Mail problems prompt public meeting

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis' office says mail service complaints are up

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Poor mail service in Oak Park and surrounding communities in recent months has led elected officials to hold a public meeting next week to give fed-up residents an idea of what's going on.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th) said in an email to constituents that his office "has been receiving a higher than usual volume of complaints relative to mail delivery, especially during the last month or so."

The meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10 at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St. Davis invited village presidents, mayors and residents from the communities of Oak Park, Forest Park, River Forest, Broadview, Maywood, Westchester, Bellwood, Berkeley and Hillside.

"In an effort to make all of us aware of what the postal service is doing to try and meet the challenges they are experiencing, I have asked them to meet with all the elected officials in the area to discuss the issues," Davis said in an email.

Oak Park Village President Anan Abu-Taleb said in a telephone interview that his office also has received increased complaints about mail service for several weeks. Abu-Taleb said he reached out to Davis about the problem. 

"Oak Park is not the only community having these issues," he said.

Larry Shapiro, Davis' suburban representative, said he's also received complaints from constituents in several communities about mail showing up days late with no explanation.

"Few of them have had consistent mail delivery," he said. "We're hearing that, for long periods of time, there is no mail. People have been going down to the post office but haven't been able to get redress. The post office has avoided them."

Shapiro said he's heard that the problem is related to the post office being short-staffed.

"We've heard there have been retirements and people off work for illness and disability," he said, noting that inclement weather this winter has exacerbated the problem.

Shapiro said the majority of the 20 or so emails and phone calls he's received from residents concern the south branch of the Oak Park Post Office, which covers River Forest and the southern half of Oak Park.

Marquetta Smith, a member of Davis' staff, said in a telephone interview that she did not begin hearing complaints until after the "big freeze" on Jan. 8, when the temperature dropped to as low as minus-17 degrees.

In early January, Oak Park Postmaster Theresa Thurmond said the subzero temperatures kept more than half of Oak Park mail carriers from making it to work. One worker who made it in that day suffered hypothermia and another had frostbite, she said.

The U.S. Postmaster General responded to one resident's complaint last month following the so-called polar vortex, writing in a letter: "Regrettably extreme weather conditions have presented themselves over the past week causing an adverse effect on our staff as well as our overall operations. ... Staff shortages have been experienced at many of our facilities."  

Smith suggested that the decline in service also could be related to budget cuts to the post office at the federal level.

"The congressman will be having this meeting so mayors can understand what is taking place with the service," she said.


Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

47 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

James Howard from Lombard,lIl  

Posted: February 23rd, 2014 11:56 AM

Looks like we are down to one maybe two mail deliveries a week here in Lombard. Complaints to the Post Office go unanswered. I've read the comment that the Lombard facility has 20 employees on sick leave or light duty. If true,that sounds like a morale problem not health.Maybe its time to 'clean house' at the Lombard Post Office.


Posted: February 18th, 2014 12:18 PM

Mail delivery continues to be a nightmare around Ridgeland and Division. We only get mail a few times a week and 2-day Priority Mail packages are at least 3-5 days late. I just wish USPS would be upfront about what is going on. I am going to rely on UPS or FedEx whenever possible now.

To DisGruntled from Lombard  

Posted: February 11th, 2014 5:58 PM

DisGruntled from Lombard, We are at the end of a route in Lombard, and received mail twice in the last 10 days. Problem is, it was junk mail both times. Will our actual mail get delivered eventually, or is it just gone?

Amy Buckley from Springfield  

Posted: February 11th, 2014 6:19 AM

I live in Springfield, VIRGINIA...I mail my mortgage payments to Carol Stream, IL and did so on FEB 1....and it still isn't there...did you all have bad weather or is the post office really this bad....HELP I am freaking out it is a $2700 check!!!!!!


Posted: February 8th, 2014 8:38 AM

Earlier this week I saw my regular mailman out on the street and he told me he had been injured and out for two weeks; and what a difference that made in our deliveries. He's back now our service is restored to the high standard he set for his route. From the posted comments everyone should wish they had our guy. As best that I know he delivers south of Madison and west of Ridgeland.

South Oak Park Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2014 11:37 AM

I called the South Station. I said, "Are you are aware that our block has not received mail for the past two days?" She said she was not aware of that. Huh? Not aware? She assured me we would get our mail today. Call them: 848-6561

South Oak Park Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2014 11:35 AM

No mail on Wednesday or Thursday. In the 40 years that we have lived here, we have always received mail, even during the blizzard of 78/79. This year there were SIX DAYS that we did not receive mail. So far.

