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Congressman Bobby Rush Calls On Chicago Postmaster General To Resign Following Investigation Revealing Tens Of Thousands Of Pieces Of Delayed, Undelivered Mail

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Anyone who got mail in Chicago Thursday should feel lucky. The United State Postal Service said all downtown routes felt the effects of weather and the pandemic.

But the failures inside Chicago's postal hub go back months.

Now a political powerhouse is calling for the Postmaster General in Chicago to step down.

CBS 2's Chris Tye broke the news of an internal investigation into Chicago's mail on Monday. CBS 2 brought the sluggish mail problem to the attention of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) this past summer. He called for a postal investigation into four mismanaged branches on the South Side. It says employees who fail to report to work should be fired.

Rush says thats not nearly enough, saying firings need to happen all the way up the local USPS food chain.

"Postmaster Prater, resign immediately," Rush said.

Wanda Prater is Chicago's Postmaster. Her department is getting stamped with scathing reviews.

"We don't deserve the type of treatment we are getting in Chicago," said 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell.

This summer's investigation into these four South Side branches came back with a failing report card with over 62,000 pieces of delayed mail, over 18,000 "non deliveries," and 53 delivery vehicles found unlocked. The Inspector General report came loaded with pictures of those unlocked trucks and cart after cart of non-delivered mail.

What it did not include was a call for changes in management, despite finding "management at all four stations did not accurately report delayed mail."

"It's time for a change," Dowell said. "It's not the Pony Express days anymore."

But days like today still feel like it to some.

"We've reached almost two weeks with no mail," said Romona Schwartz Johnston.

She tried getting in touch with her Logan Square branch just Thursday morning.

"The phone rang four to five times then was picked up and hung up," she said. "I just did that for a half hour to see what would happen."

Her kids' Valentine's Day home crafts were ordered three weeks ago. The post office told her they are sitting in a truck somewhere.

With some waiting on medicine and paychecks, she knows others are worse off. What she doesn't know is whether firing the local boss will solve the problem.

"I don't know if a change in leadership is the right way to go, or if it really is about a change in leadership and also process," she said.

CBS 2 asked to speak with the Postmaster Thursday or if she had any comment. The USPS spokesperson declined, saying they are working on implementing the recommendations in the report that call on them to follow daily checklists and prioritizing delivery metrics.

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