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IG report: ‘Couldn’t be clearer that USPS has not been providing reliable service’

United States Postal Service
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The United States Postal Service’s (USPS) Inspector General (IG) report has been released on the Richmond Regional Processing and Distribution Center (RPDC) in Sandston.

The USPS OIG audited the RPDC because the center is the first consolidated processing center in the country opened to centralize outgoing mail and package processing as part of USPS’s 10-year Delivering for America Plan.

The new report highlights a lack of attention to detail, poor synchronization between processing machines and delivery trucks, workforce shortages and inadequate communication at USPS.

Virginia lawmakers, including U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, and U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott, Rob Wittman, Abigail Spanberger, Bob Good, Jennifer McClellan and Jen Kiggans reacted yesterday to the USPS report.

“It couldn’t be clearer that USPS has not been providing reliable service to Virginians, and we’ve been pressing for answers. This report pinpoints a number of issues, including a lack of coordination between USPS and staff at the Richmond Regional Processing and Distribution Center (RPDC). Going forward, USPS must provide more resources and clearer guidance to management and staff at RPDC, among other steps. We look forward to working with USPS to ensure that happens, the recommendations in the IG report are implemented, and mail delivery is timely for Virginians,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

The report highlights various issues on the local, regional and national levels that have impacted service in Virginia, and made 10 distinct recommendations to USPS for improvement. The issues range from egregious lack of attention to detail (pieces of mail falling off conveyor belts and being lost), to poor synchronizing between machines processing mail at the facility and the schedules of trucks transporting mail to and from the facility, to broader questions about whether the RPDC model is generating the cost savings and efficiency improvements this model has promised. Workforce shortages, including reducing the contracted drivers to operate delivery trucks when the in-house workforce was insufficient, have further strained USPS staff and increased overtime costs. Meanwhile, internal communication among headquarters, regional and on-site local staff has been inadequate.

A full accounting of the problems that have impacted service and specific recommendations to address them are available here.

“Virginians depend on timely, accurate and reliable mail delivery services to receive important tax documents, benefit checks, bills, and more. The ongoing mail delivery issues in Richmond and throughout Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District are unacceptable and must be resolved expeditiously,” McClellan said. “I recently toured the RPDC and to hear from USPS leadership firsthand about the corrective actions they have implemented, and this report makes clear that there is more work to do. My office continues to engage with USPS leadership and our congressional liaisons to bring light to my constituents’ issues and pressure the postal service to address them. If you or someone you know has had issues with mail delivery, do not hesitate to reach out to my office for assistance.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.