Snail mail: Congressman vows city-wide change following recent Graceland Annex report

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Friday, June 21, 2019
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A recent inspector general's report of one district, uncovered more issues. Now a U.S. Representative says that report is prompting city-wide change.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It could be an important bill, a wedding invitation or that check you've been waiting on in the mail. Complaints of delayed or delivered late snail mail has become a problem with the U.S. Postal service in the Chicago area.

A recent Inspector General's report of one district uncovered more issues and now a U.S. Representative said that report is prompting city-wide change.

"They went to one station and found horrible practices, miss delivered mail, late mail, mail that's not delivered, and probably what's worse is misrepresentations and lies about the quality of that service," Representative Mike Quigley said.

The Audit Report focused on the Graceland Annex in the North Center neighborhood, but Rep. Quigley said the issues aren't isolated. The I-Team also uncovered delays in previous reports.

RELATED: I-Team: Snail mail getting slower?

The I-Team is tracking slow and unreliable mail service and putting the U.S. Postal Service to the test.

"I get complaints throughout the district, you talk to my colleagues from Chicago, other congressmen, and they'll you the same thing," Rep. Quigley said.

Findings of the audit include:

  • Mail not being delivered due to a shortage of full-time clerks and city letter carriers- and lack of replacements for sick employees
  • Management failing to report delayed mail
  • 50 percent of mail carriers were still on the street after 6 p.m.
  • The report found that carriers marked some packages as "attempted-no access," meaning that recipient wasn't reachable, however GPS used by investigators revealed that carriers didn't bother to go to the drop off sites.

    "Letter Carriers and Clerks are actually working harder to provide service to our customers," Keith Richardson, president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 1 - Chicago, said in response to the I-Team report on the Inspector General's report. "As representatives of these hard-working men and women, we are aware and consistently challenging the failing policies such as under-staffing and late start times which plague the Chicago Post Office. As we work with all the Postal stakeholders to improve in these areas, we are confident that our customers will see the consistent and efficient service they are accustomed to and deserve."

    Rep. Quigley said he met with postal officials who told him action would be taken system wide, especially after he said they told him that Chicago had ranked worst in the nation for delivery after 5 p.m.

    "The reforms they started to put into place when we asked for this report, we are now in the top two thirds, so we've moved up about 20 spaces," Rep. Quigley said. "We'll take any improvement we can but we recognize that it's our job to maintain this pace."

    Rep. Quigley also said the post office will now do away with "auxiliary routes," also known as shared or leftover routes located in small areas or dead end streets.

    The USPS told the I-Team there would be operational and personnel changes at the Graceland Annex, including more employees, adding that it strives to improve service in Chicago and nationwide.