Buena Vista pushes for Postal Service mail reform in town - CBS Colorado

2022-07-29 23:58:37 By : Ms. Michelle Zhu

The main complaints are delayed or lost mail and packages, and what protestors are calling steep prices for mandatory P.O. Boxes, if people want mail delivered. The proposed solutions: start delivering mail to people's homes, or provide free P.O. Boxes to residents. 

Chuck Dorsey who lives in Buena Vista stood on a street corner Friday afternoon, hoping to inspire more folks to get involved in the solution. 

"I didn't get my mail for two months!" Dorsey said. "It was forwarded back from Tuson for two months and I stood in line twelve times and asked them, they lied to me and said it would be all right and it wasn't! For two months, and I live here!"

Dorsey's complaints are echoed by the crowd of folks who came together outside the post office, trying to get their voices heard. 

"It's an older community," co-protest organizer Grace Garret said, referencing who's getting mail, and paying the price for a P.O. Box. "We have a lot of people here on fixed income and we have younger people dealing with affordable housing and pay rates and reliable jobs... it's not fair."

One of Garret's main complaints was with a reported survey by USPS that claimed the majority of Buena Vista wanted to pay for P.O. Boxes instead of getting at home delivory. 

 "We submitted a FOYA request and they could find 0 evidence that the survey existed," Garret said. "Now they are saying 'Ok we give, fine, we can't find anything, let's start over'...that was last October."

Mountain Newsroom Reporter Spencer Wilson reached out to a spokesperson with the USPS for an interview Friday but was denied. Instead, USPS sent this email response (shown in full is below.) 

I will not be available for an interview today.

Currently in Buena Vista we've been short as much as ½ of our staff and our current employees are doing all they can to serve their customers. We know we have not met service expectations of the community and are working hard to restore the respect of the public. For many months, we have been aggressively seeking both clerks and carriers to stabilize our workforce. These challenges are not unique to our mountain and resort communities like Buena Vista. The advent of the pandemic, the increase of consumer use of ordering necessities online and the national employment challenges have exacerbated this for many communities.

Buena Vista was established as a town in 1879 and we've been there since the very beginning. The people within the town limits traditionally have received their mail at the Post Office Box. In fact, the majority of Colorado's towns do not have city delivery and the Post Office Box or General Delivery is how mail is received.  To illustrate that fact, in the 80 mile radius from Buena Vista there are only four other towns that have either city or rural delivery: Vail, Aspen, Leadville and Salida.

We're currently evaluating various criteria for Buena Vista Post Office Box holders that take into account local laws, physical barriers, access to rural delivery etc. and reviewing who is eligible for no fee Post Office Boxes. We are very close to a resolution.

I would appreciate if you would mention our ongoing hiring needs. We are actively hiring throughout Colorado to include our mountain communities. . We have numerous positions available in almost all of Colorado and we encourage all interested applicants to visit USPS.com/careers. These are great jobs that can quickly lead to career opportunities with full benefits, including paid annual and sick leave, holiday pay, health care, retirement, and other benefits.

 (To apply: Go to usps.com/careers, click on "Search Jobs," select "Colorado," click "Start," then click on the link for the appropriate job. A general overview of USPS employment requirements, specific job requirements, and hourly pay is available at the website. Other positions are also available including mail handler assistant, mail processing clerk, and more. Job postings are updated weekly, so check frequently for additional opportunities.)

But in those areas where we aren't fully staffed, we will continue flexing our available resources, maximizing our local personnel and augmenting from the surrounding region to help with the workload. We are proud of the efforts of postal employees in Colorado and the nation, as they define essential public service every day."

Spencer Wilson is CBS4's mountain newsroom reporter, stationed in the beautiful town of Frisco. That's just a patience-testing drive up I-70 from his hometown of Littleton, Colorado, where he went to Runyon Elementary, Euclid Middle School, and Heritage High.

First published on July 29, 2022 / 4:22 PM

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