2007-04-06 / Front Page

Shake Up At Far Rockaway Post Office

Rockaway Postmaster George Buonocore, left, with Scott Klein in front of the Mobile Post Office at Fort Tilden for the RMAC Festival last September.
Rockaway Postmaster George Buonocore, left, with Scott Klein in front of the Mobile Post Office at Fort Tilden for the RMAC Festival last September.

There have been major changes to the leadership of the Far Rockaway Post Office in the last two weeks, sweeping out the postmaster and at least three of his assistants, postal officials say.

While a spokesperson for the United States Post Office in Washington would only say that former Postmaster George Buonocore has been "detailed" to another post office "because of the good job he did with the growth in Rockaway," there have been a spate of complaints over the past months from homeowners who said that their mail had not been delivered for weeks and from apartment dwellers who said that their mail had been misdirected within their buildings.

The Wave has learned the names of at least three of those who no longer work at the Far Rockaway Post Office and its satellite offices throughout the peninsula.

Buonocore had been the Rockaway Postmaster for the past five years. Officials say that he has been sent to another post office and that he may or may not be back in Rockaway again. They declined to say where he was assigned.

Scott Klein, a clerk at the Far Rockaway Post Office for more than a dozen years, served as an administrative assistant and public information officer for Buonocore. He often attended public functions with his boss and was often in the pages of The Wave.

When asked where he had gone, the new Far Rockaway Postmaster, Diane Duncan, said that she had never heard of him. The Postal System spokesperson said that they had no record of him working at that post office. His company cell phone has been terminated.

Brian Kane, who worked as a supervisor at the Rockaway Park office on Beach 114 Street is reportedly gone as well, but officials declined to comment as to where he has been reassigned.

In a short telephone interview last week, Duncan said that she had no idea why Buonocore was sent elsewhere or how long she would remain as postmaster.

The Wave has been receiving calls of complaint for several months about the delivery of mail and the treatment they received at local post offices. Those complaints seemed to have reached a crescendo three weeks ago, when The Wave received a large number of complaints from Far Rockaway residents who said that they had not received their mail for periods of up to two weeks.

When The Wave contacted Buonocore, he said that he was having problems with carriers on vacation and on sick leave and that he was using those who were working to do double duty. In most cases, those residents who we inquired about got their mail shortly thereafter.

Buonocore called back to say that the problem had been solved, but the telephone calls and emails persisted.

Realtor Vince Castellano, who has run a business in Rockaway for many years, said that the Rockaway Beach office lost his certified letter.

"I mailed a certified letter on February 23 to an address one block from the post office," he said. "Five weeks later, they gave it back to me with the lame excuse that they couldn't find the address. When I asked to speak with a supervisor, he didn't come to the window."

Neither Buonocore nor Klein could be reached for comment for this story.

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The Post Office at Beach Channel Drive near Waldbaum's is a disgrace and has been for years and years. I have traveled all over the country and have never seen such a dirty, slow, inefficient operation in my life. There is no excuse, considering all the postage increases over the decades.
Business people don't have time to stand on line for a minimum of 30 minutes just to get something done. With all the growth in Rockaway, this is a nightmare. Not to mention receiving other people's mail in my mailbox more than a few times, when our regular guy, Mickey, who was wonderful, was out sick or on vacation. It is not the regular letter carriers who are the problem, it is management and lack of staff and lack of trained substitute mailmen.


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