Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Verizon's explanation for removal of Lancaster Post box

The following was the response from Sharon Shaffer, Verizon Media Relations representative, concerning the reason for the removal of the Lancaster Post circulation box two weeks ago from the corner of Marietta Avenue and School Lane. The box had been chained to a Verizon pole in the street right-of-way in front of the residence provided by Franklin & Marshall College for its president, John Fry:

1]There is no outside party involved in this situation; Verizon's local manager saw the box attached to the pole, contacted the owner, Ron Harper, and explained that in order to attach the box, it would be necessary for him to fill out a pole attachment form that would be reviewed by Verizon's engineering group to determine if there was enough room on the pole and if the attachment was in compliance with safety standards. Our local manager asked Mr. Harper to remove the box, while he moved through the application process.

2] Mr. Harper was given one week to remove the box; Verizon manager actually gave him two weeks, then returned to the location and found that the newspaper box was still attached to our pole.

3] Verizon's local manager removed the box and returned it to the newspaper's headquarters address listed on its Web site. The manager followed up with a phone call to Mr. Harper that same afternoon and told him he had removed the box and returned it to the newspaper.

4] Mr. Harper brought up the subject of the location of the pole -- in Twp. or public right-of-way? Mr. Harper was told that when it comes to pole attachments, it doesn't matter -- the pole owner has the authority to charge for attachments or deem whether or not they're safe.

5] In summary, the pole attachment form was reviewed by a Verizon engineer, who denied the request to attach the newspaper box , citing safety concerns.
As I stated up front, there was no outside involvement in Verizon's action to remove the newspaper box.