2008-10-31 / School News

Rockaway Postal Council Begins to Take Shape

Community Volunteers Needed; Problems Start Getting Answers
By Miriam Rosenberg

As a result of the many complaints that have flooded his office in recent years, Congressman Gregory Meeks - in cooperation with the United States Postal Service - has put together a postal consumer council. This council, which will include USPS representatives and members of the Rockaway community, is designed to open a line of communication to solve problems that have long plagued the area.

"Basically, it is a partnership between the postal service and the community to improve those services that the community has felt, for a while, is not working," said Mike Williams, the customer relations coordinator for the Rockaways, at last week's council meeting. The Far Rockaway Postal Consumer Advisory Council or CAC will include two residents, from four of the zip code units on the peninsula (Arverne and Breezy Point will be combined as one unit) and Inwood. These community liaisons will be the people on the ground to whom other residents, who live in their zip codes, can turn concerning postal problems.

Postal supervisors will then help effect solutions. The appointees will serve on the council for one year.

"We have plenty of representative applications for 11691 [Far Rockaway] and 11692 [Arverne]," said Williams, who added that they would be selecting community representatives before the next meeting. "But we are struggling to get representatives from the other zip codes."

Rockaway's other post offices are located in Rockaway Beach (11693), Rockaway Park (11694) and Breezy Point (11697). Inwood (11096) is being included because the Far Rockaway post office delivers mail to that zip code. In addition, Williams said they have reached out, without success, to Community Board 14 and several local politicians - such as Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Congressman Anthony Weiner - asking them to send representatives to the CAC meetings.

"We're still working to invite particular groups that serve particular areas," said Williams.

The CAC meetings will also be used as a method to teach the community about the procedures of the USPS.

"We have boards like this all over the U.S," said Robert Trombley, of public affair and communications for the post office. He went on to say they the CAC boards across the country have "come up with innovative ideas," from separate lines for seniors and the handicapped, to money order only windows.

"The more you bring your concerns to us, the more will we be able to address them in the future," added Trombley.

At the October 23 meeting, time was allotted to address some of the issues facing the local residents who attended. Many, such as Connie Taylor, complained that carriers skip over the step of attempting to deliver a parcel by ringing the doorbell before leaving a pink notification slip in the mailbox to pick up a package at the post office.

"If the carriers are not doing the right thing, let us know. We will take action," said Trombley.

Other suggestions included putting return address labels on the back flap of an envelope. This insures that machines, which read the first address with which they come in contact, do not read the return address and then return the mail to its sender. Also make sure mail put in window envelopes does not move around. Trombley suggests covering the window with a label and writing on that or using a different envelope. Do not staple the piece of mail in the envelope.

In addition, always use your apartment number when giving out your address; put the name of everyone in your household inside your mailbox, if you live in an apartment building like Dayton Towers, to make it easier for the carrier to deliver your mail; and report any illegal activity concerning the mail, mailboxes or mailrooms to the post office.

Residents can report problems by calling their local post office or 1-800- ASK-USPS or going online at USPS. com to lodge a complaint. By calling, the issue will be documented and the consumer will get a case number. The postmaster then has 24 hours to resolve the complaint and get back to the customer. It is also suggested that complainants record the names of everyone with whom they speak at the postal service.

If you are interested in taking part in the CAC you can reach Williams at 718-327-1038.

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