Richmonders demand answers, accountability concerning mounting USPS troubles at town hall meeting

Posted at 11:43 PM, Feb 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-21 23:44:33-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Thousands of viewers have reached out to lawmakers and CBS 6 with concerns about their mail being delayed, not delivered, or even stolen.

Officials in Richmond came together Wednesday night to host a town hall meeting about issues with the postal service.

Some residents went up to the microphone to share experiences such as having thousands of dollars stolen from the mail, mail stolen from someone breaking into a mail truck, or even Christmas cards arriving at the end of February.

"I have many neighbors who are elderly waiting for medication waiting for monthly checks all to no avail," shared one concerned neighbor.

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Collette McEachin said she held the town hall with lawmakers to continue to hear community members' concerns about the agency.

She told attendees that they were engaged and intelligent and said that is how things get done.

“I don’t want you to think that just because this is a federal problem there is nothing you can do," McEachin said.

The town hall comes after lawmakers spent the last few months demanding answers and accountability from USPS regarding an increase in issues.

However, they say USPS does not want to address the public regarding the mounting issues.

They even went so far as to decline an invitation to attend the town hall on Wednesday night.

Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan reflected on how she had never been stonewalled like this.

The issue even raised concerns from Richmond's registrar Keith Balmer who called them deeply troubling with the presidential election approaching in November.

“If you have a ballot for the current presidential primary consider alternative methods of submission," he said.

Officials said these mail problems are not just unique to Richmond, but the Richmond-Sandston facility is working to make changes.

According to congressional leaders, USPS told them the Sandston facility is one of the first in the country to overhaul their process to mimic a more mainstream distribution like UPS or Amazon.

“What they're doing is trying to remove layers to bring efficiencies and sort at a broader scale and distribute from more of a distribution center. So, they're trying to centralize a lot of their operations and make more of a hub and spoke to move out from there," shared VCU's supply chain expert.

USPS wrote to lawmakers saying they are addressing equipment and transportation issues at Sandston — and plan to continue rolling out their 10-year strategic plan nationwide.

Lawmakers like McClellan stated they are anxiously awaiting a report to come down from the inspector general about these issues.

They add that people need to continue to come forward and open up cases with lawmakers so there can be further accountability and pressure applied.

"When you call us and open a case that is one more tool in our tool kit that we can use in the oversight process," she said.

McClellan said USPS has agreed to give her and Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner a tour of the Sandston facility in mid-March.

CBS 6 has reached out to USPS for comment and is still waiting to hear back.

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