2008-02-15 / Community

PO Announces Major Changes For Rockaway Routes

By Miriam Rosenberg

Bob Lettiere, the officer in charge of the Rockaway Post Office, looks at a piece of mail that election poll worker Monica Jones (standing), of Far Rockaway, didn't receive until the day after New York's primary. The mail included Jones' badge, ID and assignment. Lettiere couldn't say what delayed the mail, because the envelope did not have a barcode on it. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Bob Lettiere, the officer in charge of the Rockaway Post Office, looks at a piece of mail that election poll worker Monica Jones (standing), of Far Rockaway, didn't receive until the day after New York's primary. The mail included Jones' badge, ID and assignment. Lettiere couldn't say what delayed the mail, because the envelope did not have a barcode on it. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg At least one third of the delivery routes on the Rockaway Peninsula will have new mail carriers this Saturday. That was the announcement made by the new man in charge of the Rockaway Post Offices when he met with members of the community last week.

Bob Lettiere, the officer in charge of the Rockaway Post Offices, explained the changes at a meeting of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club in Rockaway Park last week.

"About 20 carriers will be changing their job assignments starting next Saturday [February 16]," said Lettiere, to a reaction of groans from those in the packed room on February 7.

Residents were not happy to hear that more problems, however temporary, could be in the future of Rockaway's postal system.

Lawrence Peters, of Beach 91 Street, told the postal representatives that he gets other people's mail and added, "I've had to cancel subscriptions from several magazines. They never come on time." Lawrence Peters, of Beach 91 Street, told the postal representatives that he gets other people's mail and added, "I've had to cancel subscriptions from several magazines. They never come on time." "I thought about this, [and] what's going to happen," said Lettiere, who said he understood residents' concerns. "But, we are aware of the disasters that could come up and we will be making sure to speak to employees who are new to their routes and ask them to be extra careful."

The changes are a result of the elimination of one job, which caused all the routes to be put up for bid.

Off the top of his head, Lettiere said the following would see some changes in mail carriers - four routes in Rockaway Park, two routes in Arverne and eight routes in Far Rockaway.

Lettiere encouraged residents to con- tact the supervisor of their local post office the same day, or the day after, they might experience any type of problems with their carrier.

"We need you to tell us you're getting mail for 115 Street instead of 116 Street," said Lettiere, who is taking over for Postmaster George Buonocore, who is currently on leave.

Owen Baxter holds a parcel of medication that was first mailed to him in November. He finally received it last week. Owen Baxter holds a parcel of medication that was first mailed to him in November. He finally received it last week. Lettiere elaborated on other changes in store for the beleaguered Rockaway post offices.

Beginning soon, pick up times at collection boxes will be staggered to coincide with the time the driver actually gets to the location.

"It will be changed from 9:30 [a.m.] to 11 [a.m.] or 9:30 [a.m.] to 1 [p.m.], if that's the time he actually gets there. This way you will be able to mail your mail later in the day," said Lettiere.

He also promised to put two new collection boxes in front of the Rockaway Park post office after complaints from residents that the one box currently there overflows with mail.

Lettiere addressed the many complaints at the Far Rockaway Post Office on Mott Avenue.

"I will speak to the supervisor to make sure they [the windows] are properly staffed," said Lettiere, about the long lines at that facility. "I didn't realize there was a problem."

More than once, Eva Ferro, of Belle Harbor, has lost bill payments she has put in collection boxes on Beach 116 Street. "When you mail something in a US postal box, you expect it to get there," said Ferro. More than once, Eva Ferro, of Belle Harbor, has lost bill payments she has put in collection boxes on Beach 116 Street. "When you mail something in a US postal box, you expect it to get there," said Ferro. He also said he is looking to add employees.

"We're looking at staffing and scheduling," said Lettiere. "I did ask for two new career employees to be hired and sent to the Rockaways."

He added, "As soon as they approve them, or hire them, or send them we'll get them trained and on the window."

The problem, he said, is that the postal service isn't hiring the part-time flexible (PTF) career postal workers he needs. Instead, casual clerks, who are not trained to work the window or sort the mail, are sent as replacements.

In January, four of Lettiere's PTF's became full time regular employees, which caused a staffing shortage in Rockaway. He also had to assign two employees, who float between stations, to cover the workload in the shorthanded Arverne office.

Lettiere got an earful as he listened to complaints about mail that comes late, is misdirected or doesn't come at all (including medicine); recurring problems with mail that never reaches its destination sent from collection boxes on Beach 116 Street; rudeness of postal employees; and a stamp machine in the Rockaway Beach office that has been out of order for years.

"We just got into the Rockaways and we are addressing the majority of the things you are complaining about, but it's going to take some time," said Maxine Moore, the manager of the Rockaway Park office. "We can't do everything in one week."

Lettiere gave the contact numbers for the post offices in Rockaway. They are Far Rockaway (11691): 718-327- 2512; Arverne (11692) and Breezy Point (11697): 718- 474-6973; Rockaway Beach (11693): 718-634-4075 and Rockaway Park (11694): 718-634- 6057. Customers can also call 1-800- ASK-USPS to register complains.

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