BILLINGS - Residents concerned about a delay in mail delivery have reason to rejoice as officials with the United States Post Office say new measures are now in place to ensure on-time delivery.
“We are severely understaffed at the Postal Service, in Billings and across the country,” said Kim Frum, a spokesperson with USPS that oversees Montana and the Billings area.
She said that by this week, all routes should be back up to speed after that shortage of workers forced a delay in mail delivered to some addresses in certain areas of town.
In Billings Heights, resident Bill Rash says four days passed before he saw the mail get dropped into the mailbox of his Twin Lakes neighborhood.
“There’s a couple of things I was watching for,” said Rash.
He inquired at his local post office branch, only to find post office staff stressed and overworked.
“It puts the stress on our carriers that are out there right now, mandatory overtime and longer hours. They are working so much and getting so stressed, that it's unfair,” said Rash.
Rash says it’s an essential service, and he need mail to receive vital paperwork for his father.
“I take care of my dad. My dad is elderly, and so there is some paperwork, and I knew it was there,” said Rash. “I get the email notifications; I knew it was supposed to be in the mail.”
Frum issued a widespread apology to those who’ve experienced a delay in the mail that’s forced them to forgo important documents and even medications.
She also said the delay should now be over, as new hires are getting trained up and protocols are in place to manage the shortage in staffing.
‘We are borrowing carriers from nearby locations, sometimes nearby states, to match that kind of service, that our customers deserve and quite frankly expect,” said Frum.
While Rash believes residents may have been more understanding about delays if post office officials had issued a statement prior to the delays, he also says, residents should be understanding of the tough job carriers have.
“It’s an essential service. In all my days, and I am a native Montanan I have never seen a day, regardless of whether that it wasn’t delivered,” he said. “I know there are people who have medicines and things like that so it’s essential and it’s so important.”