Since December’s USPS Audit, Chronic Misdeliveries Continue

WILLIAMSBURG/GREENPOINT — A few months since the audit of three Greenpoint and Williamsburg postal offices by the United States Postal Service Inspector General revealed numerous chronic issues with mail delivery, few of the issues seem to have been resolved. 

The Audit

The audit took place in 2019 and found tubs of undelivered mail sitting at the post offices, mail being delivered years late or not at all, and mail failing to be scanned or properly sorted upon reaching the post offices. The postal offices involved in the audit were in zip codes 11211, 11222, and 11249. 

Requested by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Representatives Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney, the audit concluded with several recommendations from the inspector general, including coming up with a plan to ensure that all mail is delivered on time, and all returnable mail is handled correctly; following proper USPS procedures to make sure that all mail and packages are kept secure while at the postal offices; and ensuring that mail and packages are scanned properly and as soon as they arrive at the postal office. 

In spite of assurance from management that they have instructed the Brooklyn Postmaster and Williamsburg and Greenpoint Station managers to follow protocol for timely mail delivery, residents of the area remain dissatisfied and say little has changed. 

Photo by Tareq Ismail on Unsplash.

Where’s My Mail?

One Williamsburg resident, who wished to remain anonymous, and who lives in the vicinity of Grand Street and Wythe Avenue, reached out to inform us that a significant percentage of his mail continues to be delivered late, delivered to the wrong address, or go missing entirely since the audit. 

Out of his missing parcels, one was a tax document that was supposed to be delivered two months ago, and which he hasn’t yet received.  He also has not received an important document from his doctor, and his girlfriend, whom he lives with, has not received important tax documents from her employer. He said that they reported it to USPS and Lentol’s office. 

The resident told us that he had complained to the manager of the Williamsburg postal office in May of 2019, Ricardo Perdomo. Perdomo had called to suggest that, if he wasn’t satisfied with his delivery service, he was free to set up a P.O. box. 

One of the recommendations listed in the audit was “putting the onus of self-regulation,” meaning the postal offices are responsible for the mishandling of mail. Asking the offices to self-regulate is like “trusting the rat with the cheese,” the resident said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s outrageous. It’s not just negligent — it’s a [requirement] of administrative law to deal with things in a reasonable manner, rather than in an arbitrary, capricious, and negligent manner.” 

Antoinette Brooklyn. Courtesy of Antoinette Brooklyn.

Lexi, the owner of Antoinette vintage clothing store at 119 Grand Street, part of the 11249 zipcode, said the mail situation at her store has gotten so bad that she has everything of value sent to New Jersey, where her mother lives. 

Twice in the last couple of months, since the audit took place, she’s had bills from Con-Edison go missing entirely. She’s also seen packages for other units in the building left on top of the garbage cans outside of her shop. At her apartment in 11211, another subject of the audit, she’s had Amazon packages go entirely missing. 

Dave C. Wallin, the owner of Eight of Swords tattoo parlor also on Grand Street, has learned not to have packages sent through USPS at this point, “If we need something reliably delivered or sent out, we do not use USPS.” 

In January, shortly after the audit took place, Dave’s mother attempted to send a care package through USPS priority mail, and he found a notice on the gate that USPS had attempted to deliver it, and that it was their final delivery attempt — even though there was never a first delivery. He was only able to procure it once he went to the postal office at South 4th Street to pick it up himself. This type of thing happens to him often, he said, and whenever he signs the notice to have the package redelivered, it is completely ignored. 

Dave lives in the zip code 11211 in Greenpoint, another subject of the audit, but said the mail in there has been consistently reliable.

James Zina, a manager at Passatempo, an Italian restaurant at the intersection of Grand Street and Wythe Avenue, says that he often gets mail meant for other tenants in their building, and that it’s definitely happened within the last two months. 

Others Actually Get Their Mail in 11249

Stacy, the owner of home goods store Leif at 99 Grand Street, told us that “I generally have only good things to say about USPS.” 

Tina, an employee of the jewelry store SCOSHA, across the street from Passatempo, said they haven’t had any issues. “Our mail delivery person is great,” she said. “She’s awesome.” 

Joshua, a partner at Grand Wine & Spirits at the intersection of Grand Street and Kent Avenue, said, “I haven’t had any issues.” 

What Are Local Authorities Doing?

We asked Assemblyman Lentol’s office whether they thought further measures should be taken to ensure that problems like these abate.

“The audit requested by Assembly Member Lentol was an important step to identify the underlying problems at the Greenpoint and Williamsburg post offices,” Emily Mijatovic, Director of Communications for the Assemblyman, told us in an email. “As stated in the Inspector General’s audit report, the OIG will conduct follow-up to ensure all issues identified in their report have been remediated. I have asked the OIG for an update on their follow-up. As far as Assembly Member Lentol is concerned, the problem will be resolved only when his office stops receiving complaints. Anyone who continues to have issues with mail delivery at the Greenpoint and Williamsburg post offices should contact Assemblyman Lentol’s office so that we can report it.”

