2004-04-15 / Front Page

Low Manpower Responsible For

Long Lines At Post Office: Official
By Charles Rogers
Low Manpower Responsible For Long Lines At Post Office: Official By Charles Rogers

The virtue of patience is tested daily at the Canarsie Branch Post Office, as scores of local residents murmur under their breath while waiting on lines that are getting longer and longer by the day.

Although less than a year ago local community activists and elected representatives met with officials of the Brooklyn Post Office and were assured that lines would move faster and people would be taken care of expeditiously, now the lines are longer than ever and fewer teller windows are open to handle the growing population.

"I had to wait a full half-hour in the line where there didn’t seem to be many people at all," said one lady. Another said, "It has been this way all week long," said another. "I wanted to get some Easter gifts out to my grandchildren and I got nervous waiting for such a long time."

Where’s the problem?

Manpower, according to officials.

"Last week the answer was pure and simple," said Pat Bellantino, U.S. Postal Service public releations representative for the local region. "Area Manager Ed Curren had been advised that there were three people on their annual leave and another out on sick leave. Therefore, the usual personnel assigned to the Canarsie branch was diminished."

Bellantino said the normal operation would indicate that four windows be open at all times, with two additional windows ready to open if the amount of customers increases. Last week — and at the beginning of this week — that was clearly not the case, as scores of customers stood in a line that snaked around the lobby and out the door by 11 a.m. The spokesman said Canarsie Branch Lobby Director Michael McGuire has been trying to expedite customers to specific windows when appropriate.

When asked why at least one of the windows is usually set aside for issuing passports, adding to the slowdown, Bellantoni said, "This has been going on for 20 years. It’s a Postal Service duty, just as we are responsible for registering those eligible for Selective Service. If the U.S. government wants us to do it, we follow the leader."

He said it is expected that manpower will be back to normal and operations working smoothly again by the end of this week.

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