PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Jim Rietz can’t remember a time when he couldn’t rely on the U.S. Mail.
“You put something in the mail, you know it’s going to get there,” he said. “Somebody puts something in the mail, you know it’s going to come to you. It’s just one of those things you’ve always been able to count on.”
But for Rietz, that changed several months back. Days would pass when no mail came. Letters and checks that people had sent him never materialized. Distraught, he emailed all of his neighbors on Kinsman Street.
“It poured back saying, ‘we’re not getting any mail either,’” said Rietz. “We’re missing bills, we’re missing checks, we’re missing credit card receipts. You know, all kinds of things.”
Turns out people throughout the city’s east end haven’t been getting their mail, or getting someone else’s.
“We weren’t getting out bills in a timely manner, it seemed like at times,” said Paul Resnick. “Some bills maybe haven’t been delivered, but this was just amazing.”
One letter was mailed from Wilmington, Del. to the Internal Revenue Service in Hartford, Conn., but was delivered to Resnick’s house on Beacon Street in Squirrel Hill.
“Made a u-turn,” he said.
And in recent months, the post office has gotten an earful about unreliable mail service.
“We’ve heard from our customers in the East Liberty,Squirrel Hill delivery zones,” said postal service spokesman Tad Kelley. “Spotty delivery, non-delivery.”
As cost-cutting nationwide, the postal service has replaced many retiring employees with part-timers who are being paid at a lesser rate. Kelley says that inexperience has been especially noticeable at the East Liberty Post Office, serving the city’s east end.
“Anytime you hire brand new employees there’s a learning curve,” he said.
Kelley says career carriers have now been assigned to the east end route and managers and supervisors are conduction spot performance checks.
“Our job is to deliver the mail and we take that seriously,” Kelley said. “So certainly we apologize and regret and inferior service. Our job going forward is to fix the service and get it to the levels that our customers expect and deserve.”
And so the postal service is trying to work through these delivery problems through training and accountability measures and hopefully restore the public’s confidence in the mail.