DisGruntled from Lombard  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 8:47 PM

In my office we have 20 ppl. Injured or on light duty. We have 9 routes on a daily basis with no carrier assigned. So we switch off on who gets mail today, or tomorrow.I just delivered 3 days worth of mail in a really nice area, froze my butt off. Working min. 12 hrs./day, 6 days a week. No scheduled off day since b4 thannksgiving - so PO is paying huge overtime & we still cant keep up.


Posted: February 6th, 2014 2:13 PM

Joan Phillips: The 'Cut-Backs' in staff, at any post office, are due to attrition ONLY!! Although we cannot hire full-time employees currently, these positions are replaced with CCA's (City Carrier Assistant's). And, Maywood and Oak Park are currently running in excess of 20% overtime. So don't say that there is "an unwillingness to pat overtime"!!!

Joan Phillips from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 1:25 PM

Although our mail has been coming at all different times of the day, at least, it came. My complaint has only been since the truly bad weather set in---now we go for 2-3 days with no mail or delivered to the wrong address. I believe this lousy service is due to the cut-backs in staff plus the stated unwillingness to pay overtime. This is part of a local, state and federal plan to get rid of USPS by making people think this cannot be solved.


Posted: February 6th, 2014 12:37 PM

Anne Jordan-Baker: Phil Crawford is the Postmaster for Oak Park, but is currently on detail as 'Manager, Post Office Operations'. Theresa Thurmond is currently the Postmaster of Cal City, but was on detail as the OIC (Officer in Charge) of Oak Park, filling in for Crawford. She is back in Cal City. Larry Muse is currently the OIC in Oak Park.

OP Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 11:45 AM

I can only remember one good carrier in our area - Mike, who was transferred to another route. The female carrier we have now is extremely rude and unprofessional, and we're lucky if we get our mail or packages at all, much less before 5pm. Even then, most of what we get is for other addresses, not ours, and ours goes to who knows where. We're lucky we haven't been victims of identity theft yet. We've complained about her numerous times, but the post office won't do anything about it.

Anne Jordan-Baker from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 10:31 AM

I am really confused. We have been having such problems with our mail delivery and no luck talking or visiting the post office that I asked to talk with the postmaster. I was told more than once that this was Phil Crawford. I keep reading, though, that the postmaster is Theresa Thurmond. Can anyone tell me the titles of these two people and what their jobs are? I met with Phil Crawford, thinking he was the postmaster!

David Taliaferro from North Little Rock, AR  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 9:59 AM

but I thought the republicans said no one cares about the post office anymore;

Mail Carrier  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 8:57 PM

In our office we are instructed to return all mail that would put the carrier into the double time overtime rate. Our Postmaster calls it the 'cutoff time'. Essentially any hours over 10 hours worked in a day. The problem is our office has about 25% of the routes vacant per day due to injuries, sick, vacation, and refusal to hire enough people. We haven't delivered all our routes in over a month. Ask the USPS if employees on the overtime lists are being sent home in 10 hours or 12?

Norm from Saint Louis  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 7:40 PM

As the USPS continues its poor customer service, more of our customers are starting to finally raise concerns regarding delivery. The USPS must right-size the service due to the era of e-mail and such. However, closing processing centers is not the way to do it. As far as I'm concerned, congress has allowed PMG Donahoe to violate the Constitution by allowing him to close and sell some facilities. And of course, you have folks like Darrel Issa who's sticking his hands in the cookie jar.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 5:39 PM

Uncommon Sense, if the USPS does not come to the realization that they need real reorganization some private company will come along, give you short term service, and change the price of everything mailed because they are in it for the profit. Technology has nothing to do with the benefit of the individual. There was a time when broadcast tv was analog. It went to digital not to give you better service, but to get more channels for more profit. In turn, the end user gets artifacting.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 5:37 PM

Q, if you need something important delivered like notarized documents, you have the option of paying for Priority (which I find very effective by the way) or FedEx/UPS. This is where the market is, not daily first class mail delivery. Technology has made it obsolete. First class mail is essentially delivering junk mail for big business at this point. There is no reason for daily mail delivery anymore. NONE. yes, it had a purpose, but technology has changed the landscape.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 5:33 PM

