Objective

Our objective was to determine whether the Postal Service followed applicable statutory, regulatory, and process requirements in its decision to sell the East Hartford Post Office. Chairman Gerald E. Connolly of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations and Representative John B. Larson requested that we conduct this review.

The East Hartford Post Office is a historic property that stands in the town’s Central Avenue-Center Cemetery National Register Historic District. The building was constructed in 1939 and is recognized as the district’s most ambitious Colonial Revival building. The East Hartford Post Office provides retail and post office box services, as delivery and distribution operations previously moved to a nearby location in Hartford, CT.

In 2018, Connecticut District personnel requested a study to evaluate the possibility of moving retail operations and selling the facility. The Postal Service conducts studies when considering the need for new or additional space or evaluating options for facilities with excess space. These studies identify alternatives and analyze the costs and benefits of each option. The Postal Service is also required to gather input from the community when considering the potential relocation of retail services. This is to ensure individuals and local officials can comment on proposed projects before any final decision. Before acting on a final decision, the Postal Service Facilities group reevaluates the cost and savings to confirm that the potential outcome of the project is the most financially beneficial one for the Postal Service.

Findings

The Postal Service followed applicable statutory, regulatory, and process requirements in its decision to sell the East Hartford Post Office. This included notifying the public of their intent, holding a public meeting after 15 days of advance notice, and considering comments and appeals for 30 days before reaching a final decision. Further, the Postal Service followed regulations designed to preserve the historic aspects of the property.

The Postal Service notified the community in August 2019 that it planned to relocate retail services at the East Hartford Post Office. In September 2019, the Postal Service held a public meeting to discuss the proposal and solicit the public’s views and comments. In November 2019, following a 30-day comment period, the Postal Service notified the community and town officials of its final decision to relocate retail services and sell the facility. As of the date of our report, the Postal Service has not sold the facility.

In September 2021, we visited the East Hartford Post Office accompanied by Postal Service maintenance personnel to observe the condition of the facility. We identified no maintenance issues that required immediate attention for the safety and health of employees or customers.

The Postal Service followed applicable statutory, regulatory, and process requirements in deciding to sell the East Hartford Post Office; therefore, we are not making any recommendations.

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