USPS Results: Nearly 96% of Residents Wanted Independent Zip Code

USPS Results: Nearly 96% of Residents Wanted Independent Zip Code for Robbinsville

Each week at the bottom of the Robbinsville Township Newsfeed is one of our more popular and recognizable features. It’s called “And the Number Is …”

For this edition of The Advance, “The Number Is … 95.5 percent.” That represents the percentage of Robbinsville residents that returned surveys to the United States Postal Service (USPS) in June of 2016 declaring their approval for a unified zip code.
Let’s go ahead and call it 96 percent.

Getting that and other vital statistics from the USPS was no easy feat. Our attorney had to file a formal request through the Freedom of Information Act for that number and other documents we insist misrepresent the facts leading to the USPS denying Robbinsville’s request.

Additionally, we sent a letter to both the Southern District and the USPS back on Oct. 25, 2016 hoping to negotiate a more palatable resolution of this matter, and received no response.

As a result, our legal team filed an official appeal of that decision in December based primarily on the USPS misrepresenting the percentage of responses required from our residents. On numerous occasions my office, the office of D-14 Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo and the office of US Rep. Chris Smith were told that in order for the survey to be considered valid, the South Jersey District of the USPS “requires an 80 percent response rate from the customers surveyed.”

Yet, according to USPS Management Instruction PO-439: Zip Code Boundary Review Process, “at a minimum, the Postal Service must receive 50 percent or more of the originally disseminated survey forms…unless more stringent criteria is mutually agreed to in writing.”

The Robbinsville response rate based on the 5,263 surveys mailed to residents was 54.68 percent. I was never made aware we could request a lower percentage of responses. Yet, the South Jersey District not only claimed I was aware, but also stated I waived my right to those lower percentages.

That, of course, is patently false. Under current USPS policy, I could not have “mutually agreed” to a more stringent criteria because I was unaware that a lesser criteria existed. If I had been made aware, I obviously would have made it easier on myself and my residents to obtain a unified zip code.

We sought guidance in understanding USPS policies and procedures on several occasions via both digital communications and standard mail, and we relied on those facts in order to proceed with our change request. But because those facts and/or policies were misrepresented to us, I now consider any previous agreement made between me and the USPS in regard to a response rate as void.

Robbinsville Township is demanding the South Jersey District of the USPS determine the results based solely on the surveys it received (2,878)—in which 95.5 percent were in favor of a unified zip code. Either that or the USPS should conduct a new survey immediately without any more stringent criteria thrust upon the township and its residents.

This is not sour grapes on our part. This is about fair and due process with government working together for the good of the people.
This is about 95.5 percent.

Dave Fried is the three-term mayor of Robbinsville Township

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