EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio - The United States Postal Service is exempt from paying tickets, that's according to representatives of the group in a battle between the USPS and the City of East Cleveland. Mayor Gary Norton told NewsChannel 5 the Postal Service refuses to pay $700 in traffic violations. This includes about two school-zone speeding citations and several red light violations.
"It's interesting that [the] United States Postal Service, a federal agency that we all rely on, feels as if its drivers can just speed through school-zones and there's no responsibility for it," said Norton.
The matter was brought to the attention of the Postal Service by the company that installed and manages the notorious red light cameras throughout the City of East Cleveland, American Traffic Solutions. In a response to the Notice of Liability sent, Senior Litigation Counsel for the USPS wrote:
"As an initial matter, you should know that the United States Postal Service is proud to serve the many thousands of communities across the country, including those in Cleveland, Ohio …"
The letter went on to read,"In providing mail service across the country, the Postal Service attempts to work within local and state laws and regulations, when feasible. However, as you are probably aware, the Postal Service enjoys federal immunity from state and local regulation."
A representative for American Traffic Solutions responded, "To begin, we must admit our surprise upon reading your letter …"
"…we didn't know they were above the law," said Norton, "all I wish is that if they are able to speed through school zones and endanger children and run red lights, you'd at least think we'd get our mail faster."
According to USPS' Senior Litigation Council, Jennifer Breslin, "…the statue and/or local ordinances imposing penalties and fines cannot be enforced as against the Postal Service ..."which is why American Traffic Solutions firmly advised council to transfer the "liability for the infractions to the USPS drivers who incurred them."
However, USPS Spokesperson David G. Van Allen, told NewsChannel 5, " … there is no legal mechanism for transference of liability from the Postal Service to an employee protected under collective bargaining agreements."
Norton said American Traffic Solutions and the City of East Cleveland would only continue to bill the USPS, meaning penalties and fines will only continue to accumulate. For the City of East Cleveland, that means another financial hit says Mayor Norton. East Cleveland Council Member Nathaniel Martin said over the phone, the city is still paying American Traffic Solutions back for several thousand dollars owed.
Norton told NewsChannel 5 he just hopes all will be resolved, "The bottom line is that we don't want any drivers speeding through school-zones to endanger children and we just hope that the U.S. Postal Service will number one: pay the fine for having done that; and number two: send the message to its employees that they can't, with reckless abandon, run through school zones all over town."