KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Even though it was late afternoon, Diana Manzella knew there was no point in checking her mailbox for the letters she’d been anxiously awaiting.
“We are lucky if we get mail every four days,” said Manzella, who said she has even requested her company send her tax documents by FedEx instead of USPS because she knows she most likely won’t get them in time.
Manzella is one of more than 20 homeowners in a south Kansas City neighborhood fed up with mail delivery.
“It’s to the point where I reached out to you guys,” Manzella said. “I’m hoping Problem Solvers can do something about this.”
We’ve been trying for months.
Last September we aired a story about mail delivery problems in Kansas City’s Northland. That story prompted Kansas City’s congressional delegation to demand answers from the post office.
They even requested an audit to determine exactly why so many people are having problems getting regular mail delivery.
But months later, FOX4 Problem Solvers is still getting complaints.
“There were five days in a row where we didn’t get mail,” said Doug Wylie, who lives in Parkville and is a city alderman.
“They are kind of a utility for the United States. They should be able to figure out how to solve the service issues they are having, but they haven’t been able to.”
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s office told Problem Solvers that just in the last month it’s received more than 60 complaints about poor mail delivery – the majority of them from south Kansas City.
The two areas with the most complaints are serviced either by the USPS office on Troost Avenue or the one in Martin City. Manzella’s post office is on Troost.
“When I called and talked to the manager of the Troost station, she said we don’t have enough employees,” Manzella said. “I was told that if I know somebody, to please send them to apply.”
There was a time when working for the post office was a prized career. So why is it now having such problems filling jobs?
Problem Solvers spoke to current and former postal employees, none of whom wanted to be identified. All of them told us that cost-cutting measures have reduced pay and benefits so drastically for new hires that many quit after a few months.
Cleaver’s office said it’s grown frustrated with the response from the post office every time it’s demanded answers to a constituent’s mail delivery problems. Cleaver’s office said it’s often told the “problem is being looked into,” but no solution is promised.
Both Cleaver and U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s office told FOX4 they are eagerly awaiting the results of the Inspector General’s audit, hoping that will provider answers as to what changes need to be made.
“We urge the Inspector General to complete the audit we requested as soon as possible to ensure a return to timely mail service in the KC region,” Hawley’s office said in a statement.
Both Hawley and Cleaver are telling people experiencing mail problems to contact their offices directly for help.
The one encouraging piece of news is that since we first interviewed Wylie in December, his problems with mail delivery to his Parkville home appear to have been resolved. He said he has started receiving his mail regularly in the past few weeks.
Read the full statement from Cleaver below:
“Despite the joint letter Rep. Graves and I sent to Postmaster General DeJoy last fall, I continue to hear from Western Missourians that postal service issues remain a persistent problem. For months now, my office has received an increased number of constituents who are dealing with unacceptably inconsistent, unreliable mail delivery service – specifically out of the Troost and Martin City Post Offices – and we are doing all we can to resolve these issues and each case as expeditiously as possible.
“I understand that the Postal Service is struggling to maintain the staff levels necessary to meet demand, but Americans rely on routine mail delivery to pay their bills on time, collect their hard-earned paychecks, and receive vital medications. Anything less than the committed six days a week delivery service simply won’t cut it and must be addressed by the Postmaster General and the U.S. Postal Service immediately. If the Postmaster General can’t find a solution, then Congress needs to find a Postmaster General who can.
“If you are a constituent in the Fifth District and having difficulty with your mail service, I highly encourage you to reach out to my office for assistance. Moving forward, I will continue seeking favorable resolutions in our constituent advocacy work, pushing for immediate action from agency leadership, and seeking bipartisan solutions that strengthen mail delivery service across Missouri.”
Here is the full statement from Hawley’s office:
“The Inspector General contacted Senator Hawley’s office for more details on specific locations experiencing problems, which we have provided. Our office is also working with USPS directly to address individual complaints from residents. We urge the Inspector General to complete the audit we requested as soon as possible to ensure a return to timely mail service in the KC region. We encourage constituents experiencing delays to reach out to our office for assistance.”