By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – Cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service has raised the ire of at least one resident who informed the Board of Commissioners about problems in 08403. After agreeing there is a problem, Mayor Nicholas Russo penned a letter to federal officials requesting services be restored.
On Aug. 5, resident Mark Hyman briefed the commission regarding a decrease in service at the tiny Post Office on 27th Avenue where the smiley-faced water tower looms above.
Regular mail carriers have been eliminated, or along with the manager, moved to a different location, and the Post Office is bringing in “carpetbaggers” from other areas to deliver mail every other day, Hyman said.
He also said he knows there is a “secret sick out among carriers” who are complaining about having to deliver so many Amazon packages with no room for anything else in the mail truck.
They “never do their completed rounds,” he said.
A postal worker confirmed Hyman’s suspicions, he said.
“They don’t know the difference between North and South (streets),” he said. “I’m a mini-mailman giving everybody back their mail.”
Commissioner Jim Leeds, who lives on a beach-block, said he has become friendly with neighbors who live on the bay side of his street.
Russo said, “There is clearly a problem with mail delivery.”
Solicitor Michael Affanato confirmed that he is getting mail every other day.
In his letter to Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker and Rep. Jeff Van Drew, Russo asked them to ensure “every effort be made to maintain the high level of service that was afforded to our community prior to March 2020.”
The last time Russo wrote a letter to the Post office was to plead with the government agency to keep the small Longport Post Office open. He said the compromise received was to allow it to continue to be open a half-day in the morning, Russo said.
“Between the COVID-19 crisis and the increase in internet purchases, I understand, but something has to be done,” he said.
“I respectfully request that the funding for our Postal Service continue at the previous level or be increased, so that this important service is not compromised or minimalized,” he wrote.
Menendez and Booker co-sponsored the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act to ensure all registered voters have the opportunity to cast their vote and have their voices heard.
In addition to Nov. 3 being a presidential election year, voters will also get to select their local representatives on the non-partisan Board of Commissioners. All three incumbent commissioners are seeking re-election, but there is a strong possibility they may be challenged. The deadline to register as a candidate is Aug. 31.
“Like many families and businesses across the country, the United States Postal Service is not immune to the financial impacts of COVID-19,” Menendez said in a statement to Downbeach.com. “But Postmaster General Louis DeJoy responded with drastic cost cutting measures designed to undermine the very essence of USPS’s mission — to serve the American people with reliable, affordable, and universal mail service.”
U.S. citizens need an efficient mail service to receive their lifesaving medications, paychecks, Social Security, and to vote by mail, he said.
“Simply put, when mail isn’t timely delivered, lives and livelihoods are at stake. Congress and the Trump administration must provide the USPS with robust funding and the resources necessary to help the thousands of dedicated, frontline postal workers ensure the mail is delivered on time.”
Booker has led more than a dozen of his colleagues in urging Senate and House leaders to provide full funding for the U.S. Postal Service in the next COVID-19 relief package, and introduced a resolution outlining the importance of the USPS. He urged increased funding in the next pandemic relief package to offset any losses it has incurred due to the pandemic.
“The USPS plays a vital role in our country, and the outbreak of COVID-19 has only increased our reliance on the services it provides,” Booker said.
Read Sen. Cory Booker’s letter here.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew did not respond in time for this publication.
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