Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has teamed up with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in a letter sent to the U.S. comptroller general, asking for an audit into the protocols of the United States Postal Service and whether or not its performance data is accurate.
McCaskill's letter says they are aware of "potentially concerning practices on the part of USPS employees," and are therefore concerned that reported performance data doesn't "reflect postal customers' actual mail experience," based on continued complaints from constituents.
41 Action News spoke with McCaskill over the phone Tuesday afternoon. The senator said she wants to take any steps that will improve mail service after hearing more about wide spread issues.
"People in Missouri keep telling me the mail is a mess,” she said. “So I think it's time for the auditors to look over the shoulder of the postal service and actually find out whether or not they are fixing the data to make the story look better than it really is."
McCaskill also noted known issues with USPS, such as mail being scanned ‘as delivered’ days before actually being delivered, and said USPS provided data hasn’t matched reports from customers. She said she wants to “know the facts,” and that passing postal reform is also something to tackle.
"We need to pass postal reform in Congress that will relieve some of the monetary burdens they have right now,” she said.
41 Action News also spoke with Kathy Benson, a frustrated USPS customer in the Northland. She said she moved to the Highlands of Northview neighborhood roughly one year ago and has had problems with the post office on Barry Road (just one mile away) ever since.
"It's always my husband’s medicine,” she said. "They could come three to five days later. We've had some never show up … and it's not in my mailbox, which is a locked mailbox, it's thrown on my front porch."
Benson said she’s complained several times to no avail. The problems keep occurring.
"We still haven't gotten answers,” she said. "Everybody wonders why the postal service has lost business -- because we're not getting our mail. We're not getting the things we need or that we've paid for."
Roughly a dozen complaints came into 41 Action News in December from another Northland neighborhood dealing with the same post office. Once again, 41 Action News reached out to USPS. They sent the following statement:
“We appreciate Senators Heitkamp's and McCaskill's continued interest in postal operations.
The Postal Service takes mishandling of mail and the services we provide our valued customers very seriously and we work hard to eliminate such mistakes when brought to our attention. We take pride in the duties entrusted in our letter carriers and the quality of customer service provided by the Postal Service.
We always want to hear directly from our customers immediately when they have a delivery concern, and urge them to call the U.S. Postal Service's Customer Care line at 1 800-ASK-USPS or contact their local Post Office as soon as possible so that the issue can be looked into and addressed promptly.”
McCaskill said she hopes to have results from the audit in a matter of months not years, and also hopes a postal reform bill passes through both chambers of Congress later this year.
McCaskill’s letter to the comptroller general of the United States can be read in its entirety here: