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The office of U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, whose district includes Vail, on Tuesday issued the following press release on his efforts to dramatically improve United States Postal Service (USPS) delivery in mountain communities, where there have been frustrating delays in recent months:
Lafayette, CO — Today, Congressman Joe Neguse penned a letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) District Manager for the Colorado-Wyoming District, Jason McMahill, requesting he urgently address the ongoing delays in mail services occurring in Colorado’s mountain communities. Congressman Neguse’s Office has repeatedly implored the USPS to solve these problems, including by asking the USPS to provide alternate methods to pick up mail, expand opportunities for customers to access their PO boxes, aggressively recruit new staff, and meet with the affected towns’ mayors and county leaders.
“Notwithstanding the herculean efforts of the front line postal workers at the locations above, these rural mountain communities are simply not receiving a level of service even close to what the district management of USPS is required to provide. Our offices receive regular reports of sporadic or nonexistent mail delivery, backlogs of mail and packages piling up behind service desks, unreasonably restricted regular operating hours, unscheduled closures of service desks during posted operating hours, unpredictable hours of operation, lack of access to P.O. boxes, disheveled and unclean public areas, unaddressed maintenance issues, mail and packages inexplicably returned to senders, crippling staff shortages, and customer lines of 60 minutes or longer. […] In order to meet the universal service mandate of the USPS, these locations are in urgent need of your focused and immediate attention,” wrote Congressman Neguse.
Congressman Neguse’s office has received regular complaints from mountain residents regarding mail service, with the volume increasing dramatically in recent months. When Routt County was added to Colorado’s 2nd District in January, the Congressman’s office immediately received a flood of complaints and urgent requests for help from the Steamboat Springs area, where many residents have gone weeks without any mail. Local leaders in Dillon and Silverthorne describe the mail service in their communities as deeply dysfunctional.
The USPS management has failed to provide the level of service Congressman Neguse’s constituents expect and deserve, with too many in the community unable to receive the medications, bills, checks, passports, packages and standard mail they are owed. Recent troubling reports have surfaced highlighting understaffed and under-supported USPS facilities. Delayed and unreliable mail delivery harms rural communities, including their seniors and small businesses. Rep. Neguse has previously written to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to express his deep concerns about operational changes in the U.S. Postal Service negatively impacting Coloradans and the millions of Americans who live in rural communities.
Read the full letter HERE and below:
January 31, 2023
Mr. Jason McMahill
District Manager Colorado-Wyoming
District United States Postal Service
Dear Mr. McMahill,
I write today to express my deep concerns regarding the Colorado-Wyoming District’s mismanagement of many rural mountain post offices in Western Colorado. In particular, I have urgent concerns about the operations and conditions of United States Postal Services (USPS) Post Offices in Summit, Eagle, Grand, and Routt counties, with the situations in the communities of Dillon, Silverthorne, and Steamboat Springs especially dire. For the reasons detailed below, I respectfully request that your office take immediate action to address these challenges, and further, that you promptly detail to my office, in writing, the steps you intend to take to resolve the same.
In short, my office has consistently received a steady stream of complaints and pleas for help from my constituents and local leaders in the mountain communities referenced above. In recent months, the volume of complaints has significantly increased as your agency’s level of service has deteriorated alarmingly in many communities.
Notwithstanding the herculean efforts of the front line postal workers at the locations above, these rural mountain communities are simply not receiving a level of service even close to what the district management of USPS is required to provide. Our offices receive regular reports of sporadic or nonexistent mail delivery, backlogs of mail and packages piling up behind service desks, unreasonably restricted regular operating hours, unscheduled closures of service desks during posted operating hours, unpredictable hours of operation, lack of access to P.O. boxes, disheveled and unclean public areas, unaddressed maintenance issues, mail and packages inexplicably returned to senders, crippling staff shortages, and customer lines of 60 minutes or longer. Constituents regularly come to our offices in a panic, wondering when they will receive medications, bills, checks, passports, and other essential items.
During the holiday season, Dillon Post Office customers endured lines so long that they were compelled to bring lawn chairs while waiting. P.O. box access in Dillon has been limited on weekdays with only a handful of hours on Saturdays, which means that hundreds of local workers have had no way to access their daily mail. Similarly, a shortage of mail carriers in Steamboat Springs has brought residential delivery to a halt in many neighborhoods for weeks on end. In Grand Lake, where residents do not have the option of residential mail delivery, workers with traditional Monday-Friday work schedules have no way to pick up delivered packages, because the service desk closes at 4 p.m. every weekday and is closed entirely on weekends. And in Avon, local leaders express exasperation over perpetual staffing shortages, poor facility conditions, and unresponsiveness from leadership.
In response to these issues, it appears that the USPS district leadership has declined nearly every opportunity to work with these communities to identify and implement solutions to the myriad of issues described above. We find this lack of initiative immensely frustrating when local leaders continue to raise these challenges and propose creative solutions, only to have them ignored. USPS Facilities officials refused to meet with the mayors of Frisco, Dillon, and Vail when they asked to initiate exploratory discussions regarding the potential development of housing for USPS employees and other local workers on underutilized USPS properties, even when these communities are successfully employing this approach in partnership with other federal and state agencies. And on multiple occasions, Summit County officials have offered to set aside existing affordable residential units for USPS employees, and yet, have never been taken up on their offer. Meanwhile, the USPS leadership continues to blame the high cost of housing in the mountains for its inability to properly staff the Dillon and Silverthorne post offices, among others.
In order to meet the universal service mandate of the USPS, these locations are in urgent need of your focused and immediate attention. I thank you for scheduling a meeting with these local officials as an important first step, and therefore reiterate my request that you and the relevant members of your management team take immediate steps to address the serious challenges facing Colorado’s mountain post offices.
I look forward to hearing from you and working together to implement innovative solutions to these challenges so that USPS can deliver the level of service that mountain residents expect and deserve.
Member of Congress
Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General
Elvin Mercado, VP, Retail and Post Office Operations
Simon Storey, VP, Human Resources
Peter Pastre, VP, Government Relations and Public Policy
Eduardo H. Ruiz, Jr., VP, Retail and Delivery Operations—Western-Pacific Area