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Mail fail update: Columbus post office makes changes

Back in February, we brought your dozens of mail complaints to U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers and Joyce Beatty. They promised to get answers and set up weekly phone meetings with postal leaders. Stivers said he's noticed some improvement. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - Shelia Tillman was driving along Sunbury Road when something in an empty parking lot caught her eye. It was a mail truck parked alongside a car, with lots of packages in the car's trunk.

Tillman says she watched as the mail carrier took the packages from the car and put them in his truck.

She told her 12-year-old son to take video with his cellphone.

"As we went around the car, there were things in between the car and the truck on the ground," she said. "And that didn't look right. No, that certainly did not look right."

Tillman said the woman claimed to be a mail supervisor, and that she was dropping off mail to her carriers in the field.

We did some checking and were surprised to find that using personal cars to transport mail is a post office-approved practice.

In an email, USPS spokesman David Van Allen said, "Delivery supervisors and postmasters are authorized to use privately owned vehicles in the performance of their normal duties. Normal duties include distributing mail to carriers while the carriers are out on their routes."

That was news to Richard Lester, who's had trouble with eight separate package deliveries since September. His mail also comes from the Oakland Park Post Office on Innis Road.

"There's been a constant breakdown of getting packages here," said Lester. "I've got a hip replacement and for me to go to the Innis post office back and forth is just too much."

Back in February, we brought your dozens of mail complaints to U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers and Joyce Beatty. They promised to get answers and set up weekly phone meetings with postal leaders. Stivers said he's noticed some improvement.

"Their complaints have gone down a little bit," he said. "From 15 complaints the first week to eight complaints the second week to five complaints the third week. We're going to stay on them every week."

And while the post office spokesman would only say "a formal review of Columbus post office operations is underway," Stivers' office shared this letter from the USPS, outlining what it is doing.

Among the changes:

  • A new management team at the Oakland Park Post Office, including a customer service manager
  • It also promised more automated equipment would be sent to select Columbus-area offices that will allow carriers to begin their routes earlier each day by getting the mail to them sooner
  • Finally, it vowed to review the numbers of mail workers and routes in the city for timely and accurate mail delivery

Lester said he has noticed a tiny bit of improvement at the Innis Road location.

"It's gotten a little better when I go down there," he said. "But as far as getting packages to here, it doesn't occur. I can't rely on it whatsoever."

ABC 6/FOX 28 has made repeated attempts to talk with post office officials, on camera, about your complaints and all the changes, but we have repeatedly been turned down.

We've also learned there's a new "acting postmaster" who was just assigned in Columbus. We asked for a sit-down interview with her, but our request was turned down.

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