Lawmakers Tour Distribution Center for First Time to Tackle Mail Issues Head-On

For the inaugural occasion, U.S. Representatives delved into detailed metrics and graphs to elucidate the reasons behind delayed or undelivered mail experienced by residents in the metro Richmond area.

“Getting that level of specificity, that granularity of what happened, when it happened and how it happened was the first time, we got that and then seeing to actually be able to see in person walking across the floor, to see how big the place is, how big the operations are to understanding the magnitude of what they face really kind of put it into perspective,” U.S. Representative Rob Wittman said.

One of the main reasons is in 2023, the USPS Richmond Distribution Center underwent an upgrade.

“Doing that modernization, I think they recognized that doing everything all at once caused some challenges,” McClellan said.

Wittman informed 12 On Your Side that at the onset of the tour, they were informed about the malfunctioning of the newly upgraded automated equipment. Additionally, in December, the primary company responsible for supplying the actual mail trucks declared bankruptcy.

“So, they had to scramble quickly and come up with their own organic capability, their own employees to drive trucks, to lease trucks, that created a big issue,” said Rep. Wittman.

Months ago, legislators penned a letter to the Richmond district manager, voicing their aspirations for reform. While advancements have indeed been achieved at the distribution center, both McClellan and Wittman emphasize that significant strides remain necessary. They underscore the ongoing journey towards improvement and assert their unwavering commitment to take decisive action should the trajectory falter.

“If we don’t start getting answers and seeing progress, then we’re going to look at what oversight steps we need to take,” Congresswoman McClellan said.

An audit report from the USPS Inspector General is expected to be presented ‘any day now.’ It will show any additional issues that need to be addressed.

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