I’m working from memory here folks, it was a long complicated meeting, and I’ll listen to my tape later. For now I can tell you that the Sykesville Town Council voted to staff the Post Office and keep it right where it is.
This is a short-term solution that could become long term.
However, there are a few howevers.
Mayor Miller argued and voted to terminate the contract with the United States Postal Service, which would have meant either no post office, or a post office run by a private business entity in town.
Julia Betz also voted to terminate the contract. Unless I missed it, she didn’t explain her reasoning, and seemed completely unpersuaded and unconcerned by the passionate appeals in favor of the post office put forth by many town residents. And there were many. And they were passionate. And some were quite eloquent in their defense of the institution and also of the women who previously ran it.
Al Grasley voted to keep it open but then, after the vote, seemed to have second thoughts and seems to prefer privatizing it in the future. So the issue of potential privatization, which seems to be what the mayor prefers, is still not off the table.
Leo Keenan, Frank Robert, Ian Shaw, and Chris True all voted in favor of renewing the contract. True and Shaw made particularly forceful arguments. Shaw did a good job of explaining why allowing a private entity to run postal services for the town was a poor idea, and True did a good job of countering any objections to this short-term solution, not because he wanted a short-term solution, but because something had to be decided immediately.
They had to make a decision tonight, because the U.S. Postal Service gave them until this Wednesday to renew the contract or lose it.
The first of the many howevers is this. They voted to keep the post office open through the duration of its current funding period. In other words, until June of 2013. This means the issue still isn’t fully settled and that any positions offered will probably be temporary.
Another however is this. The postal service might not take the deal. The postal service might want a longer commitment, so it’s possible that rather than six months, this might turn into a one-year commitment.
There was some discussion about how many employees to hire, but it seems that, ultimately, it will be either two or three and that hopefully the excellent new town manager, Dawn Ashbacher, will get to make that decision.
There was also a lot of discussion of the pros and cons of moving the post office into the Sykesville Townhouse, maintaining ownership of the current post office building, and renting out that space to a private business.
The discussion was civil and intelligent. The issue has not been permanently resolved, but as of now, it looks like for the short term, the post office will stay in place, will soon resume operations, and will be staffed by new people.
There’s much more to be said, but for now, this is what I’ve got, and if I’ve made any mistakes please let me know, and I’ll fix them.