“Norton receives USPS response to your letter about late and undelivered mail in all eight DC counties”

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From Congressman Eleanor Holmes Norton:

“Congressman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) received a response to her recent letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) about late and undelivered mail in the District of Columbia. In her letter dated September 1, 2021, Norton noted that all eight stations continue to contact their office about late and undelivered mail. USPS outlined several actions it is taking. Norton said it will continue to monitor USPS in DC for the impact of the promised improvements.

Norton’s letter and USPS reply follow.

September 1, 2021

Sherry Harper
Postmaster, District of Columbia
United States Postal Service
Washington, DC 20260

Dear Postmaster Harper,

I am writing because residents of all eight District of Columbia counties continue to contact me about late and undelivered mail.

As you may know, in April I sent a letter to then DC Postmaster Eddie Masangcay about mail delivery problems in the district. He replied that the United States Postal Service “wants to hire additional staff … to get the mail delivered as quickly as possible, given the circumstances.” As a large number of residents continue to contact me about late and undelivered mail, I ask for the latest information on the recruitment process and the other steps you are taking to resolve mail delivery problems in the district.

I appreciate your attention to these matters and ask you to reply in writing by September 8, 2021. “

September 8, 2021

The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-5101

Dear Congressman Norton:

This is in response to your September 1 letter regarding the Washington, DC mail delivery service

I understand your concerns about inconsistent delivery in Washington, and I sincerely apologize for any frustration or inconvenience this may cause your constituents.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased employee absences and reduced employee availability, which continues to affect our delivery operations. As you know, the American Rescue Plan Act gives postal workers up to 600 hours of Federal Employee Emergency (EFEL) from 2021 in response to the ongoing pandemic. Congress passed the law with the understandable consequence that it would affect the availability of staff, especially for federal agencies.

Under federal law and our collective bargaining agreements, the positions of those on leave are reserved for the eventual return of absent employees, and the limitation of our workforce requires that the remaining employees take over the necessary work. Periods of high employee absenteeism have an impact on operations as managers and supervisors work to reconcile the available working hours of employees with operational requirements. This continues until employees return from vacation.

In response to this situation, we are taking a number of steps to reduce delays and provide more consistent service. These include lending employees to affected offices, approving high overtime hours, and closely monitoring unplanned absences. Available carriers in Washington worked their unscheduled day each week and have the option to work on Sundays. In addition, we have worked hard to fill vacant positions and to strengthen our additional staffing of carriers. Since the beginning of April we have added 87 City Carrier Assistants in Washington; Retaining our additional workforce, however, remains a challenge.

The Maryland District, of which Washington is a part, continues to employ substantial recruiting

Strategies to reach out to potential employees for local activities including, but not limited to: regular job postings, social media advertising, and in the near future, displaying banners in post offices and hosting personal drive-through job fairs. Our goal is to increase the availability of our employees by reintegrating our existing employees and adding new employees to our employees.

Despite the current challenges, you can be assured that the Washington management team

The post office I run is committed to providing the best possible service to your constituents in the district every day. This commitment also applies to our employees, because our committed employees work around the clock to avoid delays and deliver the post as quickly as possible. We also try to be responsive to the community. Just last night, Eddie Masangcay, who has been a postmaster for the past few months, attended a virtual meeting with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6E to discuss attendees’ concerns about mail delivery. We will continue this responsiveness and maintain our strong focus on service.

If I can help you with any other postal issue please let me know.

Sincere,

Sherty L. Harper
Chief Postmaster


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