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Postal Service must figure it out before the holidays

Everyone remembers the chaos of last year’s holiday shipping, when packages sent before Thanksgiving didn’t arrive until well into the New Year — or for some, disappeared forever. A U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday focused on the United States Postal Service, and some of the budget and delivery woes it is still tackling.

USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb said her team was looking into nine Baltimore-area delivery units to figure out why mail-processing challenges were occurring, as the city is in the bottom ten service areas for performance.

Northern Ohio is right there at the bottom with Baltimore, according to the postal service’s online performance tracker, though no one living in our region needed new data to tell them that. How many of us got Christmas cards after Dec. 25 last year? Thought so.

Whitcomb told lawmakers the team would be looking at ten mail processing plants across the country this fall that have had issues for years and were hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an Ohio Capital Journal report, Whitcomb said controversial changes implemented by then-Postmaster General Louis DeJoy intended to address efficiency issues were made inconsistently around the country and during a strained time.

“This had a really significant impact on service because it was happening along with employee availability issues and an increased number of packages in the mail because of COVID,” she said.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., countered that he’s heard from thousands in his state about mail delays still happening, even after approved additional funding to help the USPS during the pandemic.

American rely on the USPS. The mail must be delivered, and on time. Can’t blame all of last year’s delivery shortcomings on COVID.

Here’s hoping officials are serious about resolving these issues, NOW, and that Northern Ohio will be on the list of those facilities investigated. There is precious little time, in the world of King Bureaucracy, before we find out whether real solutions were implemented … or the USPS will fall apart again come Thanksgiving. Sure it is only mid-July but we all know how quickly time goes by. People shouldn’t have to worry about ordering their gifts during the summer to ensure that they actually arrive on time for Christmas.

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