2003-07-31 / Other News

Bklyn Postmaster Gets Earful On Poor Service From Civic Leaders

By D. Rybstein
Bklyn Postmaster Gets Earful On Poor Service From Civic Leaders By D. Rybstein

By D. Rybstein

Congressman Edolphus Towns (second from left), community leaders and U.S. Post Office representatives met Monday night to discuss complaints about postal service in the neighborhood.Congressman Edolphus Towns (second from left), community leaders and U.S. Post Office representatives met Monday night to discuss complaints about postal service in the neighborhood.

The Canarsie branch of the U.S. Postal Service hosted a group of local civic and community leaders Monday evening giving them a chance to question Joseph Lubrano, Brooklyn’s Postmaster. The meeting was arranged by Congressman Ed Towns in an effort to "establish and enhance working relationships between local postal officials and the Canarsie community," said Michael Cohen, an assistant to the Congressman.

Key staff members, including Joseph Celentano, the South Brooklyn Postal Area Manager, Bryce Jocelyn, the Brooklyn Customer Service Representative, in addition to Can-arsie’s Flatlands Avenue post office employees Station Manager Ray Beshara, Customer Service Sup- ervisor Barry Kohan, and Michael McGuire, Lobby Director, accompanied Lubrano.

Lubrano discussed the challenges the postal service faces, as well as recently implemented improvements.

"Brooklyn is served by 54 post offices with 1,500 letter carriers delivering mail on any given day. Furthermore, there are private contract postal units with (one bank and a supermarket chain), and a number of small businesses that serve as satellite postal stations.

"Because of explosive residential and business growth in Brooklyn, the postal service is promoting the innovative stamps-by-mail program, which provides free delivery by your local letter carrier and on-line purchasing," said Lubrano.

The postmaster was proud to cite that of 5 million pieces of mail a day, less than one percent goes astray. "Although the percentage is terrific, one hundred percent is what the service strives for. There is never an excuse for a misdelivery," stated Lubrano.

There are currently five mobile post offices in the borough. When questioned about adding a sixth unit in the new Gateway Shopping Center, Lubrano replied "while the location sounds attractive, funds are tight and there is not enough data on foot and vehicular traffic at the moment."

Civic leader Lenny Fogel, who acknowledged recent improvements at the Canarsie station, still lamented that the postal service did not send liaisons to area civic meetings on a regular basis to garner more field information and complaints from a broader base of citizens.

Fogel also criticized the shortage of private postal sub-stations in the area and the inefficient number of window clerks at the Flatlands Avenue station.

Beshara said that four windows are now open at all times, with two additional positions at approximately 10 a.m. to alleviate crowds.

Money orders and passports were singled out as major time-consuming culprits amongst a slew of mundane postal window transactions.

"We have a soft opening at 7:30 a.m. although the posted hour is 8 a.m.," said the station manager. "As soon as one of our 19 clerks sets up at the window, we let customers in."

Lobby Director McGuire is out front keeping a watchful eye and helping things run smoothly. Handicapped patrons can ask him to expedite a transaction if necessary.

Lubrano wrapped up the discussion with a warning on mail theft. "A robber will wait until the carrier delivers mail to an entire block or apartment building lobby; He observes the carrier leave the block or building then rifles the mailboxes. We ask the community to be vigilant and report anything suspicious."

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