Postal report to detail new procedures for anthrax contamination
HADDON HEIGHTS, New Jersey (CNN) -- Managers of local postal facilities will have the authority to close their facilities under new contamination-scare procedures drawn up by the U.S. Postal Service's investigator general, a New Jersey congressman said Monday.
The new procedure is in a report on the handling of anthrax contamination at New Jersey's Bellmawr postal facility in November. The report will be made public later this month, but U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews, D-New Jersey, talked Monday about some details of the report.
Not only would local postal managers be able to decide on their own to close their facilities, they also would have to see written proof of safety before reopening them, Andrews said.
The Bellmawr center was closed and reopened three times in one week after an employee showed symptoms of skin anthrax.
Andrews said the new measures "would probably sort out a similar situation in 36 hours and avoid the cost, the anxiety and the fiasco endured last November at Bellmawr."
He said the Bellmawr postal manager, Michael Brose, "showed competence and concern for both the public and his employees," but the congressman laid blame on "misinformation somewhere along the line between the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention], the FBI and the U.S. postal inspectors and mishandling by all three organizations that was potentially lethal."
He added that although the investigator general's report cited "no indication of pressure from the top," he believed that the Bellmawr facility faced "subtle and unsubtle pressure from the highest levels of the Postal Service in Washington."
A representative said the investigator general's office would not comment on the report until it was made public "some time between mid- and late March."
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