Audit: Richmond again ranks one of the worst in U.S. for mail de - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Audit: Richmond again ranks one of the worst in U.S. for mail delivery

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Despite promises for change, Richmond once again ranks one of the worst in the nation for mail delivery. That finding just came out in an audit by the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General.

 It's an issue NBC12 has investigated for years.

The report shows mail carriers are missing that evening deadline of 5 p.m. and being on the streets late at night is dangerous. In Richmond, the audit shows there's been an increase of mail carriers working into the night. A spokesperson for the Sandston plant says changes are already in place.

 It was an NBC12 report three years ago that showed mail carriers making stops well into the evening, but it's still a problem. The report shows there was an increase from 56 percent in the FY 2012 to 70 percent in FY 2013.

"I would say the last couple of years it's got later and later," Melody Clavier of Chesterfield said. Clavier lives in a neighborhood that's dealt with late mail for years. She says a neighbor made calls every week until changes were made in May. "It was very common on a pretty regular basis not to get mail until almost 10:00 at night," she said.

In and NBC12 reports three years ago, the man brought in to turn the Sandston plant around, Isaac Cronkhite, promised delivery after dark would stop. This plant is where all your mail comes from.

"Now consistently they get off the street by 6 p.m. and we're pushing toward 5 p.m.," Cronkhite said in an interview.

The recent report says these postal workers are putting themselves in danger with late deliveries.
 

Management at the Sandston plant released a statement on Thursday:

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommended the Richmond District Manager prepare integrated operating plans with facility processing managers that include changes to the 24-hour clock to facilitate earlier arrival of mail at delivery units. This is already in progress in the Richmond District.

The OIG also recommended adherence to Postal Service policies and procedures for supervising city delivery operations and collaboration with managers and union officials to address carrier safety.

Employee safety is a top priority at the U.S. Postal Service. As part of our Universal Service mandate, mail carriers face unique challenges to deliver mail to all Americans located in different parts and time zones in the U.S.

We have a robust safety program to heighten awareness of the range of situations carriers may face while performing their duties, and we teach techniques to minimize risks to them.

We also are working with the National Association of Letter Carriers to identify additional actions we can take to keep our carriers safe — both during daylight hours and while delivering later in the day.

Later-day deliveries are sometimes unavoidable due to inclement weather, traffic issues or other unplanned events, as well as seasonal fluctuations in mail volumes.

Additionally, the Postal Service is making investments in technology that will improve letter carriers' safety. This includes two-way communication capabilities and Global Positioning System functionality, which will allow us to better communicate real-time with carriers.

The needs of our customers are changing, which means the USPS will continue to adjust delivery operations to meet these needs. Adjustments will be part of our strategy as we continue to expand our package-delivery business, while we also prepare for other potential types of deliveries and future initiatives that take advantage of the ubiquity in our unique delivery network.

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