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EDITOR’S NOTE: Postal Woes Continue

I’d like to say we’ve connected with United States Postal Service (USPS) officials and can report what’s happening at the Sturgeon Bay site since I last wrote about the mail delivery complaints, including non-delivery of the Peninsula Pulse into all mailboxes – a contractual requirement, given that we are a USPS customer and pay them to do this.

The complaints haven’t stopped, and neither has the USPS’s stonewalling.

I have met with one USPS official at the Sturgeon Bay post office, there to help assess and fix the problems, but I promised to talk off-record. A return promise came in the form of a phone number and email address guaranteeing a response on-the-record. 

I have kept my promise of confidentiality, but the phone number and email have been dead-ends. Ghosted again. 

I’ve read statements the USPS has put out about winter weather delaying mail delivery, statements that insult our intelligence and experience – we know weather is a cause of periodic delays every year, but weather is not the reason for the problems that have persisted in Door County since at least November 2023.

The USPS is not funded by taxpayer dollars, relying upon “the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations,” according to its website. Perhaps that’s why the agency feels no loyalty to transparency.

The 1787 Postal Clause of the U.S. Constitution – and the congressional passage of The Post Office Act of 1792 that made the Postal Service a permanent fixture of the federal government – included provisions “to facilitate freedom of the press, the privacy of personal correspondence and expand the nation’s physical infrastructure, all vital to our nation’s growth and prosperity” – according to the USPS’s own mission statement adopted by its Board of Governors on April 1, 2020.

“These principles and objectives endure,” that mission statement goes on to read, giving a series of mission actions, primary among those one that’s being broken in Door County, and specifically in Sturgeon Bay: to “provide frequent, reliable, safe and secure delivery of mail, packages and other communications to all Americans.” 

Perhaps the operative word in that particular action step is “frequent” delivery of mail. It does not say daily.

The USPS is an independent entity with the executive branch of the federal government. It’s operated by an 11-person Board of Governors – the Postmaster General, his deputy, and nine governors appointed by the President and approved by the Senate for seven-year terms (there are two vacant seats currently). The board appoints the postmaster general who acts as the CEO.

There’s also a separate, postal regulatory commission with five members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. This body oversees the USPS, including the rates it charges. You can learn more about this at prc.gov. 

My point is: there’s a federal relationship there, despite the absence of direct taxpayer support. So I reached out to our federal representatives: U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson.

Gallagher’s spokesperson answered first.

“The congressman has heard from a number of constituents about delays involving the post office in Sturgeon Bay and has asked the post office for a briefing on the issue multiple times,” said Jordan Dunn, communications director. “The Postal Service’s responses have been inadequate, and the congressman is exploring other ways to get answers on this issue.”

A staff person from Baldwin’s office called – they didn’t have any specifics – and Johnson’s staff never responded. Both Baldwin and Johnson have places on their websites to seek help with a federal agency. If our elected federal officials don’t know there’s a problem, they can’t help fix it. I’d encourage readers having mail issues to go there: ronjohnson.senate.gov/agency-assistance, or baldwin.senate.gov/help/help-with-a-federal-agency. 

My hopeful take – based upon my off-record conversations and research – is that the problems are understood and are being addressed, and that the burdens being placed upon local postal workers will ease and lift soon. 

We all rely to a great extent upon this agency that we perhaps took for granted in the past. No more.