Gallagher, Kitchens Take on Postal Problems in Sturgeon Bay

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) wants Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to explain the reasons for the late and unreliable delivery of mail that has been frustrating customers of the Sturgeon Bay Post Office since last November.

Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) stood with state Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) at Sturgeon Bay’s City Hall to announce the official inquiry, sent by letter to DeJoy, during a press conference, Friday, Jan. 26. Both men have heard from dozens of constituents for months about unreliable mail delivery, some customers who haven’t received consistent service for up to weeks at a time. 

“Whether it’s a veteran who needs a life-saving medication, or a mom or dad just trying to pay their bills on time, we rely upon the postal service,” Gallagher said. “They do an incredible public service for us; it’s a noble profession. We just want to get this issue fixed.”

The Peninsula Pulse has fielded calls, emails and texts for months from subscribers who have not received their newspaper, and from the general public concerned about irregular mail delivery. The Sturgeon Bay Post Office serves not only the City of Sturgeon Bay, but towns both south and north of the city, including Sevastopol and parts of the towns of Egg Harbor and Jacksonport.

When asked if he knew what the root problems were, Gallagher said workforce shortages and Amazon package-delivery services were the two primary issues he had heard, the same reasons Kitchens cited. 

“They will tell you, when we call the Post Office, that they are short on workers, and have not been able to hire,” Kitchens said. “And then the Amazon thing. Last week, the day I didn’t get my Pulse, at 6 o’clock at night the Post Office came to deliver a package for Amazon.”

In his letter, Gallagher requested answers to the following questions:

  1. What actions are specifically being taken at the Sturgeon Bay Post Office branch to ensure normal delivery can resume in a timely manner and avoid delays going forward?
  2. What plans does USPS have in place to help local post offices in rural communities address staffing needs to help ensure timely delivery?
  3. Are local post offices being asked to prioritize the delivery of third-party packages over traditional mail? If so, what is the USPS’s plan to ensure that this does not cause delays in traditional mail delivery?

The USPS has been unwilling to speak to the Pulse on the record about the problems they are facing at the Sturgeon Bay post office, or the measures being taken to correct the issues. Meanwhile, the Pulse pays the post office thousands of dollars to deliver the weekly paper to every mailbox in Door County – roughly 20,000 issues per week – in addition to Door County Living magazine. 

When asked if Gallagher could address the reimbursement of those dollars to businesses that have not received the services they’ve paid for, Gallagher said he would make that a part of his message to DeJoy.

“Certainly when the Postmaster General sits down for a briefing, I will ask that question,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said while he can’t subpoena the Postmaster General, he does have a platform to elevate the issue and Congress can ask hard questions. He said multiple requests for a briefing over the past few months have been met with silence and he wasn’t going to let that stand.

“It’s time to explore additional avenues to rectify this issue,” he said. “We’re prepared to keep asking in louder and more intense ways until we get a sense of how this issue is going to be fixed.”