In the News

Washington Congressional leaders demand answers to postal delays

Denise Whitaker, KOMO News

f t # e
Washington, D.C., January 13, 2023 | comments

The complaint line for mail delivery problems is getting a lot of calls these days. Those calls go to the post office, our office at KOMO News, and congressional offices.

A handful of viewers called KOMO all in one day, complaining about slow or no mail delivery, so KOMO News went to check it out.

One woman who's 88 told KOMO she gets all of her medications in the mail, but Lee Wallott said she's only had one day of mail delivery in the past two weeks. She finally had a friend go to her post office and pick up mail for her.

KOMO took her complaint to the senior public relations person with the Post Office here in Washington state. Kim Frum told KOMO that there was a substitute carrier on that route, who didn’t know that Wallott had been granted a hardship and her mail was to be delivered to her house.

But she’s not the only one with mail delivery issues. Cameo Beedle also told KOMO she’s been dealing with packages that show they’ve been delivered, but she never got them.

“I usually have to call them and try to figure it out, and a couple of times it’ll be like clothing or shoes, and I have to call, and then they have to refund me. I have it happen a couple of times,” said Beedle.

And Linda Smith said after putting her mail on a two-week hold, she went yesterday to pick it all up but only got one piece of mail.

“And I know I have more because I’ve been waiting for my state ID, my driver’s license renewal,” said Smith.

Smith called the DMV, and they told her that her license was already delivered.

“Very upset! Then today I got notice that I got a package waiting, came back in, and now I have a stack of mail but also my driver’s license,” said Smith, holding all the mail she’d just picked up. Among the stack was the envelope from the DMV containing her correct address, but then handwriting that said delivered to the wrong address.

KOMO went to talk with Representative Rick Larsen about mail delivery issues.

“It’s not acceptable that people aren’t getting their mail on time,” said Rep. Larsen. “I know that in my office, I’ve heard from around 60 people, 60 people just in the December time frame,” he added.

But he told KOMO that his office started getting complaints earlier last year, so many that he and Representative Suzan DelBene started asking Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for answers, back in July. DeJoy answered in August, but with a fresh batch of complaints, they went back to DeJoy today.

“And we need answers now. What is going to solve it this time? I’m tired of timelines. Our timeline is now,” he said.

So, what is it that needs to be fixed? “Probably short-staffed,” said Broad.

“I think everyone’s in a hard time right now, and they're understaffed, and that has a lot to do with it,” said Beedle.

But Larsen said it's not a letter carrier problem is a distribution issue.

“And that means it’s more of a systemic problem. A system of delivery before it gets to the letter carrier. That’s only a problem that Postmaster General DeJoy can put resources behind, and we demand that he do that,” said Larsen.

Rep. DelBene’s office also said that she is very concerned that if these issues don’t get fixed immediately, as we’re rushing into tax season, people will have a hard time getting their tax paperwork and returns in, on time.

So, the two congress people sent another letter to DeJoy today, asking him to promptly address these concerns:

  • Can you provide a detailed list of all steps USPS is taking to ensure timely mail delivery during periods of high mail volume, including the December holiday period?
  • What is the specific USPS policy under which USPS employees are required to prioritize package delivery over letters, flats, and other classes of mail?
  • What steps is USPS taking to improve communication with constituents impacted by mail delivery delays?
  • What steps is USPS taking to address its workforce shortage, both in terms of hiring new employees and improving retention of current employees?
  • What training and resources are provided to new employees, and how are supervisors trained to help new employees?
  • How is USPS training supervisors to manage busy mail periods and support employees? What additional resources can Congress provide to help USPS address these issues?

While Larsen and DelBene demand answers on policies and procedures, Frum told KOMO they are extremely short-staffed statewide in Washington.

She said they've brought in people from other facilities to backfill positions. She also said they've got a goal to hire up to 1,000 new postal employees in Washington in the next few months.

Click here to read the full article on KOMO News.
f t # e