By Ryan Kelley
Congress members representing Queens and Brooklyn finally met with the United States Postal Service (USPS) after weeks of complaints, a previously canceled meeting and letters demanding answers.
On Feb. 12, Congressman Gregory Meeks and Congresswoman Grace Meng were joined by staff of Congress members Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velazquez and Hakeem Jeffries at a meeting with USPS officials to address the ongoing concerns. Meeks, who in January sent an angry letter to the USPS about a meeting it had canceled on him, said in a statement that he continued to apply pressure to the federal service.
“This meeting was a productive first step, though it falls far short of a full and adequate resolution,” Meeks said. “In our meeting, I was very candid about the shortcomings of USPS’ service in my district. I retold my constituents’ stories about delayed and non-delivered mail, lost packages and mailbox manipulation.”
Meeks added that the Postal Service said it will hire additional staff — including letter carriers — to resolve mail delivery delays and discrepancies. It will also station USPS staff on phone lines to respond to comments and concerns from the public, as well as retrofit 3,000 P.O. Boxes in Queens and Brooklyn to prevent “mail fishing,” Meeks said.
Meng, who first sent a letter to the USPS in January when her constituents complained about a lack of mail delivery after a major snowstorm, also sent a letter in February asking the Postal Service to do something to combat mail fishing. In her statement about the Feb. 12 meeting, Meng said that the number of complaints she receives is still growing.
“Complaints about the Postal Service in my district have reached an all-time high,” Meng said. “It is imperative that the agency now follow through on its commitment to resolve these issues, and we will keep the pressure on until they do.”
The two Congress members first joined forces on this issue in late January, when they wrote a letter to the postmaster general, along with Congressman Joe Crowley, explaining the depth of the problem.
In her response to the meeting, Maloney offered a possible explanation for the source of some of the Postal Service’s struggles.
“Changes in the way people use the post office has had a major impact, with many more packages and fewer letters,” Maloney said in a statement. “What’s more, over the last decade, western Queens and north Brooklyn have grown enormously, and the increased density has negatively impacted mail delivery service.”
While Congressman Jeffries said in a statement that he looks forward to working with his fellow delegates and the Postal Service, he was frank about the importance of the service.
“Mail service in America is a right,” Jeffries said. “Every single one of my constituents deserves to receive mail regularly at their home, without delay.”
In a statement emailed to QNS on Thursday, a spokesman for the USPS emphasized that the service is committed to making the necessary changes.
“We share concerns of reliable, effective and secure mail delivery service that these elected officials and their staffs discussed with postal management,” the spokesperson said. “Our goals are to provide postal customers, their constituents, the excellent postal services that they deserve and to ensure that improvements are made where we aren’t living up to expectations. Postal officials look forward to maintaining and expanding robust lines of communication to address any concerns as they relate to the Post Office.”