Tag Archives: Mail

Queens Village mailman busted for dumping letters in trash

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Property Shark/Christopher Bride

A postal carrier based in Queens Village dumped more than 2,000 pieces of mail in the garbage while on the job, federal agents charged in a criminal complaint filed last week.

Prosecutors said Norberto Cintron, 30, allegedly trashed hundreds of items over a five-month period dating back to January of this year. He is assigned to the Queens Village post office located at 209-20 Jamaica Ave.

Cintron admitted to postal investigators that he dumped mail once or twice a week during the period, according to the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York.

The U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General was tipped off to problems regarding Cintron on April 28, when the acting manager of the Queens Village post office reported finding undelivered mail stored inside collection boxes on Hillside Avenue.

Later, an anonymous tipster reported to investigators observing a certain USPS vehicle — which they determined Cintron operated — was not delivering all of the mail.

Postal agents recovered undelivered mail from Cintron on May 1, which he allegedly claimed to have dumped two days earlier, according to the criminal complaint.

Cintron was charged on May 15 with delay or destruction of mail and was released following arraignment on $10,000 bail.


Glendale denied their own ZIP code, granted “preferred last line”

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Denied its own ZIP code, the post office granted Glendale a distinction to help separate itself from neighboring Ridgewood.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) moved Glendale to a “preferred last line,” which will allow Glendale residents to be recognized as such.

“Every time we order something it comes up Ridgewood or Flushing, but we’re Glendale,” said Assemblymember Mike Miller, who along with Congressmember Bob Turner petitioned the USPS for a ZIP code change.

A “preferred last line” will allow the post office and web sites to recognize addresses within the limits of the neighborhood as Glendale instead of automatically changing it to Ridgewood.

“This is the first time we have not been ignored,” said Turner, who called the issue an “irksome problem that has existed for a very long time.”

Since 1979, Glendale has shared the 11385 ZIP code with Ridgewood.

Miller said he has received stacks of letters complaining about Glendale being without ZIP code, but this is a big first step.

“We’ve been trying for years to get this done and nobody would make a change,” Miller said. “In this case we actually got movement. You get movement that’s the first step.”

Currently, officials are determining the boundaries of Glendale so every address will be recognized as such by the post office.

The preferred last line is just a start, officials said.

“We need a unique ZIP code,” said Bob Kozlowski, vice president of the Glendale Property Owners Association.

Miller and Turner said that they will soon reapply for a Glendale ZIP code. They said 11384 is available and would allow the USPS to easily remedy the situation with the change of a single digit.


College Point mail center to close

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


The United States Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) delivered its final notice to a Queens mail processing center.

Finalizing the U.S.P.S.’s decision to close the College Point Processing and Distribution Center, Triboro district manager Frank J. Calabrese sent a letter to Robert Yaccarino, president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Flushing Local #2286, informing him there would be consolidations among facilities throughout the area, including the College Point location.

“It is projected that these consolidations will result in significant savings for the Postal Service,” wrote Calabrese in the letter. “Some affected career employees may be reassigned to other vacant positions. Reassignments will be made in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement.”

The facility, located on 20th Avenue in College Point, currently has over 1,000 workers.

“Rather than take advantage of the time that has been bought for U.S.P.S. by Congress in a recent moratorium on post office closures, the U.S. Postal Service has decided to finalize their plans to shut down this facility,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “This is like governmental ‘Jeopardy’ – the U.S. Postal Service has the answers before we’ve asked the questions.”

Stavisky recently filed an appeal with the Postmaster General regarding the U.S.P.S.’s rejection of her request for records concerning the center’s impending closure. According to Stavisky’s office, the request, submitted in December, 2011, fell under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It was consequently denied.

“They have refused my and my community’s requests for more information and more time to study the closure before executing it,” said Stavisky. “This will be devastating to our neighborhood, and many of my constituents’ livelihoods will be in peril. We deserve better, but U.S. Postal Service seems to make bad decisions first, and ask questions later.”

According to Stavisky’s office, the documents requested by the senator detail a feasibility study conducted by the U.S.P.S. to determine the impact that shutting down the institution would have on service in a particular area. The U.S.P.S. cited FOIA’s “Exemption Five” as reason to withhold records, stating that they refused to release the data because, at the time, a final decision had not yet been made in regards to the facility’s potential finality.

The College Point processing center’s closure is part of nationwide consolidation program currently occurring throughout U.S.P.S. branches.

In December, a spokesperson from the U.S.P.S. told The Courier that they needed to reduce their costs by $20 billion by 2015, in order to return to financial profitability.

According to a representative from Stavisky’s office, the center will officially cease operations on May 14.

No garbage/recycling collection on January 2

| brennison@queenscourier.com

In observance of New Year’s Day, garbage and recycling collection will be suspended on Monday, January 2.

Alternate side parking rules, street cleaning and mail delivery will also be suspended.

Residents who normally receive Monday garbage collection can place their trash out on Monday after 4 p.m. for pickup.  Those who receive Monday recycling collection will not have their recycling picked up until Tuesday, January 3.

For questions about Sanitation services and holiday schedules, contact 3-1-1 or visit the DSNY website at www.nyc.gov/sanitation.

[Update] Queens postal center to remain open – for now

| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Steve Mosco

Elected officials joined union representatives and several community leaders to deliver a clear message to the United States Postal Service (USPS) — don’t even think about closing Queens’ distribution center.

And for now, it seems the USPS got the message.

Just days after State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Congressmember Joseph Crowley led a rally to protest the impending closure of the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in Whitestone, the Postal Service acquiesced and struck a deal to freeze all postal closures until May 2012.

