total residents responded, or 51 percent. However, the actual percentage of responses based on the USPS’ own figures is 53.3 percent.
Robbinsville Township vows to appeal the decision.
The following is a statement from Mayor Fried, who submitted a formal request to the United States Postal Service for a unified zip code exclusive to Robbinsville back in April.
“They did not even calculate their own figures correctly, and still refuse to release the actual numbers as to how people voted. The USPS will not submit a list of who it actually mailed the surveys to. Government is supposed to work together. We had our township, the state through D-14 Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, and the federal level represented by Rep. Chris Smith’s office. We were all working together. Yet, the USPS made it impossible for us to succeed by throwing roadblocks in our way at almost every turn. It sent out the surveys (on or about May 20, 2016) with no notice, as we approached a (Memorial Day) holiday weekend and then demanded the responses back by June 10. It will not provide us with what the actual tallies are that were in favor, or opposed, to the zip code change.
“This is the exact opposite of transparency in government, and it’s exactly what people hate about government. It’s embarrassing, frankly. If the postal service didn’t want this measure to pass, for whatever reason, they should have just said that and not subjected our residents to this veritable dog-and-pony show. The process was a disgrace that was set up for us to fail from Day 1. Robbinsville did not fail. This process goes against everything we have been attempting to do on a local level to make government better so it can actually work for the people. The law, and its own policies, say all we needed was a simple majority here, which is defined as 51 percent. We achieved that. Yet, the USPS refuses to tell us, or provide any documentation, as to how many surveys they mailed out. They also refused to provide the Township with a few extra surveys for residents that may not have received them for whatever reason.
“The point in all of this is not that we lost. I get that you win and lose in life. The point is it was patently unfair to our residents, who responded at a 57 percent rate according to our numbers – not the 51 percent the USPS erroneously claims (it’s actually 53.3 percent) – in a very short amount of time as folks prepared for the start of summer. But we are not giving up. We want another chance, a fair chance, to change to a unified zip code of Robbinsville, 08691. I encourage every resident unhappy with this result to write the USPS and express their displeasure. I want to thank Assemblyman DeAngelo, his Chief of Staff Elizabeth Meyers, Congressman Smith and his office, along with our Business Administrator Joy Tozzi, for all of their sweat equity and professionalism as they tried to do what is right for their constituents.”
Assemblyman DeAngelo echoed Mayor Fried's outrage at the USPS's refusal to work with the community to address postal service customers in Robbinsville:
Since the day Robbinsville became part of the 14th District, I have heard the frustration of residents that they routinely do not get their mail or are subjected to poor service to the town,’’ Assemblyman DeAngelo said. “But in that same time, the USPS seems to have turned a deaf ear to the residents offering zero solutions. All we have heard is 'No, No, No.' Yet, in the few weeks that residents were given to respond to support a unified zip code all we, as government representatives heard, was 'Yes. Yes, we want a unified town. Yes, we want proper mail service. Yes, we want to be considered Robbinsville as the town we pay taxes in and live in.'
The USPS cannot continue to ignore the residents. We will continue to work together as local, state and federal leaders to make sure that there is a proper, transparent way to fixing the mail service problems in Robbinsville."