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Lawmakers Grill Baltimore's Postmaster Over Mail Delays

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Baltimore's postmaster testified Monday to a House Subcommittee on Government Operations he now has the staffing in place to ensure on-time mail delivery.

The field hearing at the University of Baltimore was called following audits showing significant mail delays at several Baltimore area post offices.

"While this performance is embarrassing. It is preventable," USPS mail processing clerk Rictarsha Westmoreland said.A November audit highlighted significant mail delivery delays at nine Baltimore-area post office branches."For Baltimore to be number one, the worst postal delivery in the country. That's wrong. We can't allow it," Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger said Monday. "When you're the worst in the country—the country—you've got a lot of constituents who are really upset."

Rep. David Trone (D-MD) noted during the hearing that his district consists of people who live in rural parts of Western Maryland and have no broadband or pharmacies, which means some of them still pay bills by mail and get their medication filled by mail.

"The timely delivery of the mail is critical to the lives and livelihoods of countless Americans," Trone said. "We can't afford any further delay of these services. We owe it to the American people to get this right."Baltimore's Acting Executive Postmaster Eric Gilbert testified Monday the agency hired 267 employees between October and December last year to help with the holiday delivery volume. He told lawmakers he has adequate staffing and resources to deliver more mail on time.In an exchange with Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Gilbert could not "guarantee" there will be a significant positive change in mail delivery issues."My daily focus is that. To ensure we get better and we get it right moving the mail to the customers and communities we serve," Gilbert said."But, you can't guarantee it?" Mfume interrupted. "Not at this time," Gilbert said."There's also the problem of missing mail, time-sensitive documents, like contracts, bills, personal correspondence that's simply never delivered at all," Rep. Jamie Raskin said.Mfume praised letter carriers for their hard work during the pandemic, placing blame instead on USPS leadership."It got there late, but that was not their fault," Rep. Mfume said.The hearing was yet another forum where several of Maryland's Congressional delegation called for the ouster of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy."The auditor's done a good job of showing us our way out of this, but there's no leadership on this," Mfume said.

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