Oct 6, 2022 - News

Congress members demand relief to Philly's mail delivery headaches

Illustration of a mailbox with fire coming out of it.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Philly's mail delivery woes aren't getting any better, Pennsylvania's congressional leaders say. So they've sent a list of demands to the U.S. Postal Service.

Driving the news: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Reps. Dwight Evans and Matt Cartwright called out postmaster general Louis DeJoy in a letter this week for failing to address the "abysmal standards of service" at the Germantown Post Office in Northwest Philly, where allegations of mail theft and delays have persisted for years.

  • They also said they were deeply concerned about the persistent service issues across the state and demanded that USPS take immediate action.

Flashback: Postal operations in Philly are so bad that a congressional hearing was held last month at Temple University over delayed mail delivery and thefts.

  • Over the past two years, the city has seen a dramatic rise in complaints over lost or stolen mail, undelivered packages and post office closures.
  • Half of all mailed checks stolen in the state through July had been taken from Philadelphians, the Chestnut Hill Local reports.

The latest: Just this week, three men, including one from Philly, were indicted on federal charges related to a mail-fraud scheme in Delaware County, the Inquirer reports.

  • Prosecutors allege the men siphoned more than $171,000 worth of checks and money orders from mailboxes in Drexel Hill.

Meanwhile: The USPS is consolidating operations at more than 200 postal facilities in roughly 16 states, including the Keystone State.

Details: The congressmen's list of demands to DeJoy include:

  • Addressing issues at the Germantown Post Office
  • Providing details around consolidation plans for Pennsylvania postal facilities.
  • Developing a new plan to improve the broader service issues throughout the state.

What they're saying: As long as the issues at the Germantown Post Office go unaddressed, they will continue to disrupt the lives of residents and deny them a critical service, the lawmakers said in their letter.

Germantown resident Tim Styer, who organized protests at the post office over the summer, told Axios that problems at the facility are pervasive due to long-term underinvestment.

  • He added that the Postal Service's attempts to address issues at the facility over the last several months have fallen flat.
  • "Their efforts amount to nothing more than a Band-Aid," Styer said.

The other side: Paul Smith, a USPS spokesperson, told Axios the Postal Service has received the letter and will respond to those who sent it.

  • Regarding the Postal Service's consolidation plans, Smith said the effort would create large sorting and delivery centers over the next decade to enhance and modernize the agency's delivery network while not changing the locations of any retail units.
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