By SAMANTHA SMYLIE
After months of residents complaining about poor customer service at the Henry W. McGee Postal Office, 4601 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Postal officials have vowed to correct the shortcomings.
David Durrett, Postal Service Area Manager, and Scheronda Hall, the acting manager, promise to increase the number of clerks available.
“In regards to the lack of staff at peak hours at the Henry McGee Station, we have now added an additional clerk to the office window to ensure that the lines move at a rapid pace and customers are serviced,” Durrett said. “There will be three or four clerks at all times.”
The announcement emerged at a meeting a week ago, during a discussion facilitated by Ald. Sophia King between constituents of the 4th ward and a panel of United States Postal Service (USPS) officials at Northeastern Illinois Carruthers Center, 700 E Oakwood Blvd.
The panel included Durrett; Hall; Peter Skrzypczynski, recording secretary for the National Association for Letter Carriers Branch 11; John Harden, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs representative; and Ryan Petri, representative for USPS office of Inspector General.
Also attending was Robyn Wheeler George, District Director for Congressman Bobby Rush, because the congressman’s office received complaints from constituents about postal service in Bronzeville and throughout the South Side.
During the March 6 meeting, residents raised concerns about late delivery of packages, quick turnover of mail carriers and not receiving mail for days or months.
“In regards to late deliveries, we have been doing route examinations to hold carriers accountable. Our supervisors will be out on the street to [observe] employees,” Hall said. “We will identify new employees and make sure that we evaluate them so that we can’t say, ‘Oh, it is a new employee, that’s why your service is poor.’ The service should be the same across the board, but we have to evaluate and make sure that they are performing.”
Throughout the night, residents were told the postal service’s solutions for their problems and contact information for USPS officials for any more problems or concerns. However, many residents were uncertain about the future.
Due to the quick turnover of staff at the McGee postal office, residents question whom do they hold accountable once a staff member leaves. Hall has been working at McGee for two weeks.
One unidentified resident asked, “How might we escalate the problems with the mail service from this station to the highest levels within the postal services in Chicago and hear from that person within a few months about improvements?”
In response to the question, Ald. King will host another community forum in approximately 45 days to follow up on route examination and give residents another opportunity to express their concerns. King will invite the USPS postmaster and another representative from congressman Bobby Rush’s office.