red bank what's going on herefair haven nj post office 121819Almost three years after it was removed, and five months after redbankgreen last reported on it, the Fair Haven post office still doesn’t have an identifying sign out front. Instead, there’s a hand-lettered cardboard sign in the window, now surrounded by holiday trimming.

What’s Going On Here? Read on.

fair haven nj post office 121819Except for the flag, the post office might be mistaken for an empty storefront, like those on either side of it. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

The sign was removed when the River Road shopping center in which the post office is a tenant was remodeled in 2017. It has yet to be replaced, and its absence annoys Joe Shevlin, the sole clerk at the facility.

There’s not even a mention of the post office on signage along River Road that identifies the stores in the plaza, he said.

“We are a public service, and we should identify ourselves as the United States Post Office,” Shevlin told redbankgreen Wednesday, as customers lined up with holiday packages for shipping.

Shevlin says he continually hears about people who think the post office left as part of a wave of tenant departures that included Bike Haven and Laird’s Stationery after the strip mall changed hands in 2014.

Shevlin said a Staples delivery man not long ago repeatedly drove past the facility looking for it. When he finally found it, Shevlin says the man told him, “Dude, you don’t have a sign. How can a post office not have a sign?”

He says he worries that could lead the postal service not to renew its lease, which ends in May, 2022.

Though he feels secure in his job, in part because he’s a union official, Shevlin says he has risked the ire of his superiors by complaining to them about the situation. He can’t fathom why the $3,684.34 sign that was created for the location has been sitting inside the Red Bank post office for months, awaiting installation.

An exchange of postal service emails obtained by redbankgreen indicates that Gable, the sign manufacturer on the project, was waiting for permits that had already been obtained from the borough.

“Unfortunately each jurisdiction does their own thing,” an account manager for Gable wrote Wednesday. “This actually isn’t too bad. Florida takes months.”

Will Shevlin get his wish as a Christmas present from the bureaucracy?

“I understand that the application process for the zoning and permit were complicated and extensive,” postal service spokesman Ray Daiutolo told redbankgreen by email Thursday morning. “The good news is we have cleared those hurdles and the installation for the sign is being scheduled as we speak.”