Congresswoman Clarke Meets With Brooklyn Postmaster

Congresswoman Clarke Meets With Brooklyn Postmaster
Post Office on Coney Island Avenue. (Photo: Zainab Iqbal/BKLYNER)

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D9, Crown Heights, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay) met with Anthony Impronto, Brooklyn Postmaster on Monday, February 12, to discuss how to address the poor service provided by the postal offices in her district, that has been extensively covered by us and other local media.

At the meeting Clarke expressed her concerns about late delivery, lost packages, customer service, staff shortage, suspension of mail, issues with mail service to affordable housing buildings, and issues affecting seniors and people with disabilities, her office said. Possible solutions, including updating equipment and technology, better training for staff, and staff retention, were also discussed, we are told, though Clarke’s office did not share any specifics.

We asked Clarke’s office how many times had the Congresswoman met with the Postmaster since taking office in 2007, when was the last time, and what has been accomplished through these earlier meetings. We were told that she had met with the Postmaster on “several occasions” including last year, but her office would not provide more detail, other than saying that “The staff corresponds with the Postmaster concerning case-specific issues on a regular basis.”

Clarke served as the City Councilmember for District 40 between 2000 and 2006, so complaints about the Post Office are nothing new.  Customers have been going postal in her district since at least that long, except nowadays it gets to be preserved for posterity, as you can see in this emotional video from the Kensington Post Office (discretion advised).

Adem Bunkeddeko, who is running against Clarke in the upcoming elections later this year, believes she’s a bit late in doing something about it:

“The Congressmember’s effort is, as we’ve come to expect, too little too late. The USPS is losing billions of dollars because their hands have been tied by Congress since 2006; Congress is failing to effectively oversee its operations, and its board sits empty because Donald Trump hasn’t appointed new members,” Bunkeddeko said. “But for 11 years, our Congressmember has done nothing except hold one meeting and make vague promises about future solutions.”

“If elected, I will introduce legislation to untie the USPS’s hands, embrace new technology that other delivery services already use, and hold them accountable for better service.”

Kensington and Flatbush branches have been vying for the title of the worst post office in Brooklyn for years. The NY Times noted back in 2009 that the poor service at the Kensington branch post office saying it “has been reviled by many as the worst in New York City.”

There are long lines, always. Post offices seem to be understaffed, resulting in subpar service across the board – most of which is seen in a CBS NY video (below) that documented the poor facilities.

But the complaints aren’t only coming from customers, mail carriers are concerned as well. In the Flatbush Post Office, 65 letter carriers make 36,233 total deliveries on 35 routes and 8 parcel routes. “What’s happening is, if you are a letter carrier with a package and cannot leave it at the location safely — meaning not into a box or in line of sight — we’re instructed to bring it back for the security of the package,” Darleen Reid-DeMeo, Senior Public Relations  Representative for the US Postal Service told us back in 2016. Most of those routes are walk-outs, meaning carriers deliver mail entirely on foot, and are also concerned about the long routes, especially in rain and snow.

Neighbors say not receiving their packages when they have made sure to be home is most frustrating:

“I’ve been home on multiple occasions waiting to receive a package and then I check online and it says I wasn’t there and there is just a slip in my mailbox. It’s consistently been an issue in the 5 years I’ve lived here. And this is on top of atrocious lines to get it when I do go to the post office,” a Flatbush neighbor wrote.

According to Clarke’s office, there are legislative options for addressing the post office issues being considered by Clarke and her staff, though again, no details were shared.

“Ultimately, Mr. Impronto and I had productive and open dialogue,” Clarke said. “I look forward to working with his team in the coming months and will continue to hold him accountable until the concerns of my constituents are addressed.”