Mijatovic told us that the volume of complaints about misdelivered mail has not been as high as before the audit, but couldn’t provide any specific numbers.

USPS Says They’re Working on It

When we reached out to Perdomo for comment, he asked that we instead contact Amy Gibbs, Strategic Communications Specialist for USPS in Brooklyn, for information on the audit and misdelivery issues. 

“As USPS continues to work on improving the customer experience in our Williamsburg and Greenpoint Post Offices, postal officials implement several key actions,” Gibbs responded through email.

“We believe these actions will provide impacts our customers will see. For example, a senior postal manager is conducting bi-weekly service visits on both stations and reporting findings to the Brooklyn Postmaster and district manager. In addition, postal managers are working with building owners to ensure compliance with mailbox and key-keeper guidelines. Postal officials also continue to work with the appropriate city officials and the NY Housing Authority to install parcel lockers.

These activities are absolutely critical to the safe, consistent delivery of mail and packages where our customers live. We rely on secure delivery receptacles in local residences to reduce the lines of customers who must subsequently visit their local post offices for the pickup of mail. These are not quick solutions but we are working diligently to keep the issue of accessible and secure mailboxes at the forefront.”

Correction: the conversation between the anonymous Williamsburg resident and Ricardo Perdomo took place in May of 2019, not since the audit, as was originally stated in the article. We were also informed that several examples of mail misdelivery took place prior to the audit, which we replaced with examples that took place since the audit. 

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Rachel Lindy Baron

Rachel is a reporter for Bklyner and recent Brooklyn transplant who is a bit obsessed with food.

Comments

  1. I wish I was kidding, but in January (after the study came out) I received a Halloween card from October 2018, and the next day received about 10 letters dates from September-December 2019, including Christmas cards that had the wrong addresses (our fault) sent in early December (to local/regional addresses). It’s ridiculous. And if you visit the Greenpoint station it’s business as usual…it’s filthy and packages are left overflowing all over the place. It’s embarrassing and honestly frightening. They need to fire the people working in the Greenpoint station. The mail farriers are nice people, but whatever is happening on site has not change AT ALL.

  2. They need to do this in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn especially the Parkville Station. Always mis-delivered mail, the postal carrier sits in my hall way doing whatever on his phone. He throws his gloves and rubber bands on the floor in the hallway.

  3. I’m a retired carrier. Unfortunately, postal management of today cares nothing about the employee or customer service. They’re only bottom line is how much of a bonus they’ll be getting. The training of the new carriers is horrible and the way they’re treated is even worse. I thank the Lord that I made my retirement.

  4. A few years ago I had a problem with my mail not being delivered. I registered a complaint through the post office website. It took a long damn time, maybe a year before they got back to me but somehow they sorted it out and my mail delivery became reliable again. I also use this other service they have called Informed Delivery. It emails me a picture of mail I can expect to arrive in a day or two. The horror stories mentioned in the article I know do happen because I have read about similar problems over the years. While you can always get a bad letter carrier these problems are mostly a supervisor/management issue. Make complaints and make them accountable.

  5. Read the USPS audit report online:
    https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2020/19-003-R20.pdf.

    If you have a mail problem: Complain to USPS Office of Inspector General: ambourdon@uspsoig.gov.

    Contact Assemblyman’s Lentol’s office which is working on this matter since 2019: lentolj@nyassembly.gov.

    Complaints about the Letter Carrier? Submit your concerns online: https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/, and also let the above persons know about it.

    A few quotes from the USPS Office of Inspector General’s audit just re: mail delivery problems are quoted here below (other failings re: package delivery, building entry failings, safeguarding of station assets, and other issues are in the Audit and are equally bad or worse):

    “We also observed containers and tubs full of undelivered and returnable mail at various places throughout the unit dating back to 2016. Specifically, we found:

    ■Four containers of parcels labeled as “Return to Sender” dated August 24 and August 25, 2019 that should have been returned prior to our visit. Figure 4 is an example of two of these containers.
    ■A tub of postage-due mail that included a loose check dated July 4, 2016.
    ■ An all-purpose container of marketing mail with the year “2018” identified on the mailpiece spines.
    ■Twenty-five Merchandise Return Service8 packages for one customer that had not been processed and delivered. These packages should have been processed and delivered on the day they arrived at the unit.”

    “These conditions occurred because the manager did not adequately oversee operations at the unit and clerks were not used efficiently. As a result, he was not aware of the undelivered and delayed mail, the tub of postage due mail, or the container of marketing mail. Further, he stated that due to manpower issues, he could not address the PO Box overflow issues or ensure the adherence to PO Box management procedures. However, based on our analysis of earned work hours, the unit did not appear to have a staffing shortage.[…] While we observed multiple classes of delayed mail, there was no delayed mail reported in the Customer Service Daily Reporting System (CSDRS) for that timeframe, as required.[…] Inaccurate reporting of delayed mail provides management at the local, district, area, and headquarters levels with an inaccurate status of mail delays and can result in improper action or no action taken to address issues.”

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