Background

This report responds to requests from U.S. Representatives C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Kweisi Mfume, for the 2nd and 7th Congressional Districts of MD, respectively, to review mail delivery and customer service operations at select units in the Baltimore, MD, region. In May 2021, Representatives Ruppersberger and Mfume sent letters requesting reviews at several units in the Baltimore region based on an increase in constituent complaints in the months prior.

Congressman Ruppersberger requested reviews at the Dundalk Sparrows Point (Dundalk), Essex, Rosedale, Parkville, Middle River, and Towson (served by Loch Raven) branches. His request specifically mentioned constituents not receiving mail, including paychecks and life-saving prescriptions, for weeks at a time. Congressman Mfume’s request specifically mentioned an increased lack of service, non-delivery of mailpieces, and customer service complaints in ZIP Codes 21213 (Clifton East End Station), 21217 (Druid Station), and 21229 (Carroll Station).

Our objective was to evaluate mail delivery and customer service operations on selected routes at the following delivery units in the Baltimore, MD, region: Dundalk, Essex, Rosedale, Parkville, Middle River, Loch Raven, Clifton East End, Druid, and Carroll.

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Comments (3)

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  • anon

    Why no review of the Hampden PO (21211)....or the Baltimore mail plant?

    Nov 15, 2021
  • anon

    This report, while well researched and written, seems, like many OIG reports, too narrow in scope. The OIG reports that the selected offices were underreporting or not reporting delayed mail, at the time of the OIG site visits. But the Dundalk office was having staffing issues early in the pandemic. It was the first office that was widely reported to have been significantly impacted by COVID in the Baltimore District (now Maryland District), outside the processing plants. The report does not address the delayed mail reporting in CSDRS for these offices before the OIG site visits. Also, knowing the culture of the postal service, "Inaccurate reporting" seems charitable. There is pressure, at least in the Maryland District, to not report delayed mail. Just as there is pressure to report Distribution Up Time and PO Box Distribution Up Time early, and to send PM Certification as "ALL CLEAR" when it is not, as other examples. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, and no manager wants their office to be like that nail. I strongly suspect these units were regularly sending PM All Clears even though routes were not being delivered. Also, there are other ways to report to higher level managers that offices have staffing issues and mail is delayed, such as phone calls, texts, and emails. Under the previous District Manager, high level managers in the district -- including the Manager of Operations Support -- led a video conference requesting other managers of offices throughout Maryland to commit to sending employees to the troubled offices. Hotels and stipends were offered. This was near the time of the OIG visits. The manager stated that it was difficult to comprehend the amount of mail that was sitting in the offices without seeing it firsthand. To me, the fact that higher level managers were describing the delayed mail, yet this delayed mail was not accurately reported in CSDRS, shows that the managers at the district were complicit in not reporting the delayed volumes in CSDRS. Did the OIG examine managers' communications to see if and when officials at the District, Area, and HQ levels were aware of the delayed mail before it may have been reported in CSDRS? Did the District or Area try to hide from higher levels the extent of the problem? The report also does not go into detail about the workplace environment of these offices, and the specific local causes of the short staffing. How many COVID cases were there in these offices? Were there any cases that resulted in hospitalization or death? How many were quarantined due to close contact tracing? Were the positive cases promptly reported by local management to the Occupational Health Nurse Administrator (OHNA)? Did close contact tracing occur promptly, thoroughly, and consistently? Were the special cleaning procedures correctly implemented after positive cases? And if the COVID positives were handled like the delayed mail reporting was handled, maybe employees were scared to come to work? I believe the OIG performs a valuable service with these investigations. The OIG just needs to do a better job at analyzing how postal service managerial culture and the workplace environment exacerbate or even create the issues that are investigated.

    Nov 12, 2021
  • anon

    Jay K...... Thanks for a well presented response...... Now if OIG will respond to your comments then we will know OIG takes your points seriously...

    Nov 16, 2021