John Snyder runs a small engineering firm in Carlisle. He has not received mail in more than two weeks. That makes it a little tough, he said, to pay bills and accounts receivable.
“I’m a small business owner,” said Snyder, who owns SLD Planning & Consulting in Carlisle. “I rely on the postal service for my income and to deliver my bills. I can’t wait every three weeks to get a week’s worth of mail.”
Snyder this week, in fact, finally got some mail, but it was mail from September. Eight of the pieces of correspondence were bills and four of those were overdue.
“Whatever is happening they have to rectify it,” he said. “They are going to kill businesses.”
Snyder’s experience is part and parcel of the protracted widespread lag and delays in mail service across the region – and, indeed, the country.
Amid supply-chain issues threatening to disrupt the holiday shopping season, the U.S. Postal Service continues to report delays across the country, largely the result of policies implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Things are poised to get worse.
The United States Postal Service two weeks ago rolled out policy changes in a cost-cutting effort. The service started slowing mail delivery, a move to span over the next 10 years. Delivery of first-class mail – things like letters, small packages and bills – is in line to slow down significantly in months to come.
Starting on October 1, the postal service’s three-day delivery standard for first-class mail — letters, bills, tax documents — dropped to a five-day delivery. That means letters and other mail could take up to five days to reach their destinations.
Snyder worries not only about his small company, but other firms in the region, as well people who rely on mail delivery to receive benefits checks, etc.
“I talked to other firms in my building and they are running into the same thing,” Snyder said. “They are not getting mail either. This is crazy.”
Snyder said he spoke to his mail carrier and learned that the post office is down to four carriers – all of whom cover 24 mail routes.
Paul Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said that assessment is not totally correct. The Carlisle post office is down staff, and is, in fact, looking to hire, but it’s not down significantly.
“The information regarding the carrier’s comment is not accurate but there are currently staffing issues and we apologize for any inconvenience while we look to fill positions as soon as possible,” Smith said in an email to PennLive.
He noted that the Postal Service has aggressively been conducting hiring fairs throughout the area.
Snyder recently filed a formal complaint and was promised a response within three days, but that has yet to come.
With the holidays just around the bend, and no end in sight for the mail delays nor the backlog of supply chains, deliveries are expected to continue to be disrupted this holiday season.
“Things were bad before the election,” Snyder said. “We didn’t get mail for days, but it wasn’t weeks on end.”
Postal service analysts warn that the new policy will likely be “disastrous,” for some people, particularly the elderly and people who rely on the postal service for their financial security.
“It’s the least fortunate who will be hurt hardest by this,” Paul Steidler, an expert on the postal service and supply chains at the Lexington Institute, told CBS. “Everything in American society is getting faster, it seems, except for the mail delivery — which is now going to get slower.”
USPS is hosting a series of job fairs throughout central Pennsylvania: The service is looking for people to fill openings for city carrier assistants, rural carrier associates, mail handler assistants, postal support employees, assistant rural carrier, mail processing clerks, and mail handler assistants.