“This is good news for Queens, and for the country. Hundreds of families in Queens can breathe a sigh of relief, but only temporarily,” said Stavisky. “We will continue to fight for a better alternative. Revamping the Postal Service should not require laying people off and hurting local businesses.”

In a plan that Stavisky called the “wrong decision at the wrong time,” the Postal Service announced earlier this month that it would “consolidate” Queens’ distribution center with another in Brooklyn. Stavisky said that this action would force residents and businesses who patronize the facility to travel to Brooklyn’s processing center — over 13 miles and hours of traffic away.

Officials also said that closing the facility will cost Queens over 1,000 jobs in mail handling, mail carrying, clerk jobs, maintenance workers and drivers. Local businesses would also feel the pinch, as many generate business from their proximity to the plant.

“The USPS plan is flawed. Their study has been rushed and is deceiving,” Stavisky said. “We can’t afford to be hemorrhaging jobs in this economy. We need time to find alternative measures that would not be as catastrophic for Queens.”

Crowley added that taking away jobs is not the kind of Christmas present the borough was expecting, so this reprieve is a welcomed – if temporary – holiday gift.

“The simple fact is we need more jobs in Queens, not less,” said Crowley.

The American Postal Workers Union, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and several civic associations were also on hand at the December 9 rally. With the announcemnt of the closure freeze, it seems the USPS heard the calls for more public comment time.

According to those in attendance at the rally, the USPS has yet to release the contents of its feasibility study — which the Service used to determine the need for closure. But Stephen Larkin, executive vice president of the American Postal Workers Union, said the USPS is ignoring the facts.

“It’s our concern that the level of distribution of mail to Queens, specifically people who are waiting to pay bills, rent and mortgages, are going to find an increased delay,” he said.

This reprieve gives Queens elected officials more time to do the work necessary to keep postal service in Queens.

“While this decision does not mean our postal facilities are in the clear, it does allow for more time to seek alternatives to help USPS meet its financial obligations,” said Crowley. “I understand the Postal Service has a bottom line, but balancing its books on the backs of Queens’ and Bronx families is not the answer.”

Hundreds Rally to Save Postal Service

| mchan@queenscourier.com


Hundreds of postal workers rallied in Bayside on Tuesday, September 27 to save the nation’s postal service and to seek support for a bill they say would pull the postal service out of its financial shortfall.

As part of a national campaign, all 435 congressional districts throughout the country united in their common cause to spread awareness about the real root of the deficit — a congressional mandate that requires the United States Postal Service (USPS) to “pre-fund 75 years worth of future retiree health benefits within just 10 years,” according to national postal unions.

According to the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the legal mandate costs the USPS $5.5 billion annually and accounts for 100 percent of the postal service’s $20 billion losses over the past four years.

“We’re asking for a little leeway to be allowed to dip into that fund to cover day to day expenses if needed or to make arrangements so there would be some cash flow,” said Trevor Stuart, president of the Mail Handlers Union branch in Flushing.

More than 200 postal workers and supporters gathered outside Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office to spread awareness of the proposed legislation, H.R. 1351, that seeks to alleviate post office deficits.

“You’re still people on the job working to really deliver in a real substantial way for the American people,” said Ackerman, a cosponsor of the bill. “You work every single day no matter how tough the weather, six days a week – and some of you even more. Let’s keep it that way.”

Mail handler John Dreyfus told The Courier that he’s concerned for his future.

“We’re already rushing around because people have already been moved around or let go. If we have to move, I would have to work two or three times as hard. It’s just going to be a little more difficult. Something has to give here.”

Dreyfus, 58, works at the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in Flushing.

Due to drastic declines in mail volume, state and nationwide, the center may be closed or consolidated, according to the USPS. It joins 255 other centers nationwide that are at risk of being shut down.

“I met a lot of good people here. I would be sad to see this facility go because I really feel like it supports a great community here,” he said.

According to the USPS, annual mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years and is continuing to decline. Total first-class mail has dropped 25 percent and single piece first-class mail — letters bearing postage stamps — has declined 36 percent in the same timeframe.

“Has the mail gotten less? Yes,” said Mark Sobel, NALC director of the Flushing branch. “Is it ready to go out of business? No.”

Flushing mail center may close

| jlane@queenscourier.com


Due to drastic declines in mail volume, state and nationwide, the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in Flushing may be closed or consolidated, according to the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The center — the only one in Queens under study — is responsible for sorting and distributing mail throughout Queens. It joins 255 other centers nationwide that are at risk of being shut down.

“We have too many processing plants that are not operating at 100 percent capacity because we have no mail,” said USPS spokesperson Darleen Reid. “It doesn’t make good business for us to continue 452 facilities when we can reduce that by half and still process the mail.”

Reid said the USPS is looking to possibly consolidate its operations into the Brooklyn New York Processing and Distribution Center or the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center in Manhattan.

As far as service, only first-class mail products would be affected, Reid said.

“Right now we can get first-class mail from Queens to Brooklyn or to Manhattan in one to two days. We’re changing that nationally to two to three days,” she said.

There will be no other changes since other mail classes already follow a two to three day delivery standard, Reid said.

According to the USPS, annual mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years and is continuing to decline. Total first-class mail has dropped 25 percent and single piece first-class mail — letters bearing postage stamps — has declined 36 percent in the same timeframe.

“Mail volumes have been going down drastically since 2006 and we anticipate that our first-class mail product is never going to return to previous peak levels,” Reid said.

The postal service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies completely on their own products and services for funding. Its main product is first-class mail, Reid said.

“As first class mail declines, so does our revenue and our revenue continues to go down. We’re facing a financial short-fall by the end of September,” she said.

USPS studies will be concluded in three months. By then, they will announce the results to the general public. At that time, mailers will be given the opportunity to comment during public meetings. Their comments will then be considered before the final decision.