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Finding North Without a Compass

A retired Army officer and retired Fortune 500 executive, Warren may be best known for making waves while serving on the Mequon Common Council and Ozaukee County Board. He's no longer an elected official, but he has plenty to say about local, state and national issues.

 

The Zip Code Follies - Part 2

I published a blog in March 2010 entitled "The Zip Code Follies" describing how Mequon residents living in the 53092 zip code constantly receive commercial mail and mail order packages addressed to Thiensville.  This is the result of the sender using the USPS software which returns Thiensville when they enter the 53092 zip code.  If one has Time Warner broadband service and inform it that you live in 53092 you get Thiensville weather and gasline stations on Port Washinton Road as being located in Thiensville.  When the US Census Bureau sent out their surveys to Mequon residents in 53092, they were addressed to Thiensville.  When I got mine, I thought we all might be counted as residents of Thiensville so I approached the US Postal Service to ascertain whether Thiensville could be assigned 53092 exclusively and Mequon 53097 which now just covers parts of Mequon's western and northern areas.  The number of residents included in these two zip codes is as follows:  in zip code 53092 -Thiensville 3,374 and Mequon - 18,894; in zip code 53097 - Mequon - 4766.  My approach to create separate zip codes for Thiensville and Mequon was summarily rejected by the USPS as not feasible under their operating rules.

With that defeat under my belt I went back to the drawing board.  Further research uncovered that the USPS web site for zip code 53092 lists Thiensville as the primary location and Mequon as an alternate.  This explains why commercial software systems call up Thiensville whenever 53092 is entered regardless of your Mequon location.  I recontacted the USPS explaining that the current 53092 service area covered 5.6 more Mequon residents than Thiensville residents, (18,894 to 3374)  With that information confirmed, the USPS responded positively to interchanging Mequon and Thiensville - that is Mequon would be primary and Thiensville as alternate on their 53092 software.   With this change, commercial software programs will display Mequon for 53092.  The USPS indicated that they would contact both Mequon and Thiensville officials and receive their comments.

As a courtesy I contacted both Thiensville and Mequon officials to provide a heads-up.  Mequon responded stating that their Public Welfare Committee would review.  The Thiensville Village President responded by E-mail which included the statement: "This is not a topic of pressing interest, to be honest..,...We'll see what the post office sends us."  Was I ever surprised a few days later to read a front page article in the News Graphic on August 10, 2010, and find that "a topic not of pressing interest" had ballooned into a Thiensville crisis.  Quotes attributed to the Village Trustees had escalated to the point that this proposed minor software change to the USPS 53092 web site, flipping Mequon and Thiensville, was now a threat to Thiensville's identity. 

Somehow these Thiensville officials have extrapolated a software change into an insidious plot to rename the Thiensville Post Office as the Mequon Post Office.  How that could occur is anybody's guess. Thiensville and Mequon have been interlocking communities for many years, sharing services where feasible, yet retaining their own individual identities.  Apparently Thiensville individual identity is not threatened from the Mequon-Thiensville School District or the Mequon-Thiensville Public Library, both located in Mequon.  Interestingly, that's the way they are listed in our local Home Pages phonebook along with the listing of the Mequon-Thiensville Post Office located in Thiensville.  One Thiensville official stated to me that he would have no problem in changing the current post office signage from just Thiensville Post Office to the Thiensville-Mequon Post Office - 53092 -- 53097, although that has never been part of the USPS web page suggested change.

It appears that Thiensville officials, rather than abiding by their "We'll see what the post office sends us" stated approach now intend to fire off a letter to the USPS full of fire and brimstone that Thiensville's identity is in danger as, to quote an official, "It would be very funny to have the post office named Mequon sitting in Thiensville," a proposition that has never even been raised with the USPS.

I would counsel Thiensville officials to step back, take a deep breath and recognize that Thiensville's identity is not, nor has ever been, in question.  No one in Mequon nor the USPS wants to rename the post office as the Mequon Post Office.  The suggested change to the USPS's 53092 web page to list Mequon as primary in the 53092 zip code and Thiensville the alternate, simply reflects that postal service to Mequon residents in that zip code is 5.6 times greater than Thiensville's residents based on the population differential.   That certainly appears fair to me.

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