Timeline of Fight To Keep Cherrybell Post Office and Processing Center Open

Timeline of USPS Postal Processing Center Consolidation Proposal at

Tucson P&DC


September 15, 2011 – USPS issued notice that they were conducting an Area Mail Processing (AMP) feasibility study on the consolidation of “all originating and/or destination distribution operations…” “… For the purpose of improving operational efficiency and/or service.”   The statement continues as “The Postal Service is conducting an AMP feasibility study to determine if efficiency could be increased by consolidating mail processing operations currently performed at the Tucson AZ Processing and Distribution Center with those performed at the Phoenix AZ Processing and Distribution Center.


December 12, 2011 – USPS released the results of its AMP study stating “the initial results of the study support the business case for consolidation.”


December 14, 2011 – USPS agreed to impose a moratorium on closing or consolidating post offices and mail processing facilities prior to May 15, 2012, to give Congress and the Administration the opportunity to enact an alternative plan. 


December 28, 2011 – USPS holds public hearing in Tucson where over 600 community members and 50 businesses attended.


January 12, 2012 – Public Comment Period Closes.


February 23, 2012 – USPS released announcement indicating “the Postal Service has made the decision to move all mail processing operations from the Tucson Processing & Distribution Center to the Phoenix Processing & Distribution Center.”  However, they announced that it would not take effect until after the moratorium was lifted that was to last until May 15, 2012.


May 14, 2012 – Following intense Congressional pressure from the Arizona delegation, the City of Tucson, and other Senate and House members, USPS announced they would extend the moratorium scheduled to end on May 15, 2013.


February 22, 2013 - USPS announced they would begin Phase 1 consolidation referred to as the “small primary distribution” of Tucson P&DC beginning on February 25, 2013.  Plans for implementation of phase 2, full consolidation, were simultaneously announced to take effect around May 2014.  Unlike the prior proposal of full closure all at once, the consolidation was intended to be phased over a year.


February 22, 2013 – Tucson postmark ends.


February 25, 2013 – Phase 1 consolidation of Tucson P&DC begins.


May 2013 – Arizona Legislature passed HCM 2007, going on record protesting the closure of Cherrybell.  (BOTH THE TUCSON MAYOR AND COUNCIL AND PIMA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS CAME OUT ON RECORD OPPOSING THE CLOSURE EARLIER IN 2013)


July 2013 – Bills keeping postal processing centers open are introduced in both Houses of Congress.


September 13, 2013 - Postmaster General Donahoe testifies before the Senate Homeland Security Committee and pledged not to close post offices or mail processing centers before Congress acted on postal reform. 


January 2014 – June 2014 - The Postal Service maintained its temporary moratorium on proceeding with the second phase of closures of mail processing centers and implementing any changes to service standards.  As such, closure of the Tucson Cherrybell Postal Processing Center was on hold.  Should USPS decide to reinstate the service standard changes, such as eliminating overnight mail delivery, they are required to give 90-day notice in the Federal Register. 


June 30, 2014 – U.S. Postmaster General Donahoe announces continuation of Phase 1 and 2 consolidations of 82 postal processing facilities, including Tucson Processing and Distribution Center.


July 2014 – Councilmember Richard Fimbres meets with officials of the U.S. House Oversight Committee, Congressional staff, administration officials and other individuals about postal reform.


August 14, 2014 - A group of 50 Senators sent a letter to leaders of the appropriations committee asking that the committee prohibit the Postal Service from moving forward with its plan to close 80 processing facilities.  Specifically, the letter asked that a one-year moratorium on consolidations be included in any omnibus appropriations bill or continuing resolution for FY2015.


September 5, 2014 - Rep. Richmond (D-LA) introduced the Postal Jobs Protection Act, a bill that would prevent the United States Postal Service (USPS) from closing or consolidating any currently operating mail processing facilities until the end of 2015. This bill would prevent the closure of 82 mail processing facilities scheduled to cease operations before January 2015.


October 6, 2014 - The USPS Office of the Inspector General issued a memorandum to David E. Williams, Jr., USPS Vice President of Network Operations detailing concerns about the lack of evaluation and public notification of service standard changes in the Area Mail Processing Feasibility Studies (AMP) for the 82 facilities slated for closure under phase 2, including the Tucson P&DC.


The USPS OIG concluded that the “Postal Service has not analyzed the impact of planned service standard changes or informed stakeholders of the changes related to Phase 2 consolidations.”  The memo stated that, “without completing and disclosing the analysis of planned service standard changes the Postal Service may experience:

•           Degradation of service to communities, including delayed mail.

•           Carriers delivering mail after 5 p.m. because of unexpected workload.

•           Customer dissatisfaction, which could harm the Postal Service’s brand and affect future revenue.”


The USPS Inspector General provides the following recommendations for corrective action:

  • “Complete the service standard impacts worksheet in all of the Area Mail Processing feasibility studies for Phase 2 Network Rationalization Initiatives scheduled to begin January 5, 2015, and evaluate the impacts that revised standards will have on each affected community before implementing the consolidations.” They assert that the standard impacts should be evaluated before implementing consolidations to “ensure there is no negative impact on delivery service quality.”
  • The OIG states that they require concurrence with USPS management’s evaluation and written confirmation when corrective action is taken. The OIG will then provide written confirmation that the recommendation can be closed after determining a proper evaluation has been conducted.


January 5, 2015USPS instituted service standard changes eliminating overnight delivery of First Class mail. USPS officials indicated the impact would be mail delivery changes from 1 – 2 days to 1 -3 days delivery standard. The actual impact felt in the Tucson region has been up to a 5-day mail delivery delay.


January 27, 2015 – Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) introduced H.Res.54, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to restore service standards in effect as of July 1, 2012. 


February 1, 2015 – Megan Brennan was sworn in as the 74th Postmaster General and CEO of the United States Postal Service.


February 5, 2015 – Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduces H.R. 784 a bill that repeals the service standards for market-dominant products implemented by the United States Postal Service (USPS) on January 5, 2015 and directs USPS to reinstate the service standards that were in effect on December 31, 2011.


March 18, 2015 – Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) leads a bi-partisan letter with Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) to Postmaster General and CEO of the United States Postal Service Megan Brennan opposing the closure of the Tucson P&DC/Cherrybell. Tucson Vice Mayor Richard Fimbres coordinated closely with the Congressional leaders. Rep. McSally was subsequently featured in a New York Times article on March 31, 2015.


April 22, 2015 - U.S. Representative Martha McSally attended a roundtable with Tucson Vice Mayor Richard Fimbres and local leaders on the Cherrybell Post Office and Processing Center and its future. Rep. McSally previously led a bipartisan effort by members of the Arizona delegation to call on Postmaster General Megan Brennan to revisit decisions that would consolidate operations at the facility, effectively terminating all operations there.


May 22, 2015 – After previously announcing the latest closure date for the Cherrybell Post Office, the U.S. Postal Services changes the status of Cherrybell to TBD, or To Be Determined.