Local post office plans to deliver better service | SierraSun.com

Local post office plans to deliver better service

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunCustomers wait in line at the downtown Truckee Post Office. New hires at the post office will help service, officials hope.

Its no secret that Truckee post offices has been experiencing its share of struggles lately. High employee turnover, inexperienced replacements and long routes have left staff burdened and customers vocal about their frustrations. But post office officials say improvements will be delivered soon.I have a feeling that the growth of Truckee was not on the radar of our main district in Las Vegas, said 23-year mail clerk Jack Bernardo. But the more problems they see by coming to our building I think were on the radar now.There has even been talk of an entirely new building, Bernardo said, although its unlikely that the post office would be able to remain downtown as a new site might require as many as three acres. But improvements cant come soon enough for some customers who are voicing complaints about lost mail, late mail, parking and a slew of other concerns.Its gotten really bad in the last year, said Truckee resident Lisa Dearing. They lost a whole bundle of my mail, and when I finally got it back it had other peoples personal checks and credit card statements in it.I think that the town has maybe grown too fast for the post office to keep up … It seems less like a business and more like a bureaucratic agency.Postal workers and Post Master Michele Stivers, who was unavailable for comment, are hearing that message loud and clear and have been working to make adjustments. But while change is occurring at the post office, it could still be a while until all the kinks are worked out.We lost so many of our long-time people because it was time for them to retire, said 10-year postal clerk Mary Davis. [The U.S. Postal Service] also makes it very easy to transfer, and some found offices to work at closer to their home. Four new clerks have been hired, and about six more will soon come aboard as carriers, according to Davis, but the extensive training that new hires must undergo, and the on-site knowledge they must acquire to work, can take up to a year for some.Its like having a school half-full of substitute teachers, Bernardo said.In an effort to sort through the chaos and lift some burden from the shoulders of mail carriers, the post office is now doing rural counts.

Rural counts, which began Feb. 24, entail counting every piece of mail, every stop mail carriers make, how many times they must exit their vehicles in order to reach a mail box, and how far and frequently the carriers must walk to reach a box.It evaluates a carriers route, and if that route is over-burdened, they will cut back on that route and either create another, or give some to another carrier, Bernardo said. There are currently 12 carriers, some of whom are part-time, delivering to three ZIP codes over 10 routes and 5,618 mail boxes. The largest route, in Tahoe Donner, has more than 900 mailboxes. And in the two Truckee offices, there are nearly 6,000 post office boxes.And according to Davis, there are 700 to 900 parcels to be delivered every day, in addition to the nearly 200 stacked feet of letters, magazines, bills and coupons.The post office also recently purchased 10 right-side-steering mail cars so employees will not have to make deliveries in their personal vehicles, and Stivers is encouraging more residents to switch from post office boxes to delivery. Anyone interested in making the switch should call or visit the post office for more information.

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