Concerns from local postal service point to nation’s capital – Salisbury Post

By Natalie Anderson
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SALISBURY – Concerns among residents of Rowan County about the operations of the local postal service have spilled over to the nation’s capital.

Since November, former Salisbury Town Councilor Kenny Hardin has been scrambling to launch a federal audit of the East Spencer Post Office after filing a series of complaints, including the lack of response from the County Postmaster of Rowan, Rodrick Cole, frequent office closures without notice, inability to purchase Money Orders, “estimated” rates for postage and lack of proper cleaning.

Earlier this month, residents of Gold Hill in southeast Rowan County also raised concerns with the Salisbury Post about multiple trips to the local post office to find it closed without notification and, in a case, closed for a full week without an employee providing services. .

Hardin has since coordinated with Rep. Ted Budd’s office to address the concerns. Budd is a Republican who represents the 13th Congressional District of North Carolina, which covers Rowan County.

In an email to Hardin on Dec. 16, Sara Blackburn, Voter Services representative for Budd’s office at Advance, shared an email response from the U.S. Postal Service, which said USPS members, that weren’t specified, had spoken with Cole. and that “it solves personnel problems”. In addition, Cole asserted that the “Gold Hill (office) did not pass by without being open. The regular clerk is back there and is open every day.

Hardin said Cole “is clearly misleading them and is patently dishonest in his response.”

“The longer these internal and external issues are allowed to remain under Mr. Cole’s obvious bad leadership, the integrity, trust and reputation of the Rowan County Postal Service will also erode,” Hardin said.

The USPS provided the Salisbury Post with a similar response. The concerns expressed by local residents are the product of staffing issues that the agency “is still working hard to resolve,” said Philip Bogenberger, USPS strategic communications specialist for the Districts of North Carolina and North Carolina. Virginia.

Bogenberger said the East Spencer and Gold Hill post offices “have opened daily and access to PO boxes is available 24 hours a day,” but “these locations had to close the retail counter. early on some days to regroup retail staff at the main Salisbury post office to keep it open.

“I reject this patented public relations response they gave,” Hardin said. ” Solve problems. People deserve better.

Sharon Buey, a Rowan County letter carrier, raised concerns about “continuing incidents which have generated anxiety, discomfort, inefficiency and a hostile work environment exclusively on the part of a team member who should embody a leadership role ”. Buey was referring to Cole.

“We should be able to trust the executions and the performance of authorities in leadership positions,” Buey said. “Authorities in roles as such should also act with integrity and responsibility. Disregarding these core values ​​is not an option.

Buey said a letter was submitted to the US Postal Inspection Service on September 18 about Cole’s role in promoting a dangerous and hostile work environment, but no response was ever received. The Postal Inspection Service protects the United States Postal Service and provides public safety.

Blackburn said Hardin Budd’s office spoke to a USPS customer relations specialist on Wednesday who assured Budd staff “she is checking post office staff.” The name of the customer relationship specialist was not included in the email, but the specialist confirmed that “the postal operations manager responsible for Mr. Cole has been notified and an investigation will be conducted.”

Rep. Harry Warren, a Republican representing Rowan County on NC House, said he had received a few calls related to postal service issues. But the U.S. Postal Service is under the federal government’s control, and Warren said his staff referred affected voters to Budd.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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