Burlington Vt., Dec. 23 – Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) on Thursday sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy demanding action to address the postal issues across Vermont, including the immediate installation of a functioning cancellation machine at the White River Junction mail processing facility.
“We write with great concern about the Postal Service’s continued failure to meet its own standards of service,” Sanders, Leahy and Welch wrote. “In October 2020, we wrote to you asking for the immediate delivery of critical equipment needed at the White River Junction Processing and Distribution Center in White River Junction, Vermont. Over a year later, this issue remains unresolved. An increasing number of Vermonters have also been reporting significant issues with daily mail delivery and parcels being prioritized over First Class mail.”
The White River Junction U.S. Postal Service facility is one of two facilities that sort mail in Vermont. In July 2020, one of White River Junction’s two functioning AFCS 100 series machines – which had been due to be replaced already for several years – was finally removed in preparation for the arrival of a new AFCS 200 series. However, the replacement machine never came, leaving the facility with only one mail processor for months which, when it broke down, forced postal workers to sort mail by hand and significantly slowed deliveries.
In October of 2020, the Vermont delegation sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy demanding the immediate delivery and installation of the new AFCS 200 cancellation machine at the White River Junction mail processing facility.
After months of delay and a missed January 2021 deadline, the facility was sent a machine on October 15, 2021 – ten months after it was due and a different machine than was originally promised. After nearly a year of waiting, the newly delivered machine remains completely unusable, having been stripped for parts prior to arrival – a fact that was not identified until its installation in White River Junction because it was also not tested prior to shipment, as is required.
Now, for over a year, DeJoy and his staff have failed to deliver on their promise of a functioning mail processor and continue to be unhelpful as the Vermont delegation has worked to resolve these issues, as well as other concerns about timely mail delivery from Vermonters across the state. Nearly every day the delegation hears from a Vermonter who is reliant upon an increasingly unreliable mail system for delivery not only of checks and bill payments, but lifesaving medications.
“During this holiday season – as well as each and every day – we are grateful for the tireless efforts of our dedicated postal employees, Sanders, Leahy and Welch wrote. “They are working remarkably hard under extraordinary circumstances and deserve to know that you, their Postmaster General, support their efforts and will provide them with the equipment they need to do their job.”