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Friday, April 5, 2024

A Post Office Debacle in Georgia

Our 15-year-old son Noah is a baseball player. Baseball gear today can be quite expensive. A new (and sometimes even used!) quality bat or glove alone can easily cost several hundred dollars. For many years now, we’ve used Christmas and Noah’s birthday to provide him with a new bat or glove based on what he most wants or needs. If it’s not gift-giving time and Noah wants an expensive baseball item, he typically either waits or uses his own money (maybe with a little help from us) to purchase the item. If it’s the latter, Noah will often look for used gear. This was the case recently.

In February of this year, Noah found a used bat on Facebook Marketplace that he wanted to purchase. The bat was just north of $100 with taxes and fees. He used his own money to purchase the bat. The seller was in our state (Georgia) but was several hours away, so we chose to have the bat shipped. What a mistake!

The bat was scheduled to arrive on February 26. As of this writing, now over five weeks later, the bat still has not arrived! This would not be much of a story if ours was an isolated incident. This is far from the case!

After filing a “missing mail search request” on March 1, a few days later I began wondering if our package delay was indeed an isolated incident. I began a simple internet search and quickly discovered that many others in Georgia were also experiencing missing mail. I started seeing several news stories of missing mail and problems with a new Atlanta area mail distribution center in Palmetto, Georgia.

Much to their credit, the Atlanta NBC News affiliate, 11Alive News, has been all over this story since early March. As far as I can tell, their first report on this story was on March 6. This initial report declares,

Some metro Atlanta residents are looking for their mail, but there's one big problem -- it's either late or, worse, not showing up at all.

These postal customers are also complaining that their packages can't be traced at all. They said these issues are centered around one postal facility in Palmetto -- which is located mostly in Fulton County [Another government debacle in Fulton County!] but also partly in Coweta County.

From paychecks and legal documents to mail of all types, customers from Lithia Springs, Kennesaw, Marietta, and other cities reached out to 11Alive about their mail being delayed, but there still aren't any answers as to why.

Weeks, and dozens of news stories, later (Atlanta-area FOX and ABC affiliates have also reported on this problem) and little has changed. A March 21 11Alive news story gave a comprehensive update on “What we know so far about the Palmetto USPS mail delays.” The story begins, “11Alive has received non-stop overwhelming concerns from those experiencing delays about their missing mail over the past couple of weeks.” On “why is the mail delayed,” 11Alive reports that they have “reached out to the United States Postal Service about what is causing the delays” but 11Alive “has not received a definitive reason.”

Additionally, the Palmetto distribution center, and the USPS in general, is being very evasive or vague on what is being done—if anything—to fix the problem. Not very much (If anything!) as far as we are concerned, since we are going on six weeks without our package!

Several elected officials in Georgia are demanding answers as well, but it seems they are also yet to get results. On March 14, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff released a statement on the matter. Senator Ossoff’s statement declared,

Sen. Ossoff today launched an inquiry with USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to provide detailed answers and explanation amid growing reports of missing and delayed mail processed through the Atlanta Regional Processing and Distribution Center — impacting families’ ability to get life-saving medicine and vital mail services.

On March 21 it was announced that Sen. Ossoff, along with Georgia’s other U.S. Senator, Raphael Warnock and U.S. Congressman Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), had launched a “bipartisan inquiry with USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to provide a detailed explanation for alleged fraud at the Marietta Post Office last year.” The announcement also declared that, “According to the Marietta Daily Journal, alleged crimes committed at the post office include mail theft, forgery, document fraud, and check-washing.”

One wonders if similar issues aren’t occurring at the Palmetto facility as well. Senator Warnock and U.S. Congressman Mike Collins (GA-10) have also officially inquired about the issues at the Palmetto facility but are also getting no answers as to what is the problem and what is being done to resolve it. About a week ago, a FOX5 (the Atlanta affiliate) headline declared, “Even Congress can’t get answers on Georgia post office problems.”

Today (April 4) Congressman Andrew Clyde (GA-09) requested an audit and an investigation into the USPS’s “recent consolidation process in North Georgia.” Congressman Clyde’s request states,

Since the transition and consolidation of processing and distribution activities from local PDCs across North Georgia into the Palmetto facility on February 24, 2024, my office has received a nearly 90% increase in email and phone call messages from residents of North Georgia about USPS mail and package delays happening in the region.

The “consolidation process” mentioned by Congressman Clyde (and by several others dealing with this matter) is evidently part of USPS’s 10-year plan, introduced in 2021, called “Delivering for America.” The Palmetto facility, which opened on February 24 of this year, consolidated Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and Duluth area processing and distribution centers. Atlanta was not the first area of the U.S. to experience this type of postal “consolidation” disaster.

Again, according to 11Alive News,

Atlanta is not the first area to experience disruption following the opening of this kind of facility. They are a centerpiece of a system-wide modernization drive within the USPS, and the first one the agency opened was in Richmond [Virginia] last year.

An audit of the metro Atlanta facility began in March, but a report won't be released until August. The report on Richmond, however, was released on Monday and gives some insights on the uneven results that followed its opening.

The report on the Richmond USPS issues can be found in the link above. It details very similar mail disruptions to what are currently happening in Georgia. In other words, the USPS should’ve learned its lesson in Virginia! But alas, the reputation of the USPS continues to worsen. Things for the Postal Service could get even worse if what has happened in Virginia and Georgia comes to your state, which is likely unless significant changes are made in these “consolidation” efforts.

When our mail was delivered today (April 4), for the first time—I’m not usually home when the mail is delivered—I got to speak with our mail carrier about our missing package. I informed her how long it’s been and so on. She pointed to the issues with the Palmetto facility, but she added that she was told that the area where we live was “caught up” on missing mail from the Palmetto facility. I assured her this was not the case. She told me she’s hearing the same from other postal customers.

How about instead of “consolidation” we just turn over mail operations in the U.S. to Amazon. They seem to be much better at delivering packages! What’s more, I’d wager the amount my son has lost on his package that Amazon could resolve whatever is the issue in Palmetto in a matter of days. Shame on the USPS for this debacle!

(See this column at American Thinker.) 

Copyright 2024, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the 
The Miracle and Magnificence of America


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