For The 1st Time In My Life, I Am Ashamed Of The Postal Service - And Response

  • Saturday, January 20, 2024

May I start with a little personal background. I have 34 years of employment with the United States Postal Service. All my time in service was in delivery - 15 years as a letter carrier, and 19 years in management in one capacity or another. All my years in management was as a supervisor or Postmaster in charge of mail delivery. This experience included every major snowstorm to hit Tennessee from 1986 to December of 2020 when I retired.

This current winter storm, while there is more snow than we are used to in Tennessee, was not the worst storm by any means. It was not even the worst storm in my postal experience. And I assure you that we delivered mail every day in every office in which I and my peers were managing. Every stop that could possibly be reached got mail every day.

With that in mind, the mail service during this current stretch of bad weather has been nonexistent. We haven’t received any mail since last Saturday. As a carrier and later as a supervisor/Postmaster, I and my carriers worked and delivered every stop possible every day. This includes the blizzard of 1993, the storm of the century, which was on a Saturday, and we were delivering mail that Monday.

I live on a mountain. Because of that I slept in numerous post offices because my expectation of my employees was that I expect you to be at work regardless of the weather and I wanted to make sure I was there. They knew I was going to be there, and they were required to be there too.

As Postmaster, we were required to have snow chains for each Postal owned vehicle, which we did have. The Rural Carrier Handbook, PO 603, requires carriers who are on routes where they provide the delivery vehicle, that vehicle is required to be equipped with snow tire and chains so that mail can be delivered in winter weather if needed.

What has happened this week is a travesty. I went to the post office this morning to pick up my accumulated mail and was told they can’t hand mail over the counter and that it would be delivered. It hasn’t been delivered all week. The roads are not impassable as proven by my getting to the Post Office in my vehicle, which is not a 4-wheel drive vehicle and has no snow tires or snow chains.

There were no sounds of carriers coming from the back where they were preparing for delivery. In fact, there were several letter carrier vehicles in the parking lot that still had snow accumulated on their windshields showing me that not only have they not tried to deliver my mail, but they haven’t moved their vehicles and tried to deliver anyone’s mail. (I can provide photos of the parking lot taken today 1/20/24 if needed.)

So, the local management is expecting the public to believe that five days’ worth of mail is going to be sorted and delivered today. Based on my 34 years’ experience, that is not going to happen.

I blame the situation on lack of leadership from the frontline supervisor to the Postmaster General Mr. Dejoy. If the expectation had been set that employees were expected to come to work and expected to deliver all the mail possible, that is what would have happened. Instead, we have delivery vehicles that haven’t moved in a week.

I am beyond furious at what the Postal Service has become. I am saddened to think that the Post Office that I dedicated my life to has become just another worthless government agency. Starting tomorrow we will be paying more for stamps to fund an agency that is spiraling into irrelevance.

I loved working for the Post Office. I loved the challenge of Christmas and, yes, the challenge of getting the mail delivered in bad weather. I am proud of my employees and the job that we did. For the first time in my life, I am ashamed of the Postal Service.

Kevin Rice

Postmaster Retired

Dayton, Tn.

* * *

I agree with retired in Dayton PO.  I retired from the Chattanooga Post Office in 2003. I carried mail for 34 of my 36 years. I loved carrying mail. I was on the same route for 24 years. We have the worst mail service of anywhere in the USA. I have had mail left out all rainy weekend, first class mail, not packages or magazines, but first class mail on a swing that was not protected from the weather and not in my mail box. I called to complain but was told the supervisor would put a note on the carrier's case. It wasn’t my regular carrier.

I informed the supervisor that I had 34 years carrying mail and that I had been a carrier trainer for most of those years. He informed me that he had 18 years at the PO. Probably all as a supervisor.

When I was sworn in to the United States Post Office by Acting Postmaster Frank Moore I swore to an oath about sanctity of the mail.  All mail would go into the box unless it was too big, needed to be signed for or could not be folded.

I had some great supervisors in my PO career but not after 1990. I am extremely glad I never sold my soul to management. 

Oh, in those 36 years I never ever missed a days work. I live in Soddy Daisy and worked in downtown Chattanooga. We are lucky if we get mail twice a week and before 8 p.m. 

Jim Brown

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