BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Staff at a Bedford-Stuyvesant post office infamous among locals for its lousy service and rude staff have been caught munching on chicken during their shifts and regularly deliver mail to the wrong address, locals complained at a recent community meeting.
The Shirley A. Chisholm Station, at 1915 Fulton St., was one of the main topics of conversation at a Community Board 3 meeting this week. The board invited the US Postal Service reps in response to growing discontent within the community, due to what residents deemed generally poor customer service on the part of the USPS in the neighborhood.
Complaints from neighbors and board members at the meeting, held at Restoration Plaza in Bed-Stuy Monday, included missed packages, long lines and rude customer service. One board member complained that on a recent visit, postal workers were sitting around eating chicken in plain sight rather than helping customers.
Even CB3 Chairman Henry Butler, who spent most of the meeting moderating questions from the audience, chimed in with his own complaints about the station.
"Normally I don't participate," Butler said. "[But] the customer service there is horrible."
When pressed about the state of the Shirley A. Chisholm Station, new Bedford-Stuyvesant Area Manager James Irizarry said changes were coming to the beleaguered post office.
"I'm not satisfied with what's going on in that post office," Irizarry said. "I'm sure that in the next couple of weeks, you'll see some changes."
Irizarry and Brooklyn Postmaster Edward Roggenkamp laid out their plans to improve the station, including evaluating the current staff, hiring new staff and providing additional resources.
But finding the right people for the job is not always an easy task, Roggenkamp noted.
"You're out there in the cold, you're out there in the rain," he said. "We do have a high turnover rate."
Other complaints from those in attendance included the lack of stamp machines in the neighborhood, mail carriers talking on their cell phones and incorrectly sorted mail. One person in the audience of about 100 people said that in the three-family brownstone she lived in, all of the mail was jammed into one person's mailbox every day.
Another woman, who lives on Hancock Street, complained that she was constantly getting other people's mail. She said she would send the mail back with a note saying it was delivered to the wrong address.
"One of them was redelivered to my house," the woman said. "The corollary to that is, where is my mail going?"
Postal Service representatives listened for more than an hour as people laid out complaints about service, offering advice and promising solutions to the problems.
Many of the issues affecting Bedford-Stuyvesant were also impacting other areas across the city and the country, due to general funding problems for the agency, the postmaster said.
"It's a result of the economy, and the loss of mail volume," Roggenkamp said. "Loss of mail volume is double digit since 2006, and it's expected to continue to decline until 2020."
At least one board member was skeptical of the claim.
"Are you saying the problem here is the exact same intensity in every neighborhood and community in the city?" the man asked.
"They all have the same issues as far as hiring," Roggenkamp responded. "To be a letter carrier is not an easy job."