Cont... Uncommon Sense, there is no real value to any social media outlet. Social media is created to give people something to do on their smart phones. Smart phones is like anything in the virtual World. It is not exactly the same as real, but we still live in the real World, and that can be attested by anyone who has stepped in front of a moving vehicle lost in their virtual World on their smart phone. Give yourself some time with virtual reality to like BB King sings, the trill is gone.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 5:28 PM

Uncommon Sense, I understand what you are saying, but I disagree that anything of importance is done on line. The internet is not a secure method of delivery. It can be tapped into, just like personal information. The mail is the most secure way to deliver important information. Email is much like bitcoins. There is no real value, and the old saying of you get what you pay for is as valuable today as it ever was. Facebook does not replace real advertising. Cont...

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 5:14 PM

Q, the problem is the business model is completely obsolete. Daily mail delivery simply isn't as important as it used to because anything of importance is done online. Premium delivery is where the money is, not trying to delivery junk mail and birthday cards daily out in bumblestank suburbs or remote areas of the country for 44 cents. You sound like someone trying to make a business case for pay phones on every corner because there might be one or two people without a cell phone.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 5:01 PM

Cont.... Penny's and Macy's has been in business for many years. If Penny's doesn't change, they will be out of business. That is what is happening to USPS, but they don't need to find more shoppers, then need to provide delivery. That requires going back to the basics of mail service and what it takes to move mail from one point to another. There is nothing wrong with the business plan, it's just not being reorganized correctly.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 4:57 PM

Uncommon Sense, Fedex and UPS couldn't handle delivery over the Holiday's. Financial institutions use the USPS. The problem with the USPS is just like many other businesses. They keep management and reduce people who actually make the company work when it is management not knowing what to do. I will let you in on something. Macy's strategy to pick up sales has been to sell merchandise that Penny's sells. They want Penny's shoppers to shop at Macy's. Cont....

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 4:25 PM

Q, Like most people in the modern world with real financial transactions, I won't be using first class mail but priority or FedEx/UPS where I pay a premium to ensure it delivered on time. The vast majority of daily mail delivery is junk. If people want to get mail daily, they should have to go to post office and pick it up or get it delivered twice a week. Otherwise, if it is really important, pay the cost to have it delivered when you want. Supporting this dying model is ridiculous.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 4:21 PM

Uncommon Sense, if you have or will have any real financial transactions, it will be done in person, or through the USPS, using real paper, and correspondence will be done through real mail.

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 3:48 PM

The Post Office stopped delivering coupons and junk mail to our building years ago. Wonder how the companies that pay for delivery feel about that.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 3:42 PM

Oak Park must be getting really old with all these people who are clammering to get their daily junk mail and coupons.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 3:21 PM

Mcmurphy, if there is enough mail that delivery is required 6 day's, then you deliver it 6 day's a week. A real reorganization is required, and it doesn't matter how many politicians tell you what they are doing. Basics of good management is the same for all businesses. If management does not understand how mail moves from one end to the other, then real reorganziation will never take place.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 3:08 PM

A meeting of towns representatives is a waste of time, and anyone who can't attend during the day will only miss the opportunity to complain. Danny Davis will explain the problems the postal service is doing to try and meet the challenges they are experiencing. Danny Davis can send an email to all towns and explain what they are doing. The towns leader send an email to the local towns newspaper. The newspaper prints a paper and posts the story online. Now everyone knows the story.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 3:04 PM

Here is an example how the USPS lost money from email. 30 years ago the USPS would have delivered the message and it would have been on time. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th) said in an email to constituents that his office "has been receiving a higher than usual volume of complaints relative to mail delivery, especially during the last month or so."

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 3:02 PM

The reason why the Post Office is not as efficient as they once were is email. That caused enough of a loss of income that the need to reorganize took place. The reorganizing was done without giving any consideration from end to end. In a rush to reorganize, essential areas to keep mail moving was left up to the mail carriers. The general work force in America, has changed from 40 hours a week, to 50 hours a week with a 40 hour pay check. USPS employees that you have contact with can't fix it.


Posted: February 5th, 2014 2:43 PM

Cutting delivery from 6 to 5 days a week and reducing the service standards would really solve this problem!

OP Transplant  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 2:37 PM

At our house, we laugh about "package day". They're obviously allowed to build up to a critical mass, then all delivered at once. It's like Christmas!


