Grade Your Government: U.S. Postal Service Part 1

By Taylor Hemness - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - In the time it takes for you to watch this story, the United States Postal Service will process roughly one million pieces of mail in the more than 32,000 post offices across the country.

Eight of those are in Tyler, the largest representation in East Texas. So that's where we surveyed people to get their opinions, and they were quick to give high marks to the people  that handle their mail.

"I have packages picked up at my front door, and my carrier's wonderful, and he's always prompt, and he picks 'em up, and does great," said Sandy Butler.

"The local branches, I would say 'A,' because the people who are at the local branches, they are very knowledgeable," said Lori Arteaga.

"The Tyler Postal Service, I think, is exceptional, and I know my delivery man, Philip, by his first name," Priscy Tulbert said. "He's great."

That was the response we got across the board, as several people spoke very highly of their carriers, and the people behind the counter at the Tyler post offices.

So an 'A+' for personal treatment. But the praise starts to give way to criticism when it comes to getting to those people at the counters. The overwhelming response from Tyler residents was that the lines at the local post offices are just too long.

"Like, at lunch time, when most people can come to the post office, the staff is short," said Melton Timmons. "And, I understand that they have to eat lunch too, but I think they could work out a plan, and stagger lunches, and have more people available when customers are available."

"They gotta know when the peak times are," said Chris Greenaway. "I mean they can tell you when your mail's up in the P.O. Box, so they ought to be able to know when the influx of crowds are.

"I come here all the time, I come here in the morning, five days a week, and I've seen a decline in the fact that the lines are longer, and there's less people in the front to wait on 'em," Joe Williams said.

Then one man KLTV spoke with has a problem with the post office that's about more than long lines. Loma Allen lives in a retirement community in Tyler, where he says the mail is delivered to one central location, instead of multiple spots.

He says he's been trying for three years to change the delivery route, without any luck.

"I asked, on one occasion when they had turned us down, I said, 'Why?' The answer was, and I quote you, 'It is inconvenient to the post office,'" Allen said.

Mr. Allen has met with several postmasters, without any resolution. His grandfather was a postal carrier in North Carolina, and he says the postal service today is different than the one he remembers hearing about as a child.

"It's contrary to everything that all of us have always understood and it's desire to help the community. That desire is no longer there. It's a bottom line."

Mr. Allen also told us that during this effort, he's dealt with a couple of different postmasters for Tyler, but he has not spoken yet to the new postmaster, who has been on the job in Tyler for less than a month.

We did speak with the new postmaster, and he agrees that the wait time in line is a problem. In 'Grade Your Government: U.S. Postal Service Part 2' of this story, he'll explain why the post office is seeing the problem of long lines, and what he thinks is the biggest problem facing the postal service as a whole. Plus, we'll reveal your final grade for the U.S. Postal Service.

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