U. S. Postal Service promises answer to Island mail problems

COURTESY PHOTO | Not just a day late and a dollar short but more than a year late, this letter mailed in Danbury, Connecticut and postmarked March 14, 2012, reached its intended recipient, Councilman Peter Reich, only this week. Where has it been? Nobody knows.

A month after United States Postal Service Manager Randy Sauber listened to Shelter Islanders complain about their mail delivery service, there’s finally been a response from the USPS.

Sort of.

Congressman Tim Bishop’s aide, Oliver Longwell, emailed the Reporter Tuesday afternoon to say he’d been in touch with the USPS and some word would be forthcoming.

Mr. Longwell set up an April 10 meeting on Shelter Island. Unable to get a response from Mr. Sauber about progress, he has reached out to Pitney Bowes, Experian, Trillium, Informatica and other companies that provide third-party address validation for financial transactions and non-USPS shipping services. This is to get a handle on how they build their databases and if the issue with the two Island ZIP codes can be resolved directly with them.

Among the problems is that ZIP codes don’t necessarily have to match residents’ street addresses and self-correcting data bases have frequently changed ZIPs codes resulting in mail not reaching intended recipients.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sauber has not responded to inquiries whether he has received any answers to the many questions posed at the April 10 meeting. Islanders might have expected him to arrive in April with a few suggestions to solve their difficulties in getting mail from such governmental agencies as the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the Internal Revenue Service, the Board of Elections, Social Security and Medicare.

Councilman Peter Reich tops the list this week of those done wrong by the United States Postal Service. Keys sent to him from Danbury, Connecticut to access a relative’s house on the Island postmarked March 14, 2012, more than a year ago, just reached him this week. The sender had listed Mr. Reich’s street address, not his post office box, but he’s certainly well known on the Island and someone should have been able to identify that the envelope belonged to him. Where those keys have been for more than a year is as much mystery to Mr. Reich as anyone else.