Posted: February 5th, 2014 2:00 PM

What you good people of Maywood/Westchester must be aware of, is that one of your fellow neighbors, Sherman Jones (Mayor of Broadview), until recently was the Postmaster of Maywood, WHILE he was performing his mayoral duties in Broadview. He could care less what happened at the Maywood Post Office. So, many of the problems that you are experiencing, stem from the way Jones and his staff operated.

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 1:58 PM

Those of you blaming consolidation of sorting facilities are missing the point. Tracking shows when packages are delivered to the Oak Park main Post Office by FedEx -- where they sit. Or maybe in a carrier's garage. A package tracked to the PO Nov. 30 arrived the week of Jan. 20. Two packages last summer were delivered several weeks after they arrived at the PO. Just yesterday mail for several addresses was all delivered to my neighbor, as happens many times. An overnight letter took 10 days

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 1:50 PM

I'm one of the residents who wrote to Congressman Davis, and I'm sorry the meeting is not in the evening when more people can attend. My neighbors and I have been having these delivery issues for well over five years, and definitely not just in winter. That's a good excuse on the part of the Post Office. After my latest complaint about a missing package this week, a supervisor said they will no longer deliver packages to our building -- which they never do anyway.

obie greenway from miami  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 1:05 PM

Remember Hank....The USPS delivers UPS priority mail, since the post office goes to every home. In return, the UPS flies the USPS mail.

Hank Marquardt from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 1:03 PM

I'm reminded of why I love these forums so much :) I didn't say it wasn't useful, nor that it should be abolished, but it should scale to reflect it's usefulness and ability to perform. As for Fedex and UPS, they do indeed utilize USPS for their discount services, but the figures I can quickly google do not suggest "most" ... I find about 35% ... I am saying if I have something important to send I use a service with tracking defined delivery, not 'it gets there when it gets there'. Which is essentially what first class mail is. I'm perfectly fine agreeing to disagree though.

Libertarian Bullsh*t  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 11:40 AM

That's right Hank, use PRIVATE ENTERPRISE. GOVERNMENT IS BAD, you do realize that UPS and FedEx use USPS for most of their final delivery places. USPS is established to provide a useful service to ALL people in this country, NOT to turn a profit. It's blowhards like you that really show why this country is going to crap...

obie greenway from miami  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 11:37 AM

Its a nationwide problem. Were I work, (PF) Plan Failure is our middle name.

Couldn't agree with you more Hank!  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 11:15 AM


Hank Marquardt from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 11:00 AM

Yep. I'm one of those that only gets mail 2-3x a week since the holidays ... Rather than complain though, I'd simply like them to acknowledge and adapt. Slash their budget, slash their staff, make delivery 2x a week all the time. If it's important I use UPS and FedEx for physical deliver and email/online bill pay has removed all the casual and mundane. USPS is an anarchism that is failing or has already failed depending on your perspective.

Right On  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 10:59 AM

I work at the Palatine Facility where this mail is processed. They have so much mail volume because of the recent consolidations of other facilities. There aren't enough machines and man power to handle the volume. The management team is not qualified to make decisions to correct this problem. Employees are allowed to sleep on the machines, take 45 minute breaks and basically work at there own pace. The amount of overtime that is being used is ridiculous. But the postal service will give you a s

I am  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 10:49 AM

The mail is canceled in Carol Stream and then trucked to Palatine for Processing. Last year the Postal Service closed the Rockford facility thinking they could handle all of their mail volume. But they were wrong. Your mail is being delayed because the facilities cannot handle this huge volume of mail. Overtime has almost double just trying to maintain service. Buy if you ask any USPS Manager they will say, "We have a few hiccups and we are working them out". They have no clue how to solve this.

Upset Customer from Forest Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 10:03 AM

Slight correction (addition) the SOPO also covers Forest Park. And much like our counterparts in Oak Park, we have also been the recipients of shoddy delivery.

patriot from Denver  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 9:12 AM

When Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe came up with the "brilliant" plan to consolidate mail-processing centers across the United States this is the result. He has constantly lied to the American public about low mail volumes and "overstaffing" of employees. He didn't anticipate or possibly doesn't care about maintaining service to the American people.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 4th, 2014 11:49 PM

The timing of this meeting being in the middle of the day will not allow many residents to attend due to work.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Latest Comments