2008-03-28 / Community

Residents Fed Up With Local Post Offices

By Nicholas Briano

Many local residents say that they have had enough of Rockaway's post office blunders.

They are tired of packages that don't get delivered, checks that are misdirected or returned to sender for no reason, mail that is spread all over building lobbies and the long lines at local postal offices with often-surly postal clerks.

Most of all, they don't understand why local politicians haven't kept their promise to do something about the problem, promises that were made more than a year ago when this first came to public attention.

They say they don't know where to turn for help.

"I get everyone else's mail but mine," a resident of Beach 92 Street said. "If I am getting everyone else's mail, then who is getting mine?"

The resident, who asked that his name be withheld in fear of retaliation from his Beach 90 Street post office, is fed up and doesn't understand how hard it is to read numbers on houses and match them with the corresponding envelopes in the carrier's mail cart.

"If they can't get it right, maybe they should just leave everyone's mail in a big bucket inside the post office and let us fend for ourselves," he continued in a sarcastic manner.

He claims to get mail addressed to residences two or three blocks away from his house, and even with different house numbers than his. He also says he has filed numerous complaints but to no avail. He attributes some of the problem to the mail carriers talking on his or her cell phone while passing his house.

"When you are talking constantly on the job I guess it is hard to concentrate on what you're doing," he said.

Residents have asked Congressman Gregory Meeks and Democratic District Leader Lew Simon to get involved. Simon has recently asked for a federal investigation to be launched into Rockaway's post offices.

However, neither man's actions to this point have produced improvements at the post office.

Meeks said last April that he was in the process of forming a community advisory board to address the needs and concerns residents have with their postal problems. Some residents who called Meeks to volunteer for the board say they have never been contacted. They do not believe that such a board exists, one year after it was promised.

Meeks said in a written statement last month that "The Rockaways have suffered for far too long with terrible service from our local post office."

With that said, residents are still suffering and have grown impatient with Meeks' promises and solutions to their post office woes.

"I have a suggestion to Meeks," the Beach 92 Street resident said. "Get a non-dyslexic person to deliver my mail and I promise to give them cookies and gifts for the holidays."

Two Far Rockaway residents also vented their frustrations with problems that have seen little intervention from their political representatives, but see different problems with their post office.

Walter Stechner, building superintendent of 1020 Nielson Street for 25 years and Rockaway resident for more than 50, says the problems start with the top officials who don't do enough to regulate the job performance of individual mail carriers and office employees.

"The postmaster is the root of the problems, I think, because the parttime mail carriers are not being taught how to do their job correctly," Stechner said.

He further says that his regular mail carrier is fine and gets the job done, but when he is not working and a replacement is on the route then there are always problems.

"The postmaster doesn't care. They don't want to get involved and they look the other way," he said. "If they are not going to do their jobs, then someone will have to take control of their duties and take some responsibility for the post office's actions."

That is where Stechner and his neighbor, George Webman, feel that Meeks must intervene.

"We have to go to our legislature people," Webman said. "Meeks' office keeps telling us that they are taking care of it, but we feel nothing is being done anymore."

They also complain that the service inside the post office is inferior. "What is the point of raising our postage if we are going to continue receiving lousy service," Webman said.

"We met with Meeks already and told him our concerns. We are left with no choices anymore."

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