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‘Officer-in-Charge’ sent to solve mail problems at Center Post Office

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Center Post Office.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Center Post Office.

Another effort has been made to solve problems of missed mail, long lines and poor service at the Center Post Office.

After receiving complaints from his Island constituents about the situation, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) brought the concerns to the United States Postal Service, according to Mr. Zeldin’s communications director, Jennifer DiSiena.

In a letter to Mr. Zeldin from Frank Calabrese, USPS district manager for Long Island, Mr. Calabrese wrote that “the current two associates [at the Center Post Office] were … coached on their job expectations and on the correct way to interact with customers.”

An “officer-in-charge,” Joseph Federico, was sent to the Center on March 1 to oversee operations until Postmaster Mary Payne returns from medical leave.

Mr. Federico told the Reporter last week that he was, in effect, “acting postmaster.” One of the problems he’s discovered at the Center Post Office is “clutter” and that “I’ll have service back the way it should be.”

Problems at the post office have been ongoing for years. This is the second time the Island’s representative in Congress has intervened. Three years ago, then Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) organized a meeting at Town Hall of residents, public officials and a USPS official.

Serious problems were aired, including complaints that bills arriving late had affected peoples’ credit scores. Some residents paying taxes on time had been assessed late fees because envelopes containing their checks lacked a postmark date that proved the check was in on time.

Some long-time residents found their names missing from the voter rolls when they went to cast ballots in a January 2013 special election because postcards sent to them from the Suffolk County Board of Elections were not delivered and returned to the county.

Problems persisted, becoming more apparent leading up to Christmas last year and then continuing into the first three months of the new year.

Officer-in-Charge Federico said he was not on any timetable, but would be on the job “until they tell me I’m not here anymore.”