NBC12: New report highlights mail failures in Richmond mail processing center

NBC12, SHANTEL DAVIS

Outrage from residents sparked an internal investigation at the New Regional Processing and Distribution Center in Richmond.

The facility was implemented as part of the 10-year strategic Delivering for America initiated by the United States Postal Service.

The Office of the Inspector General completed the self-audit and found several major challenges, which affected the American Plan’s delivery and delayed the mail.

One of those challenges is the ability to retain leadership.

The report said the center’s turnover rate was higher than the national average. Three different plant managers were employed within the first four months of its opening.

Auditors also noted inadequate supervision, saying they witnessed a mail handler sleeping on a parked forklift and mail clutter and congestion in many areas of the workroom floor.

Reports noted water-damaged mail from July was found four months late in a truck yard, and mail in boxes labeled empty equipment was also found.

The author of the report had multiple recommendations for this finding.

They include better training with management on engaging and leading team members and providing adequate supervision of operations and training at future sites.

Auditors also found the postal service did not adequately plan and establish new transportation routes to support operations and did not account for all local needs, such as mailer and commercial package pick-ups.

This report comes a little over a week after lawmakers visited the Sandston Center, many now weighing in.

Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan released this statement:

“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,” said Congresswoman McClellan“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.”

Other Virginia lawmakers include U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, U.S. Representatives Jennifer McClellan, Bobby Scott, Rob Wittman, Abigail Spanberger, Bob Good, and Jen Kiggans responded in a joint statement:

“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.”

Management from the facility also released a statement addressing each finding:

Regarding recommendation 3, management stated that proper training on how to engage and lead team members and provide adequate supervision of operations is a critical element of success, and that has been part of the objective from day one. Furthermore, lessons learned from Richmond enable them to continually improve this process and results through cross-functional engagement. The target implementation date is July 31, 2024.

You can find the full report here.

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