Two weeks without mail: Investigation launched into Emporia post office

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EMPORIA, Va. (WRIC) — A United States representative is launching an investigation into ongoing mail delays at an Emporia post office after some residents say they haven’t received any pieces of mail in two weeks.

Brenda Drumgoole, an Emporia resident on Farmer Street, said her mailbox has been empty since Tuesday. She said she relies on mail deliveries and is concerned that bills won’t get to her on time for payment.

“If we don’t get them paid, we get our bills cut off,” Drumgoole said.

Martha Dodd-Slippy, another Emporia resident, said mail has been missing at her job as well and that she is “frustrated.”

“It should not have happened like this,” she said. “The first complaint should have been investigated,” she said.

Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA 4th District) said his office launched an investigation to find out why the mail issues are happening. He said the postmaster, Trenise Bell, came to Emporia from Fredericksburg about one year ago. Since then, complaints have been piling up.

“In that years’ time, it’s my understanding that she managed to fire 13 employees. You don’t have enough to begin with,” McEachin said. “We’ve talked to the union and these employees were apparently doing well, but they did have the tenacity to stand up to her and say we can do things in a better way.”

McEachin said he hasn’t spoken to the postmaster yet, but he’s determined to get to the bottom of it.

“If you weren’t good enough for Fredericksburg, why would you send them to Emporia to do another managerial position? That’s a question that I have that needs to be answered,” he said.

McEachin’s position doesn’t give him the power to fire or hire anyone at the post office, but he said he can bring issues to light and present solutions. The congressman said residents should continue to contact him with any concerns or experiences with mail delays.

A sign on the post office door Thursday said residents can’t receive their mail over the counter, but they expect complete mail delivery through the weekend. Drumgoole said she was turned away from picking up her mail from the post office, but she’s hopeful things will soon change for the better.

“I hope that we can all work together and get our mail,” Drumgoole said.

The post office sent a statement to 8News on Thursday saying some workers are out because of unforeseen circumstances.

“Most customers are experiencing regular mail delivery and impacted customers who experienced a brief delay should see mail delivery return to normal soon,” the statement said.

Some short-term solutions to improve things include approving overtime for workers, expanding the hours of daily mail deliveries, such as earlier in the morning, later in the evening and on Sundays when necessary, as well as using additional mail carriers from nearby offices.

8News has made attempts to contact the postmaster but has not been successful.

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