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Postal Problems


Postal Procedures for Caspar 95420

posted by Michael Potts

This morning (15 June 2015) I answered a phone call from Bobbi Riley, who introduced herself as a customer service supervisor for the Postal Service.

She began by telling me that our carrier and previous Postmaster had “not been doing their jobs properly” when they delivered “incorrectly addressed” mail. She informed me that due to recent changes in national regulations, holders of “rural boxes” are required to give “complete” addresses, including street address plus box number. I asked her to send me the regulations, and she promised I would have them by Wednesday.

When pressed about the slowness of some mailers, particularly including government agencies, to change addresses, she conceded that “adequate time” would be provided for us to get these addresses changed and that the deadline stated by the Fort Bragg Postmaster, July 2, was not sufficient. (She was unwilling to specify what “adequate” meant.) “I am all about customer service,” she said, “and you won't find a postal employee who's prouder” of the job performed by the USPS.

She repeated the idea that postal workers serving Caspar recently had not been “doing their job” by ignoring postal regulations regarding proper addressing. “Our job is to instruct and educate,” she explained. I did my best to disagree with her politely, citing (in part) the published mission statement of the USPS: “It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.” Ms Riley replied, “I may not agree with all the regulations, but it is my job to implement them.” She suggested that the recent effort by the Postal Service to eliminate “locally sensitive delivery” and regularize service broadly across the country seemed to her to be misguided, but that any change in that policy would come from Congress, not from postal authorities.

When I explained that many in Caspar, particularly the elderly and women living alone, are fearful about including a street address as part of the mailing address they are required to provide to everyone, she said that it is policy to work with people who feel that way on an individual basis. “Come in and talk privately with the Postmaster, and we will find an accommodation,” she claimed.

Whether any of this will actually come into practice here in 95420 remains to be seen.

Ms Riley was asked to verify the accuracy of the quotations given above, but as of the posting, she had not responded.


What We Can Do

  • Never disturb the carrier when she is distributing mail. Especially, no bombardment! And those of you who have been bombarding the carrier, Shame on you! Be nice to the nice postal workers.
  • Use your “proper” address. The correct formulation is 12345 Street-name # Box-number . Do your best to inform mailers, and be stubborn when a mailer attempts to “correct” this formulation.
  • If you anticipate any problem with delivery of important mail, even if this occurs after whatever “deadline” is set by a more reasonable postal administration (assuming a more reasonable deadline is decreed), write a letter explaining the situation to Postmaster, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, and (optionally, if you wish to be a part of the case for cooperation being built by Caspar Community) send a copy to Caspar Community, 15051 Caspar Road #84, Caspar, CA 95420, or (preferably) email to lists@casparcommons.org for inclusion in the Postal File. Keep a copy in case it is necessary to document your case.
  • If it is important to you not to use your street address in your mailing address, write a letter to the Fort Bragg Postmaster as suggested above.
  • If all else fails, contact Bobbi Riley at 707-778-5242, and explain the problem. If problems persist, the best thing we Caspar postal patrons can do is make sure that the postal establishment is aware of our problems.
  • Strategically, it is important for us Caspars to be vigilant and insistent that our mail service not be perturbed or interrupted. It is not within the rights of the Postal Service to discriminate against us, either as individuals or as a community; they are obliged to deliver mail to us. Furthermore, we are unequally served: our neighbors north and south get home delivery, and our postal boxes are placed on land that we own within a structure that we built.
       However, this does not mean we should take up any grievances with our letter carrier! (No bombarding!) Grievances must be documented in writing and sent to the Fort Bragg Postmaster. Any conversations with the Postmaster should also be documented. If you wish to be part of Caspar’s ongoing effort to achieve efficient postal service, copies of any documentation should be emailed if possible or mailed as noted above.
  • If all else fails, contact Bobbi Riley at 707-778-5242, and explain the problem. If problems persist, the best thing we Caspar postal patrons can do is make sure that the larger postal establishment is made aware of our difficulties in dealing with their local employees.
  • Since the root of our problem is the national fetish for regulation, consider writing a letter to your Congressional Representatives. Postal Service workers such as the Postmaster and Ms Riley are bound by regulations that are imposed on them from on high, and these may put them in a difficult position. Insisting that they operate outside the parameters that define their jobs only increases the difficulty. Experience suggests that bureaucratic slavishness persists right up through the organization, and so our best and probably only hope for changing the regulations is a direct appeal to Congress.
       I am preparing such a letter, and will post it here after Wednesday’s mail is delivered.

Michael ;>
Caspar list co-manager
email any response or thoughts to lists@casparcommons.org

posted 16 June 2015




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