Report: 1 in 5 Richmond mail centers demonstrate ‘poor performance’

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new audit shows that one out of five of Richmond’s mail offices are demonstrating “poor performance.” 

The report was conducted by USPS’ Office of Inspector General. It analyzed all 74 of Richmond’s mail centers beginning in August of 2018 and completed this month. It found that 16 centers aren’t doing their jobs the way they should be.

When Richmond’s new postmaster, Joseph Thekkekara, was sworn in, he pledged to fix the city’s mail system. “We still have the same problems,” a resident told 8News on Thursday.

Customers have historically complained of problems like getting other peoples’ mail, mail arriving late in the day, mail being mishandled, or never showing up at all. 

“People complain but nothing really gets done,” a resident said.

Some residents told 8News they sometimes don’t get their mail until as late as 10 p.m. 

The report discovered three main problems: untimely delivery, missing lock keys, which secures mail from theft, and customer complaints not being resolved quick enough.

The report says the delays cost the Richmond district $1.7 million in employee overtime costs and almost $84,000 to re-open unresolved customer complaints. 

“I feel like I’m not getting what I’m paying for as a taxpayer and as a user of the U.S. mail system,” one Richmond resident said.

Richmond resident Rheba Gwaltney said she wants to hear from the postal service and how they plan to fix the problems. “Having an expectation is what we really need and that expectation should come from the postal service telling us what their plan is,” she said.

8News has asked the postmaster for an interview several times but he’s almost always declined or not responded to our requests.

Richmond’s USPS district manager did responded in the report. She wrote the department is committed to making some changes but disagrees with one of the audit’s findings. 

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