2008-10-24 / Columnists

Meeks: Buonocore Gone; Postal Services Improving

By Miriam Rosenberg

Congressman Meeks Congressman Meeks After years of terrible service at the Far Rockaway Post Office, improvements are slowly coming, says Congressman Gregory Meeks.

The announcement was made by Meeks in a conference call to reporters on Wednes-day afternoon, speaking about changes recently made at the Far Rockaway facility. Among those improvements is the permanent removal of George Buonocore as postmaster, Meeks said.

"As a result of [the advisory council's] meetings and the town hall meetings that we had, we've finally done away with George Buonocore," said Meeks, who has been seeking Buonocore's removal for some time.

"He's no longer the postmaster at Far Rockaway. He's been relieved of his duties, and we're awaiting the name of his successor."

In May, Meeks held a town hall meeting at which the public had a chance to tell United States Postal representatives about the problems in the Rockaway system.

In addition, Meeks has formed the Far Rockaway Postal Consumer Advisory Council (CAC), which is made up of local business and community leaders, tenant association presidents and concerned citizens who have been meeting for the last four months.

"The group has funneled complaints through, and created a relationship with, the post office so we can have a consistent dialogue to improve the quality of service at the post office in Far Rockaway," said Meeks.

While Meeks said he believed that Buonocore was completely removed from all his duties with the United States Postal Service, Robert Trombley - a postal representative - told The Wave that Buonocore had accepted another assignment. Trombley also said that the USPS is going through the process of choosing a new postmaster for Rockaway. Bob Lettiere is the officer in charge of the Rockaway Post Offices until a new postmaster is chosen.

Trombley would not talk about staff changes at the Far Rockaway office, but Meeks was more than happy to do so.

Mike Williams has been brought in as the new consumer affairs representative to improve customer service. Katherine Cassidy is the new marketing manager and Williams' assistant.

"I am hoping that with the addition of Mike Williams and the creation of the consumer advisory council there will now be a consistent relationship and now if, and when, a problem develops then they'll be able to get on it right away."

Carriers' routes are also being evaluated.

"There's been some route examinations and adjustments they are looking at, so we can make sure it improves the letter carrier service in the Rockaways," added Meeks.

From the feedback he's gotten after the last CAC meeting Meeks said there has been some marginal, yet definite overall improvement in the service at the Far Rockaway branch.

In the past, some of the biggest concerns have come from seniors whose medicines and social security checks were either delayed or lost. Meeks said that in last few months complaints about those issues were down.

"In terms of that, I believe, services have improved and seniors have begun receiving their medicines and social security checks on a more timely basis," said the congressman.

"The breakthrough I was looking for was the cooperation and dialogue and the acknowledgement that there was a problem, so we could have better communications," said Meeks. "It seems that is beginning to happen."

The Postal Consumer Advisory Council meets every fourth Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

For more information residents can call the congressman's office and ask for Jason Hilliard - Meeks' representative who attends each CAC meeting and reports back to him.

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