Complaints about the special hellsites that are the Williamsburg and Greenpoint post offices have officially gone beyond aggrieved Yelp reviews -- the Postal Service itself has now concluded these places have some serious problems.
The Office of Inspector General for the United States Postal Service released a damning audit on December 31st detailing the sloppy performance of the post offices in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, finding four-year-old undelivered mail, safes full of cash left unsecured, snafus in package scanning and pickup processes, and junk mail from 2018 that was never distributed for residents to throw immediately into trash bins.
The audit was conducted last August. Inspectors found that the Williamsburg post office had stashed away “containers and tubs full of undelivered and returnable mail at various places throughout the unit dating back to 2016,” including “a loose check dated July 4, 2016” and “an all-purpose container of marketing mail with the year '2018' identified on the mailpiece spines.”
The Greenpoint post office had “92 pieces of Certified Mail and one piece of international mail that were not returned to the sender according to the “Notice Left and Return Guidelines”...The mailpieces were held between two and 47 days beyond their authorized retention periods.”
This is probably not news to many residents of the neighborhoods:
The post offices also mismanaged its valuable assets. The Williamsburg post office had its daily bank deposit of $17,070 secured in a locked vault...with the key hanging out on the wall right next to the safe and the safe door left conveniently open. The Greenpoint post office also had cash laying around in unsecured drawers, a box of money orders lying casually on an office floor, and unsecured sheets of stamps, the audit found.
Working conditions were gross and unsafe for the employees, too: “At the Greenpoint Station, there was leaking sewage in the manager’s office and suspected mold in the manager’s office and the basement,” conditions that were reported a dozen times before the auditors found them. “A fire alarm was disengaged, and emergency exits were blocked at the Williamsburg Station. We noted that the fire alarm pull lever was hanging at a 90-degree angle from the wall and a notification beep was sounding at the access panel box. Upon reviewing the access panel, we noted that the fire alarm was disengaged...(there was) cracked glass in windows, pest infestations, and cracked tile at the Greenpoint Station.”
All of these problems are eroding the Postal Service brand, the audit said: “By ensuring all mail is processed and delivered timely, management can increase customer satisfaction and enhance the Postal Service brand.”
The audit recommends reminding employees to do their jobs: “to develop an action plan to ensure all mail is being delivered in a timely manner and standard operating procedures are followed for reporting delayed mail, handling of returnable mail, and collection of mail from contract postal units…instruct district support personnel to periodically review and monitor delivery operations in units to ensure mail is not being delayed."
The audit was performed after years of complaints finally reached the ears of New York’s senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Representatives Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney and state Assemblyman Joseph Lentol in June.
“My office received a steady rise in complaints regarding mail delivery issues over the past few years, which prompted my audit request to the United States Postal Service Inspector General. The inefficiency of mail delivery affects everyone: individuals, families, and small businesses. Issues with mail delivery means items such as bank statements, social security cards, passports, tax returns, bills, and personal packages could be delayed, misplaced, or lost. Residents of North Brooklyn rely on the United States Postal Service to deliver mail in a timely and efficient manner,” Lentol said in an emailed statement. “The USPS Inspector General audit highlights the need to ensure protocol is followed and that periodic reviews are held at the Greenpoint and Williamsburg post offices. The actions taken as a result of this audit is an important step towards accountability and restoring trust and confidence in North Brooklyn’s mail delivery system.”
A small comfort, perhaps, for residents who are still recovering from a harrowing brush with their local post office:
Maybe they can audit the dreaded Flatbush post office next?